The New Year 2009 has begun amidst a lot of worries about global recession. For the hotel industry, this has been the worst of times, as most hotels around the world are struggling to tackle the problem of lowest occupancy rates. This is a first, since 1971. However, hoteliers are sure to devise creative and innovative ways to attract their guests and earn their trust once again. Inevitably, most luxury facilities in the hospitality sector would have to work doubly hard to demonstrate how unique and satisfying their offers would be so as to justify the greater expense. That’s why there is so much debate about innovative trends in the global hospitality sector.

So, here’s a mixed bag of global trends that is sure to interest those who are keen to understand what’s in store for the global hospitality segment:
Boutique Hotels
Hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons are known as traditional players in the hospitality sector but there is going to be a sure shift as late night disco clubs and techno grooves replace the boring Bach concerts that were a part of its lobby. Can you imagine these top hotels replacing their traditional uniformed staff? Well, ‘change with times’  is the buzzword in the hospitality industry right now.

Energy Spa
Terms such as ‘pranas’, ‘chakras’ and ‘grey cell boosters’ are widely searched. This indicates the growing preference for the growth of ‘energy medicine’ industry as part of the hospitality sector. This means that cleaning up the body’s energy will become a primary area of focus for spas that promote body-mind-spirit balance. Practitioners of such energy based healing traditions are going to be in great demand. SpaFinder statistics indicate that there are 2,300 Indian spas which actually generate $384 million as annual income. Spa trends across the globe are worth analyzing.

Mini-treatments such as five minute chair massages are growing in popularity as guests are increasingly aware about stress reduction. So, hoteliers are keen to help their guests relax by offering spas that focus on transforming their tired energy into vibrant, dynamic energy by using the right techniques.

An interesting example is Florida’s Mind Spa Mental Fitness Center, where ‘brain work-outs’ are a popular workout. Through computer stations that feature scientifically developed brain exercises as well as biofeedback segments, there are even Neurowave chairs that help to stimulate brain function. This exercise also helps to prevent memory loss and overcome disorders that are age-related or memory related disorders.

Eco-friendly Hospitality Initiatives
Going green is not just fashionable but necessary in today’s world of hospitality. Eco-friendly offerings are being ramped up top optimize waste reduction, water and energy conservation and environment friendly practices.

Take the example of San Francisco’s Orchard Hotel, which replaced harsh ammonia based cleansers and bleach with biodegradable cleansers comprising fruit based essences. The hotel also used safe cleaning emulsions to clean their carpets, mirrors, marble and other surfaces. Another hotel, Fairmont San Jose recycled over 8,000 points of telephone books and tons of cardboard.

Another global giant in hospitality, Apex Hotels have a greater range of environment friendly initiatives such as follows:

  • Dual flush system to save water in toilets.
  • Recycling paper, cardboard, obsolete IT equipments, glass, and plastic.
  • Use local produce and organic materials.
  • Installation of windows that are energy efficient and improves overall thermal performance.
  • Replace old lifts with energy efficient lifts.
  • Building management can control temperatures across the building.
  • Installation of lighting arrangements that can save energy and comes with automatic dimmers as well as motion detectors.

No Pet friendly Initiatives
It is predicted that pet-friendly hotels will either abandon their friendly initiatives or be phased out.  as hotels realize that dogs are not hotel-friendly. Rolling out the red carpet for guests and their pets is no longer the ‘in’ thing.

Remember, Sheraton Duluth’s Love That Dog initiative? It didn’t succeed because specific floors and rooms were designated as pet friendly zones yet pets were strolling about in zones that were not meant for them. To make things more difficult for the hoteliers, the pets were sleeping in guest beds rather than the pet-specific beds. This required the hotel staff to change all bed linen, pillows and put them through rigorous laundry while carpets and curtains were shampooed.

Resurgence of Traditional Wines
Traditional wine varieties are predicted to emerge as winners in pleasing guests’ who are not willing to compromise on taste or quality of wines. Therefore, makers of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot would stand to benefit extended patronage in 2009. Take the example of domestic Chardonnay which traded over 6% across 52 weeks in food stores while Cabernet Sauvignon saw nearly 10% of growth in the same period. Pinot Noir showed up with 11% as growth rate while Gallo emerged as a clear leader with the Mirassou brand.

Guests of 2009
Today’s world is so fast paced that the hospitality and restaurant business can do so much to help travellers and guest enjoy and unwind because it is this segment that has the unique opportunity to understand and exceed the expectations of guests. It is this segment that can make a positive difference to the guests’ enjoyment of life through excellent service, amazing comfort and delectable food.

The guests of 2009 are predicted to be extremely particular about being engaged and taken care of. They don’t care about hotel policies, timings, procedures or rules. They want to be given the service that they want, whenever they want it and whenever it suits them to feel pampered, well taken care of and comfortable.

Online Marketing and Technology Solutions
Experts state that the hospitality sector has yet to tap into the tremendous potential of the Internet, technology and online marketing. It would open out new distribution channels and emerge as a sure way to leave solid PR footprints to a global audience. The conventional boundaries need to be broken if hotels want to target greater profits.

Through technology, hotels can break the customer experience itself into separate units for either internal use, sales packaging or third party appraisals. Creating such unit would enable Revenue Managers to devise dynamic revenue management strategies.

New technology based initiatives comprising destination marketing that offers amazing variety and bookable experiences, online questionnaires, ROI measurement and analytics would bring greater visibility and success to hotels.

In John Wanamaker’s wise words lies the one powerful message for all global hospitality aspirations, “Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.”


The author, Swapna Sanand, is an industry expert in the content writing services department with the organization.