woman smiling at laptop
These three hospitality brands are responding to current trends — from flexible, remote work arrangements to travel experiences that exceed expectations. — Getty Images/MStudioImages

No matter that Sandals Resorts, hotel citizenM, and RV-rental startup Outdoorsy are widely disparate hospitality brands: Their businesses are nonetheless each informed — sometimes unwittingly so — by the macro social trends bubbling in the zeitgeist, that are redefining consumers’ travel expectations.

Here, executives from the all-inclusive resort, the affordable luxury hotel and the “Airbnb for RVs” look at the social trends shaping their growth strategies — from the rise of remote work culture to consumer demand for one-of-a-kind vacations, like luxe airstream lodging and purpose-minded ‘voluntourism.’

 couple on vacation in RV rental
Outdoorsy is capitalizing on the group of travelers looking for a unique outdoor travel experience without the added cost of hotels and flights. — Outdoorsy

People are starting to use their vacation days again’

Jen Young, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Outdoorsy

Vacationers are seeking the flexibility to go anywhere in any season — from one day or one long weekend to a weeklong vacation. They’re turning to Outdoorsy to do that and are discovering a lower cost of entry into the outdoors than air and hotel vacation options offer.

Another reason travelers are choosing RV travel is because they want to make the most of their vacations and, to do so, are seeking out unique experiences high in memory-rich potential, which is what we offer renters. From selecting a one-of-a-kind rig that fits their travel style — perhaps a luxury airstream or renovated Sprinter van — to connecting with RV owners at the key exchange to the actual trip itself, the experience starts when a renter starts searching for a rig.

We’re strategically optimizing this desire for unique trip experiences by factoring in qualities of ease, convenience and instant gratification to the Outdoorsy platform. This started last year with the launch of our Renter iOS app — making it simpler for travelers to search for a rig and book a trip. By encouraging RV owners who list on Outdoorsy to offer RV delivery and setup for an extra fee — be that at a beach, campground or music festival — we’re also eliminating any intimidation or fear a first-time renter may have. Renters can also rent from a list of add-ons to enhance their trip experience — for example, adding a kayak, portable grill or camp chair to their booking. This acts as additional booking income to the owner while also saving the renter from the expense of investing in gear they may only use once.

 citizenM sitting area inside hotel
Hotel citizenM not only offers hotel lodging, but also day passes for remote workers to come in and utilize the amenities. — citizenM

'Hotels are responding to how, when, and where people work’

Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer, citizenM

More people than ever are working remotely, with many companies now allowing for part-time remote work from employees, and people are in need of places and spaces to work beyond a coffee shop.

For hospitality, this means not only more business guests, but local remote workers, too. It’s important for hotel brands to find ways of accommodating this new customer group while balancing the needs of guests. At citizenM New York Bowery, our lobbies began to fill with non-guest remote workers so quickly that we had to create day passes to ensure enough space was available for our guests.

Vacationers are seeking the flexibility to go anywhere in any season — from one day or one long weekend to a weeklong vacation.

Jen Young, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Outdoorsy

Retain

These three businesses are analyzing trends and responding to customer desires within their industries. Read on for more ways your business can retain customers.


Cheers,
CO—

 sandals spa sitting area
Sandals has amended its offerings to ensure an authentic luxury experience for its guests, from wellness coaching to spa treatments with local products. — Sandals

Providing a luxury experience is more than aesthetics — if it’s going to exceed expectations, it also needs to be authentic’

Maggie Rivera, senior vice president of brand strategy, Sandals Resorts

We’re seeing the demand for high-end travel preferences combined with authentic experiences continue to soar, [and] customer expectations continue to evolve through our five-star luxury approach encompassing service, food, accommodations and entertainment.

We meet the need with elevated product offerings that are at the heart of everything we do. From concepting luxury sky pool suites and over-the-water bungalows to offering personalized butler service, these elaborate preferences are in the highest demand.

Our guests also want tailored experiences reflective of the destination. We curate a number of authentic and unique experiences [around] fitness and wellness. At our Red Lane Spa, guest are being paired with a wellness coach to walk them through their dietary needs and exercise regime; [there are] spa services incorporating products indigenous to the region, like Blue Mountain coffee scrubs, raw sugar treatments and the use of papaya, lemon grass and Caribbean seaweed in treatments; and island adventures, such as ATV [automized motorized vehicles] off-roading safaris, bicycling among the Blue Mountains, Jamaican bobsledding, swimming with the pigs and voluntourism.

Guests can take part in Reading Road Trips to local schools where they engage and support reading comprehension. There are also turtle hatching release programs to protect the species and marine conservation efforts that include coral reef planting and mangrove restoration.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published November 13, 2019