Photo by Nick Wong

As we stand on the cusp of a new year and a new decade, the hotel industry is set for what promises to be a strong and eventful year.

The consensus from industry analysts is 2020 will be a slow and steady year.

Political turbulence will continue both in Canada (with a new minority government) and south of the border (with the effects of a potential impeachment and an election later this year, which typically causes many Americans not to travel outside their country).

But amid the noise, there’s also palpable excitement about how change will continue to alter the face of the industry, whether we’re talking about the growing impact of AI, the importance of digital or the preoccupation with sustainability — not to mention the continued influence of the millennial demographic and its preference for personalization in all their experiences.

Several key words continue to surface in any trend report: authenticity, seamless, convenience and immersive experiences. In fact, according to Trend Hunter’s 20 Trend Predictions, “We are seeing a shift amongst consumers to ‘attention economy’ in which experiences are seen to be as valuable as money. This is due to the evolution of social media and the subsequent redefinition of ‘value’. Regular social-media users view every ‘like’ as a prize or currency exchange.” That means “brands are encouraging consumers to participate in various tasks and experiences before they’re granted access to products and/or services. The intangible is starting to impact consumers’ view on value beyond social media and into their real lives.”

Similarly, “the hospitality space is shifting as hotels are required to compete with the ever-expanding homestay industry. Hotel brands are prioritizing playful brand-customer interactions that offer a point of distinction from competitors, whether it’s themed rooms, loyalty programs or something that will add a novel travel experience to a consumer’s stay.” Interestingly, there’s also a movement afoot for active silence. “We’ve seen the rise in meditation over the last few years, but now brands are putting their focus on creating or finding environments that are suitable for meditative practices, namely those that prioritize silence,” says Trend Hunter.

Through it all, Trend Hunter points out, “This shift highlights the growing power of the consumer and their desire to connect with others in an authentic way. Consumers are trusting brands less and the peer-to-peer advice offers more certainty for the increasingly skeptical consumer.”


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