Today’s travelers are transforming business as usual in the hospitality industry. Typically, customers are thought of as business travelers or tourists. However, post-2020, travelers are booking overnight stays more frequently—and for more nights. Family members may tag along. Plus, they have newer criteria that seem counter to conventional wisdom.
Business travelers, in particular, blur business trips with leisure travel. They blend work trips with personal experiences and enjoy some well-deserved downtime. Coined “bleisure,” this rising trend demands out of the box thinking by hotel property owners and hospitality brands.
- Millennials lead the way in bleisure. They seek to explore local attractions in their off-hours from doing business.
- Growing numbers bring family members, including family pets.
- Properties refreshed with work-life styles win longer stays. Expedia reports that 66 percent of bleisure travelers spend more out-of-pocket per trip.
- Expanded lobbies and dining can entice families wanting freedom from their rooms.
- Amenities like outdoor seating bring returns, as bleisure travelers seek to escape the boredom of hotel rooms.
Another market driver is a surge of revenge travel. This burst of bookings is coming from pent-up demand following the pandemic—and generating delivering high activity levels that benefit all of hospitality.
Post-COVID, Americans are booking more trips, often on short notice. Business travelers and families are making up for lost time from the pandemic as tourist attractions, festivals and parks have opened or loosened restrictions nationwide.
With the rise of revenge travel, hoteliers may seek to entice loyal customers—and capture new ones. Revenge travelers typically opt for longer stays. So, hotel improvements might include refreshing lobbies, outdoor areas or the suites themselves.
Essentialism Lifestyle Travel
Another up and coming trend is “essentialism.” Like revenge travel, stays per guest may be longer. But this class of travelers care more about a property’s eco-friendliness and position within a community. They book more nights at hotels that are simple but updated with fixtures and features that reflect their own values: less waste or consumption with touches that reflect local ambience, artists and ways of life.
So, in summary, what is “out” are ostentatious lobbies and over-the-top furnishings.
“In” today are up-to-date lighting and fixtures, current-looking suites, and technology touches, like better wifi.
New trends like essentialism, along with more established consumer movements, like bleisure, create opportunity for hospitality leaders. Hotel brands and property owners can update with thoughtful but modest property improvements—to gain a lasting competitive edge.