As the new year kicks in, I’m allowing myself a moment of indulgent and happy stock-taking. LHC absolutely roared through 2022! Assignments took us both near and far – introducing us to fresh iterations of hospitality across UAE, Costa Rica, Switzerland, France, Italy, Israel, and the U.S. where the invitations to shape and collaborate on some pretty unique visions for concept design, branding, operations, hotel development and openings felt so full of positivity and hope for the future of the industry.
2023 shows no sign of stopping, and, moving ahead with the trends we saw shaping up last year, we anticipate more focus on the following:
Health & Wellbeing
Health and well-being. It’s here to stay. Permanently. As travellers, guests and just human beings we now expect to live a life that incorporates self-care and preventative medicine – whether we’re at home or on holiday. We want more energy, to sleep better, feel less stressed, be emotionally balanced and spiritually aligned. Hotels and spas are well-positioned to provide beauty and relaxation options that will meet this need. Consumers also want hotels that create effective, multi-purpose spaces promoting health and wellness for a more holistic guest experience. And technology can play a vital part… For example, more focus on health diagnostics within spa design allows guests to benefit from bespoke treatments created and delivered by subject experts.
While sustainability has been hovering around the edges for years, it’s now a natural part of every conversation – from financing to food to community. There are now so many innovative and exciting ways in which we can operate hotels more sustainably, as well as designing and building structures that are kinder, more considered and thoughtful overall. And let’s not forget that our workforce, the millennials, make up a mighty chunk of that group and are demanding that hotels genuinely walk their green talk.
Personalised and unique experiences are still a top priority as companies compete for a share of the luxury market. While human connection is still at the heart of our humanity, technology will become more prevalent in shaping that ultimate guest experience; with guests benefitting from digital support and contactless services including mobile check-in, contactless payment, biometrics, voice control, and occupancy sensors. At the same time, hotels will naturally gather masses of data which can be processed into accurate and bespoke customised preferences.
Technology’s far-winding reach is everywhere. Not only to enhance the guest experience but also to directly create and shape it. We will be seeing more hospitality experiences delivering virtual experiences and augmented reality, through which brands can maintain and strengthen guest connections, even when the guest isn’t using their physical facilities.
More luxury retail brands are striding into the world of hospitality with the aim of defining a unique customer experience that promotes their brand values. This reflects a new push by customers – many of them from younger generations – who want to live and experience the entirety of the brands they identify with, not just own branded products. From jewellery to hotels… Bulgari has half a dozen sites in Milan, London and Dubai, and the Swiss luxury watch, Audemars Piguet recently opened a ‘watch hotel’ in Switzerland. We have also seen this cross-pollination in food and beverage, with Gucci and Tiffany, and we will see more across all luxury segments. While we know it’s not easy to create and deliver unique experiences, these companies will enter the world of service with no constraints or notions of how things ‘should’ be done – which might actually present a refreshing challenge to the way we do things in hospitality!
2023 is coming at us fast and full of possibility. I can’t wait to look back on this year and see how we’ve all carried the notion of hospitality to new realms and fresh ways in which to make life a thing of beauty and wonder.