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A new breed of traveler is driving tremendous changes in the hospitality sector, where experiences now trump luxury.  According to a new study by HVS London called “A New Breed of Traveler,” this emerging trend signals a much-needed shift in the way that hoteliers cater to guests.

The increase in affluence, globalization and technology has led to modern hotel guests valuing experiences and the feeling of ‘being connected’ over traditional hotel luxuries, such as white linen services or even a traditional concierge.

In fact, this new study suggests that many hotels are falling behind when it comes to adapting to this new breed of traveler.  But the more progressive hoteliers, who have embraced this shift, are designing for this new breed of traveler such as creating larger lobbies to serve as collaboration spaces, and smaller guest rooms since more time is spent socializing outside of the room.

In a similar study by Amadeus called “Trending with NextGen Travelers,” these guests are demanding personalized experiences, which can be booked through social and mobile channels, and are looking to ‘bond’ more with brands.

We believe that this new traveler expects a completely frictionless experience, where, from booking to checkout and beyond, all needs can be met through innovation.

When dramatic change happens in any industry, it is all too easy to fall behind by taking the course of inaction.  It goes without saying that the hotel brands that can most quickly and effectively adapt will succeed.

This is where a progressive approach to developing the right innovations for helping guests augment their travel experiences is paramount. These “next-generation” travelers are the early adopters and provide a window into the future of travel.

The big questions is which hotel brands will be the true pioneers in staying ahead of the needs of the next-generation traveler.  Those who swiftly embrace change and take the right innovation risks will emerge as the true category leaders.