Tourism Industry Current Trends: Ideas to Stay Ahead
Things have changed so much over the last few months that it can be hard to keep up right?
Right now, you just want your life and business to get back to normal so you can concentrate on generating sales and making your guests happy.
Keeping up to date with current trends is a great way to make sure that your customer service is top notch. When you present options that meet their needs, sometimes even before they know they have them, you begin to excel at exceeding expectations just because you are offering that little bit more than expected.
We all know that exceeding customer expectations is the best way to encourage repeat visitors, generate positive reviews and achieve those all-important word of mouth recommendations, so taking some time to check on the trends that are relevant to your target audiences is well worth the effort.
Let’s take a look at the current top trends in the tourism industry:
#1. Flexible Spaces
Most hotels offer a static set up. Check in desk here, cocktail area over there.
The pandemic has taught us the importance of being able to move and redesign your spaces. By mobilising check in and wait areas, you get to be more flexible and proactive.
It also allows you to be more personal while still adhering to comfortable social distancing. As we enter into a new phase of travel where people are either vaccinated, tested, or recovered, wearing masks will become less important, yet we are not quite ready to get as close as we previously did.
You can offer a personalised and relaxed welcome by directing you check in to a socially distanced armchair set up where they can complete the check in form in comfort, and you can find out more about them, their needs, and interests, so that ultimately you can better serve them with tailored suggestions.
#2. More Green Areas
It is human nature to want something that is taken away from us, so being denied the ability to travel and immerse ourselves in nature during the pandemic hit us all harder than we expected. In addition, our busy lives were put on pause, allowing for more time and appreciation of our gardens and local parks.
By incorporating a green wall, planting more endemic species, growing your own herbs on the terrace or balconies, you supply people with those “green visuals” that have kept up (relatively) sane throughout the most challenging moments of the pandemic.
Some properties are even going further to blend indoor and outdoor spaces together by creating “outdoor” spaces that are protected from the elements, shaded by trees, and warmed by sun-soaked walls that retain the heat long into the evening.
Creating greener areas also provides you a great marketing angle to share and talk about.
#3. Car Rentals
There has been a surge in car rentals as travel has opened up, with people looking to stay in their own family groups. While this is not great news for anyone working in the transfer business, it does provide an opportunity for accommodation providers to stand out from the crowd by teaming up with a local provider.
You can also make a “green” stand by connecting with an e-car rental provider and offering e-refuelling stations at your property. This opens up the chance to talk to your customers about reducing their environmental impact, as well as giving you the chance to share your insider tips and stories about places to visit in your area.
It also gives you the opportunity to form partnerships with other businesses in the local area who also offer e-fuelling stations and services complementary to yours, such as restaurants or activity providers.
#4. QR Codes
Quick Response codes (QR codes) were first introduced in 1994 and general uptake has been slow, until the pandemic.
Once regarded as clunky and outdated, QR codes suddenly provided the perfect alternative to in-room paper communications and replaced physical food and beverage menus overnight. Simple and free to create, they are here to stay. iPhones come with an integrated QR code reader in the camera, and for Android users a simple download of a free QR code reader is all that is required.
You can of course just use QR codes instead of physical menus or local attraction lists, but you can also get really creative and use them to encourage online reviews and to direct guests to your social media pages where they can upload a photo of their experience at the hotel.
#5. Mental and Physical Wellness
The pandemic has hot us all hard in different ways and at different times. According to Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 report, 73% of consumers rate depression and mental health as currently having a moderate or severe impact on their everyday life.
The first post-pandemic holiday is a major event. The need to relax and switch off is higher than ever before.
By offering services such as a morning meditation walk, yoga classes, or free childcare for one-hour a day so parents can swim, walk, read, or switch off in peace, are all ways to offer value that appeals directly to the needs of our post-pandemic traveller.
Another way to appeal to people who are looking for more creative ways to switch off is by offering a cookery class, or wood turning, or pottery, anything that uses the hands and allows the mind to be still for a moment.
We have also learnt how to work out online, so another idea is to offer Chromecast connection (or other alternatives) so that guests can easily stream their favourite workouts to their rooms.
Spice up your old list of local walks by suggesting route options with hills that burn more calories!
Interestingly, encouraging nostalgic experiences, whether through food or activities, has been shown to improve mental wellbeing. Maybe you can dig out some old recipes that remind guests of their grandmother’s baking or facilitate some old school games in your grounds (think croquet, hopscotch, and skipping) to create that nostalgia and give parents an opportunity to share their memories with their children.
#6. Remote Work
The idea of working from an idyllic location is becoming more tangible due to the continuity of the home office concept. This is a huge opportunity for the travel industry and if accommodation providers can really understand what the workcation seeker needs, then you can be onto a great thing.
Digital nomads are at one end of the spectrum, looking to spend months at a time in a destination, and then we have those who work from home for two days a week so can feasibly travel on Wednesday evening, combine work and leisure on Thursday and Friday, before fully immersing themselves in leisure for the weekend before returning home on Sunday.
Consider creating a package that appeals to those long weekend workers, where they have space and boundaries between the physical place where they work, and the areas where they relax.
This can form part of your standard packages with the option to add on additional nights.
This may seem like a lot of random areas to consider right now but take a step back and start by thinking about your target customers. By understanding what they want and need, you can really begin to design the kind of products and services that have value for them.
It is also a matter of testing the waters and seeing what works. Your traditional, standard packages are important, but thinking outside the box is also essential. Get creative and proactive with just one new offer, get the information out there via social, blogs, on your website and via strategic partners, and see what happens.
We are in the process of building our industry back. There is no blueprint for where we are right now. Be bold, get confident and give something new a try.
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