At the 2019 BLLA Stay Boutique Live, The Investment Edition conference in NYC, Rosie Toumanian from TrendWatching gave a short and sweet presentation about fascinating innovations from around the world that highlight two trends relevant for the boutique community:
- Village Squared– Smart brands are transforming their spaces in new ways to foster connections and promote social wellbeing.
- The End of Excess– Consumers demand that every brand they interact with (their hotel included) rework its model to eliminate excess at every turn.
With nearly 9 out of 10 Americans feeling like the country is more divided now than at any point in their lifetime, and a whopping 54% of U.S. teens are admitting they spend too much time on their phone, the hunger for healthy communities is growing. This is where the trend Village Squared comes in and three innovations that evolved from it.
- Travel Buddies – In January, the Life House Little Havana Hotel in Miami launched a social network platform that matches guests with roommates or allows them to meet people with shared interests. Increased solo traveling makes this a great way to meet new people and expand one’s network.
- Social Celebration – In February, the tourism association PHLCVB created a WeChat scavenger hunt to connect the Chinese community in honor of the year of the pig. The scavenger hunt led Chinese tourists and Chinese-Americans to Philber, the famous pig statue in Reading Market Terminal.
- Calm Among Chaos – In order to lessen the stress that comes with traveling, Cathay Pacific opened yoga and meditation spaces in the Hong Kong International Airport with multiple mediums meant to relax someone.
The Collins word of the year for 2018 was single-use, and I’m sure at this point, we’re all extremely familiar with the straw shaming going around for anyone who uses plastic straws! This leads to Rosie’s next trend: The End of Excess and three innovations to reflect it:
- Plastic-Free Pledge – The Akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok opened last year as the FIRST single-use plastic-free hotel in Asia. Guests are given stainless steel water bottles with water dispensers on every floor, bathroom amenities are provided in locally manufactured pottery containers, and biodegradable plastic bags are used in all bins.
- Novel Experience (Perhaps my favorite!) – During the London Marathon in April, runners were given seaweed-based drink capsules instead of water bottles. These pouches can be fully eaten or naturally decompose in 4-6 weeks. These Ooho pouches can also be used to hold sauces, salad dressings, condiments, and more!
- Hedonistic Sustainability – Nearly 25% of food (not including packaging) bought in hotels and restaurants is wasted. Mixologist Mark Lloyd opened the Zero Waste Bar at Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival in December. He served cocktails made from other vendors’ food waste. I.e. if you gave him an entire piece of fruit, he’d use all of its parts, so nothing was wasted.
These innovations are truly remarkable and can be practiced in hotels and restaurants alike throughout the globe! Don’t hate on new trends, innovate and capitalize off of them while creating an unforgettable experience for your guests.