As we kick-off 2024, the anticipation for a new chapter in travel is palpable, with 42% of individuals expressing a keen interest in expanding their travel plans and an additional 39% gearing up to boost their spending on travel. As the owner of Devon’s iconic Burgh Island Hotel, I believe it’s crucial for hotel owners to not only recognise these trends but to proactively take advantage of them. Let’s delve into the key trends shaping the hospitality landscape and the measures hotel owners should consider to maximise their share of the increased spending.
Food to the fore: elevating culinary experiences
In the realm of travel, food is no longer just sustenance; it’s an experience. Recent research indicates that 52% of people consider food their favourite aspect of a holiday, and 11% have gone so far as to choose a destination specifically for its culinary offerings.
To tap into this trend, hotels must curate a robust food experience. This involves sourcing locally to address sustainability concerns, offering a diverse and healthy menu, and securing top-tier chefs to ensure innovation that captivates travellers’ taste buds.
At Burgh Island, we have embraced the power of food – to not only enhance our guests’ experience but to improve our sustainable initiatives. We source all our supplies and produce locally, with some even coming directly from the island thanks to the help of our onsite gardener, Apple. With fresh nutritional produce provided to Burgh Island’s many restaurants, we are encapsulating the farm-to-table movement while actively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. This is a win-win as we align with consumer demands while improving our sustainability.
Sustainability concerns intensify: green initiatives take centre stage
As alluded to above, environmental consciousness is no longer a niche concern but a mainstream expectation, with 64% of global travellers valuing sustainable travel. Hotels must implement and promote sustainable measures, from eco-friendly practices to community engagement initiatives.
The launch of TripAdvisor’s Greenlander programme attests to the growing demand for transparent and accessible information on hotels’ sustainability efforts. By aligning with these values, hotel owners not only contribute to a greener planet but also appeal to an increasingly conscientious customer base.
Rise of ‘bleisure travel’: catering to the work-and-leisure blend
The blending of work and leisure, known as ‘bleisure’ travel, has become increasingly prevalent in our hybrid working culture. One in six travelling professionals now incorporate this trend into their getaways – either extending work trips for leisure or working remotely on their holidays.
Hotel owners should be aware of this trend and adapt their facilities to accommodate this evolving way of working. This can be done by providing ample laptop charging points, quiet areas, robust WiFi, and expanded business lounges. By aligning with the needs of the modern working traveller, hotels can create a seamless blend of productivity and relaxation.
Strong online presence: harnessing the power of digital platforms
With 44% of travellers globally relying on AI for travel planning, a robust online presence is non-negotiable. Hotel owners must ensure their establishments are easily searchable and that their online platforms showcase key services and attributes. It’s not a matter of just being online, hotels must deliver engaging content to capture and convert online traffic into bookings. Embracing the digital landscape is not just a marketing strategy but a fundamental aspect of meeting the expectations of today’s tech-savvy travellers. A good online experience will help to build trust and loyalty.
Focus on film: Capitalising on ‘set-jetting’ trends
The allure of ‘set-jetting’ is undeniable, with travellers seeking inspiration from their favourite films and TV shows. Hotels that have been featured in location shoots should actively promote this aspect on their socials and with the media – as Burgh Island has done following our recent episode on BBC’s Gone Fishing this Autumn.
This isn’t just for vanity. Studies have shown a surge in travel interest following the release of popular films and shows. For example, following the latest season of Netflix’s Emily in Paris, Skyscanner saw a 60% month-on-month increase in searches for Paris, underscoring the impact of media on travel choices. Capitalising on these connections can be a powerful marketing tool for hotels.
The evolving landscape of travel demands a proactive and adaptive approach from hotel owners. By prioritising culinary experiences, intensifying sustainability efforts, accommodating the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel, establishing a strong online presence, and capitalising on ‘set-jetting’ trends, hotels can position themselves to thrive in the year ahead. The key lies in understanding and embracing the shifting preferences of today’s travellers, ensuring that each aspect of their stay is not just an accommodation but an unforgettable experience.
A self-confessed serial entrepreneur, Giles Fuchs, owner of the Burgh Island Hotel, works tirelessly to create both financial and strategic opportunities for the business. Starting his first company at just 22 years old, Giles has developed a strong portfolio of business and management expertise, which is evidently apparent in his leadership of Burgh Island. He is also a keen sportsman, which has translated into a desire to foster and maintain a brilliant team ethos throughout the hotel, something which makes Burgh both a fantastic holiday destination but also a brilliant place to work.