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GUEST EXPERIENCE

7 Hospitality Trends to Look Out For

Travelling around the world and working with all different types of properties across the globe enables our team to keep up to date on the latest trends in the hospitality industry. 

With a growing concern of environmental issues, the way that we travel has changed. Many guests now feel more concerned about the impact of their travelling and seek to act more sustainably, taking into account how hotels are responding to meet these demands. Because the hospitality industry is extremely competitive, it’s important for hoteliers therefore to keep up with the latest trends and act swiftly to adopt them.

Sustainability

The most important of the trends and gaining dramatic momentum. Now more than ever before, when booking a trip, travelers are assessing how much a luxury hotel is active in driving change that is positive and sustainable. Guests are more hyper aware of environmental issues and want to be part of the process of change by choosing hotels behaving ecologically. Before ordering amenities for your hotel, it’s important to consider “How can I reduce my carbon footprint? Which items are consumed the most and how can they be made more eco-friendly?”. Reusable, compostable or recycled – here we give some examples of sustainable amenities we provide for our clients.

Turn down

To save water, many hotels allow their guests to make the choice to reuse their towels and bedsheets. By giving the opportunity to choose, you involve your customers to join your process and values about protecting the environment. At Palatino, we support this initiative by designing bespoke turn down signage to facilitate our clients in communicating this message. We use eco-friendly wood or bamboo to produce aesthetically strong and functional communication support. 

Turn down shangri la paris

Bathroom amenities

This area is where hotels consume the most plastic and single-use products. To reduce plastic waste, IHG and Marriott group have recently announced that they will be replacing travel-sized toiletries to larger refillable pump-bottles made from recyclable materials. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has also pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic, across its entire portfolio of luxury hotels, by the end of March 2021. And so, the race is on for many of the top luxury hotel groups to eradicate their plastic use  – and this is a race we are proud to participate so actively in. 

eco friendly bathroom amenities mandarin oriental group

We have worked closely with the Mandarin Oriental Group to design and produce their complete range of eco-friendly bathroom amenities. Challenging as it was, we were excited to be given the opportunity to work expansively on such a prominent cause that is close to our hearts.

Our packaging is compostable and all of our amenities are made from FSC paper and wood, cornstarch, bamboo and PLA – all more sustainable alternatives.

Wellness 

One of the major trends we are seeing is in the wellness realm, where there is an increased emphasis placed on health, well-being & mindfulness. This extends beyond just the spa, into rooms and F&B outlets. Now, more than ever, guests are taking wellness into their own hands. 

In-room tools to facilitate a healthy mindset and physical state should be provided to the guest to empower them to take charge of their own health and to explore at their own disposal. When guests travel, they feel more open to adopt new routines to improve their wellbeing, so positive habits can be formed during their stay. 

Aside from permanent fixtures, such as specific lighting settings to energize or relax, air purification devices, or even vitamin-infused shower water, there are other means that need to be considered and which can be customised for the guests. For instance, providing in-room pilates or yoga equipment, with accompanying manuals or meditation sound devices, are a nice added touch. 

Other wellness accessories that make the difference are linked to skincare, such as offering complimentary gua sha or jade rollers with a ‘how to’ guide. 

We are also an exclusive distributor of Lululemon products worldwide, ensuring that the best brands are accessible to our clients at good prices.

gua sha palatino hospitality

To facilitate better sleep, an eye mask is always appreciated – why not take it a step further and make it lavender scented. These can also  be used for yoga, relaxation, meditation and in the spa. Aromatherapy eye pillows are well known for helping to relieve stress, insomnia, migraines and headaches. Gifting a pillow spray with lavender or chamomile can also help guests feel at ease. Many hoteliers have started to integrate aromatherapy and light therapy as a part of the global wellness experience in their properties.

lavender eye mask

However, it is important to note that wellness is not only about personal development- we are seeing a rise in guests who are seeking hotels who actively care for both the environment and the local communities. Going plastic-free, as we already mentioned above, is just one of the many ways a hotel can minimise their damage to the environment.  It also has a huge impact on validating the guests’ choice in selecting their property as reinforces their shared values and shows the hotel is taking accountability for their actions. Supporting the local communities, whether via educational programs, training, infrastructure or jobs, always aids in contributing towards the hotel’s active 360-degree social consciousness, creating a sacred space of gratitude and giving.

Experiential Luxury

Another element within travel that is booming is experiential luxury, which resonates strongly with millenials (those in their 20s-30s), although it’s gaining momentum even beyond this. According to BCG, by 2022, the experiential segment is forecasted to account for nearly two-thirds of the total luxury market— showcasing a crucial change in consumer behavior, from owning to being

Millenials are frequent travellers, early adopters, they like personalised interactions, and seek experiences over the acquisition of material goods. They also have a much larger social conscience and are more likely to pick a hotel or resort based on the property’s eco qualities. Millennials also tend to see a gentler environmental footprint in the indulgence of experiences, rather than the purchase of goods. Therefore, to keep them engaged and impressed means to continually reinvent the hotel offerings. 

We are hesitant to call this a trend, since that denotes that its relevance will one day expire; we think the contrary, that this will only continue to gain momentum and continue to influence the way hospitality industry professionals think.  Experiential luxury travel is about putting an emphasis on how the guest can discover, express or grow, as opposed to brag or showcase their wealth. It’s important, therefore, that the hotel considers how they curate this space for the guest. 

Hoteliers must do so mindfully and genuinely, to generate a long lasting form of transformative travel. Experiential luxury travel is about responding to one’s needs, whether that be physically, intellectually, or philosophically. However, it’s success rests on the experience remaining authentic, nourishing, and exclusive. 

Guests are looking for an authentic connection to local culture, places and people. The challenge for hotels is to adjust their mindset from developing finely tuned luxury that goes by the rulebook and ticks the boxes, to thinking outside the box, creating contextual luxury with originality and uniqueness.

To achieve this within a hotel, it relies a lot on the storytelling behind all that is offered and pushing the boundaries of a traditional hotel stay. We work closely with our clients to help them to create thoughtfully curated spaces of discovery, whether it be designing the tangible accessories that accompany an experience or providing our consulting services to help the hotel offer something away from the ordinary.

Experiential luxury doesn’t need to stop with adults; we ensure even the little guests enjoy an immersive experience. Our in-house design team can create an entire activity book that is unique to the property, in order to send children on a safely curated adventure within the hotel’s grounds. Our design team creates all the illustrations and activities, which are both stimulating and educational.  These activities wouldn’t be possible without equipping the children with the right merchandise – like what we did for the kids at the Shangri La Paris, making sure their backpacks were packed with colouring pencils, a pair of slippers, a stuffed toy, and an umbrella, to facilitate their discoveries.  

activity book lutetia

Activity book designed and created for Lutetia

 

Customisation

Personalised experiences make all the difference. Guests remember the details and crave that element of surprise.

We have crafted an endless selection of bespoke goods which are easily customisable, like pyjama sets, beach bags, or luggage tags, complete with the guest’s initials and tasteful branding of the establishment. 

Clients are looking for a reusable customized souvenir to bring at home. However, before choosing the gift to offer, it’s important to understand what the guest loves, who they are, and what they value by carrying out research to give each gesture more context and relevance. 

Influencers are highly receptive to personalized attention. By simply scrolling through their social media platforms, it’s easy to learn key information about their likes to push the experience even further.

luggage tag and customized beach bag

However, the personalised gifting should also be relevant to the property itself. For instance, we love the raffia bags we made for  Bulgari Hotel & Resorts Dubai and the customization of these with the initials of their special guests – it’s an ideal take-home item that retains the spirit of the property and its resort feel, making memories last long after the stay. 

Smart Hotels

While guests these days are generally self-sufficient and tech-savvy, hotels still need to ensure their offerings are not only up-to-date, but that they are also user friendly.  In addition to ensuring all mechanisms within the room are considered ‘smart’, this can be further supported by providing a well equipped tech box and all the gadgets to the guest in order to facilitate their connectivity. Or, in many cases, making it easy to disconnect and unplug – that being to enable guests to select their deliberate digital detox when, or if, they want it. Moreover, the days of struggling with unstable connections, logging in and paying for wifi has become seriously passé. 

bespoke powerbank and phone cable Rosewood hong kong

Home-Like Amenities

 More and more, we are seeing a shift towards hotels creating that home-like ambience within the rooms, many even eliminating the need for a desk within the space and instead offering more relaxing furnishings. Guests are increasingly seeking a heightened luxury version of their ‘home away from home’, meaning they have all the comforts they have at home, but better, more efficient, more luxurious, more personalised – and all without the housework. Hoteliers can take advantage of this demand by offering thoughtful nooks and details to rooms, such as an actual usable book library with carefully curated reading material, a more luxurious coffee machine or tea set complete with locally sourced sweet treats, artisan chocolate, tea and coffee, or even simply adding to the bedside a crystal water jug and glass that fits the decor of a home and not a stock-standard hotel room. 

Coffee machine badrutt

A Palatino produced leather-covered coffee machine and kettle for Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz. 

Scented candles are a beautiful and simple way to create that cosy at-home feeling. This is one we produced for Rosewood Hong Kong. It not only adds a touch of hygge within the room, but it also doubles as an ideal take-home gift for guests. 

Scented candle rosewood hong kong

The Local Art of Living

A local’s viewpoint is a highly sought after traveller’s prerequisite. The allure that boutique hotels offer, namely humanised service, authentic interactions and understood personal preferences, is hence one of the trends we see growing and now being made available in top luxury hotel groups. We happily said goodbye to the old days, where it was so common to see other hotel guests dine at the same restaurant on the same night, since all were guided by the same concierge with the same restaurant list and same friends working in those  restaurants. Too much of the sameness for our liking! That is now seen as poor form and a thing of the past. Hoteliers are recognising that one size does not fit all when it comes to ensuring that guests’ cultural thirst is quenched. 

Wherever one travels, it’s the individual exchanges with local staff, the personalised tips and the thoughtfully curated itineraries that is offered to them, that really makes an impact and allows them to have as much of an ‘off the beaten track’ experience as they want – or can handle.

Luxury travel and local culture can indeed be intertwined; you no longer need to forgo one to have the other. Ways in which hotels can offer this is creating their own monthly travel log, with off-the-radar cultural dates and happenings of the city well indicated, aside from just what is offered on-site in the hotel. This ‘guide’ or map can be folded and slipped into a moleskine-style journal to facilitate guests documenting their travels and jotting down their encounters. 

Additionally, equipping guests with the right attire for the city ensures they slip right into the local scene, like for instance providing a day bag free of use that fits the aesthetics and demands of the city. For instance, we love this unisex leather day bag we made for Rosewood which fits the vibe of magical Hong Kong. 

leather day bag rosewood hong kong

The luxury hospitality market is growing rapidly, and for the positive; but with this, we see the rules of the game are changing and guest expectations are shifting – therefore, key industry players need to be nimble in order to stay ahead and retain their competitive edge. Let’s reinvent the customer experience of the future together.