For the last five years, travel has been all about sustainability, recovery, and – for the last few weeks – generative AI. And while all of these are highly relevant topics, there’s only one thing that ties them together – Diversity, and knowing that each person is different and is looking for unique and personalized experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences.
This is where, at the recently concluded Click. 2023 event, Booking.com showed us the future of travel and hospitality.
The Changing Traveler and the Future of Travel
The 2023 Travel Predictions by Booking.com showcased at the event highlighted the importance of customization. And here’s how the hoteliers can leverage these trends to stay on top.
1. 55% of the travelers are planning to spend their vacations off the grid.
As most travelers are looking for off-grid style vacations to escape from reality in 2023, a rise in eco-friendly stays that embrace natural surroundings and sustainability is expected.
For those hotels who have already been investing in sustainability, it is pivotal to make the guests aware about the same. They can do so by indicating the sustainability practices implemented on the extranet, which can then be displayed on their property page on booking.com as a part of its Travel Sustainable Programme.
2. 42% of the travelers will focus on mental health and mindfulness.
While highlighting wellness facilities that hotels currently offer – such as spas, gyms, etc. – is pivotal to drive growth for businesses, it is also important to partner with local businesses outside that provide additional wellness experiences. These additional experiences can then be offered to the guests.
Hotels can also share information about local groups or attractions that might be relevant to certain niche groups – either pre-trip (window between the booking and the actual trip), or during the stay with the help of guest engagement solutions.
3. 43% of the travelers will use virtual reality to find travel inspiration.
Metaverse, and virtual or augmented reality offer people a new way to experience travel. While 43% of the global travelers claim that the technology will inspire their 2023 travel choices, 60% of the travelers still believe that such experiences are unlikely to replace in-person travel any time soon.
Investing in high-quality images and extended reality content such as virtual property tours can make the hotel property stand out, and help potential guests imagine themselves in these properties. Thereby inspiring them to experience the stay in physical world as well.
4. The future of travel and hospitality lies in understanding that each person is different.
The bold & impressive stance around DE&I was truly the highlight of the event. At the event, Booking.com showed us that it is this diversity that makes travel so exciting and enriching.
The tagline at the photo – “We filter places, not people.” – encapsulates the idea that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of travel. It is through experiences that we get to know different people and cultures, and it is essential that we provide customized experiences that cater to the needs of different individuals and groups.
Here are four tips for hoteliers who might not be already doing this:
a. Show all your facilities that meet the accessibility requirements
Hoteliers should highlight the accessibility features of their facilities and services, such as wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, and designated parking spaces for those who may have mobility needs. They should also showcase their staff’s training to provide assistance to guests who require support and offer information on nearby accessible attractions and transportation options. This information can be prominently displayed on their website and promotional materials to ensure that all guests feel welcomed and valued.
b. Make your content more gender-neutral and diverse
It is crucial for hoteliers to create content that is inclusive and welcoming to all guests, regardless of gender identity or expression. They can use gender-neutral language in their descriptions of amenities and services to make sure they don’t alienate guests with different gender identities. Hoteliers should also consider creating separate rooms or spaces for guests who don’t feel comfortable staying in traditional male or female accommodations.
c. Show diversity through images
Hoteliers should showcase diversity in their promotional materials, including images of guests from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. These images can be displayed on their website, social media accounts, and marketing materials to show potential guests that they are welcome and included in the hotel’s community. They can also highlight local cultural events and activities to encourage guests to explore and learn about the surrounding area’s diversity.
d. Share information around local groups or attractions that might be relevant to certain niche groups
For hotels that attract guests from different countries, it is important to provide information in multiple languages. This includes translating their website, brochures, and other marketing materials into languages that their potential guests speak. Hoteliers should also consider hiring multilingual staff to assist guests who don’t speak the local language. By providing these services, hoteliers can ensure that all guests feel comfortable and included during their stay.
The Click. 2023 event by Booking.com was indeed an incredible experience that showed us the future of travel and hospitality. The onus is upon us to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel industry, and deliver the perfect experience for every guest.