ummer days are here again, meaning that travel is going to be one of the hottest things to do this season. With the demands of today’s travelers soaring high, hoteliers best prepare themselves by acknowledging and acting upon the top travel trends for the summer season in 2014. Are you already aware of several travel trends and using them to your advantage to help your hotel increase business? Let’s take a look and find out for yourself:
1. Embrace the Worldwide Phenomenon of Free Wi-Fi
The issue of free Wi-Fi has finally begun to stir up a lot more movement in the hospitality industry. Studies show that 65.5% of travelers selected free high-speed Internet as the must-have amenity when selecting a hotel for summer travel. There is a bright future for the industry, as trends show that more and more hotels are beginning to offer free Wi-Fi to satisfy guests’ demands. Hotels that do not offer free Wi-Fi face the common dilemma of travelers taking their business elsewhere if free Wi-Fi is not included in the price of the hotel room. If your hotel is not offering free Wi-Fi yet, take into serious consideration that many more hotels are beginning to offer free Wi-Fi to please their guests – don’t lose your customers to your competitors!
2. Cook up a Fun Culinary Experience for Your Foodie Travelers
Many foodies have begun to take a liking to travel, with 60% of travelers that prefer locally inspired cuisine and authentic culinary experiences as one of the most important components when booking their summer getaway. This presents a huge opportunity for hoteliers, as they can better attract travelers with fun hotel packages focused on unique culinary foods and activities. For example, the hotel can provide a food tour that covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hottest restaurants in the area. The hotel can also provide packages packed with fun activities such as taking a local cooking class, make a visit to the largest food market with the city’s best chefs, attend a popular food and wine tasting – the possibilities are plentiful, you just have to do the research for the best eats in town!
3. Provide the Ultimate Family Experience & You’ve Got a Recurring Package Deal
This summer is forecasted at about 41% of travelers to take their children along during their summer vacation. According to recent studies, 45% of families look for hotels that offer family friendly activities while on summer vacation, 30% pursue adventure and outdoor options, and 28% choose a hotel because of its close location to popular attractions. This valuable information also provides a great opportunity for hotels to provide unique and fun packages for families to not only enjoy, but to entice them enough to return to the hotel again in the future. For example, ideas for family friendly hotel packages can include a trip to the local amusement park for the day, a visit to the beach for some fun in the sun with a nice meal on the pier, a pass to the city’s local event or festival with complimentary transportation, a visit to the nearby zoo for to see the rarest animals and participate in animal encounters, and much more. Be as creative as possible and create a package that both you and your guests would be excited about booking!
4. A New Age of ‘Green’ in Hospitality
The importance of sustainability and eco-friendly practices has begun to make an impact to both travelers and the hospitality industry. Trending now, more hotels worldwide are adapting into green initiatives, such as developing partnerships with eco-friendly organizations, shifting hotel operations to become greener, as well as promoting their participation towards eco-friendly initiatives by campaigns, blogs, or social media blasts. In the present, several hotels have already swapped out plastic room cards for mobile phone keys, changed packaging on bath products to reduce waste by eliminating the use of plastic bottles, recycling bath products to benefit impoverished people, and much more. Many travelers are becoming more responsible toward sustainability and wish to remain as eco-friendly as possible when traveling, making hotels that engage in these greener initiatives very appealing. If your hotel has not implemented any eco-friendly practices yet, it would be beneficial to start shifting toward a greener operation to attract this growing segment of travelers.
5. The Power of Peers is Strong in Travel Reviews
In this day in age, the voice of peers on online travel reviews cannot be ignored. Travel review platforms are used heavily for travelers to gain information and insider tips on hotels and summer vacation activities. In fact, a large majority of 80% of travelers use TripAdvisor as the preferred choice for researching vacation itineraries, with the other 31% of travelers using Yelp as the second most popular channel. Therefore, hoteliers that haven’t done much towards utilizing travel review sites should strongly consider using them towards better business success. For example, communicating with guests through both positive and negative reviews, posting updated pictures or news of the hotel and specials, send personalized “thank you” messages/emails, politely ask guests to comment on other popular review sites, and more. The key is to provide value and interact with guests not just through social media, but through widely used travel review sites as well.