How hospitality can cater to the new traveller

The new traveller in hospitality

The ‘new traveller’ has changed the way that the hospitality industry operates, with new expectations and preferences playing a key role in the success of businesses.

It comes as no surprise to anyone in post-pandemic Britain that most of the country is still waiting by the door with its bags packed and ready to go on holiday. After two turbulent years, people are ready to trade Zoom quizzes with beach backgrounds for the real feeling of sand between their toes. Indeed, according to TripAdvisor’s Spring Travel Index, 54% of Brits are planning on travelling this spring, with 47% planning to spend more on holidays than they did last year. Yet, holidaymakers and travellers alike are not rushing to embrace their pre-pandemic preferences and the sector must adapt to thrive in this new era.

The return of the Great British staycation 

The pandemic revived the Great British staycation, and it appears to be a welcome habit here to stay. More travellers are now seeking experiences closer to home, with domestic holiday destinations still being favoured by travellers over international ones. In the UK, more travellers are searching for flight-free holidays, with the UK’s tourism industry set to be worth over £257 billion by 2050. 

At Burgh Island we have seen an immense growth in bookings from individuals who are looking for a sense of escapism that was lost in recent years due to the pandemic. Now international travel is making a return, it is vital that our partners in the British hospitality industry make sure to sustain this staycation boom. This can only be done through being creative in catering to the needs and expectations of new travellers such as the ‘bleisure’ traveller. 

The rise of the ‘Bleisure traveller’ 

As online meetings are swapped for in-person conferences, business travellers are not rushing to return the old practices which existed before the pandemic. Faced with no choice for two years but to work from home, the pandemic showed us that we can work effectively from anywhere in the world. Bleisure travellers more than ever seek to combine leisure with business, often through extending business trips to also take time to relax. 

Although not a new phenomenon, with the Expedia Group reporting that 60% of trips in 2016 were extended for leisure purposes, a survey conducted by SAP Concur revealed that 89% of would like to add a private holiday to their business trip.  The rapid growth of these types of trips represents a huge opportunity for the hospitality sector, especially with many employees and employers now in agreement about the benefits of these long weekend retreats. It is vital, therefore, that hotels continue to appeal to those that want to escape from the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life and wind down from the working day.

Prioritising technology

As the hospitality sector now figures out ways to cater to the needs of this new traveller, it is vital that we focus on prioritising the incorporation of new technologies to enhance the guests’ experiences. From using smart energy management to bolster the hotel’s sustainability credentials, to enabling contactless check-ins and check-outs, smart technology allows guests to be more flexible with their movement.

Yet even before travellers set foot through the door, modern hospitality now requires having a website that is conducive to a mobile phone, with 70% of people now researching potential travel experiences on their smartphone. Hotels also must market themselves as somewhere with a fast and reliable internet connection which enabled guests to conduct their business travel obligations. In addition, travellers seeking escape from the all too familiar view from their home office want the view from their bleisure workstation to be an environment which they can seek inspiration from. 

Creating unforgettable experiences 

Outside of technology, the one true goal of hospitality providers remains truer now more than ever, to provide guests with an unforgettable experience. With 65% of travellers wanting to return from a trip having experienced something new, it is clear that travellers are looking for a holiday which goes beyond the one-size fits all hotel. 

Younger guests want to use their phones to capture unique moments they have had on holiday and return home to friends and family to share the memories which lie behind the videos. In step with these trends, the hospitality sector must tailor their guests stay to provide them with an authentic experience which lets them escape reality. The regular murder mystery events, shark tagging, and artist experience that we offer at Burgh Island certainly keep guests on their toes and provides them with a thrilling experience that will stay with them for a lifetime. 

Having successfully navigated through some of the toughest challenges the industry has ever faced, the hospitality sector needs to monitor and cater to the latest trends and expectations which are shaping the nature of travel. Establishments that fail to catch on to these changes and alter the experiences which they provide will miss out on attracting these new travellers.

What does the new traveller mean for hospitality?

For those that are able to understand demand and tap into hospitality trends, there are endless opportunities to grow business and offer a wide range of hospitality options for the new traveller.