IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), reputed to be the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, has worked with some of the most influential hospitality experts and travel commentators to identify key global trends that will have potential impact in 2012 and beyond.
With over 153 million room nights booked by guests each year, IHG has used its scale to examine insights into how travel and lifestyle habits are changing, in order to be able to design for the future needs of its guests. The contributors to this trends report were all asked what they thought were the main drivers of change that would influence 2012 in terms of travel and these insights have been reflected in five macro trend areas.
1: REMAPPING: New global travel patterns are impacting local geographies
The remapping trend looks at how our travel and lifestyle patterns are changing and the impact this is having upon urban areas. For example, as we see the rise in populated areas outside of main city centres, smaller cities are being developed. Spas are more likely to be seen in an urban area now over a country retreat and we will see an increase in small communities around airports.
– 100 new airports will emerge by 2020 in China, while Dubai’s World Central airport will house a golf course and the world’s largest mall.
2: BRAIN SPA: The desire to learn more will influence destination decisions
Brain Spa looks at our growing appetite to expand and keep our intellect in good health – in fact we are prepared to travel for it. Forbes has tipped the market for goods and services that claim to enhance IQ as the next trillion dollar industry and Brain Fitness software is already worth US$265m in the US.
– The market for goods and services responding to the new demand for mental stimulation is expected to grow between US$1bn to US$5bn by 2015.
3: DEMO-LUXURY: Airport indulgences are at an all-time high
This trends looks at a new type of luxury – it no longer means high-cost but more ‘everyday indulgence’. It looks at how brands are co-creating with customers to offer these indulgences and how we are much more prone to ‘borrowing’ and not ‘buying’ one-off luxury items. As airport turnover goes through the roof – one of these ‘indulgences’ has been identified as the increase in shopping at airports
– Global airport retailing is now worth US$27.1bn and is the second fastest growing channel of retail after e-tailing as many women prefer to travel light and shop at the airport.
4: THE INTERNET OF THINGS: Using the web to buy ‘in flight’ and get ‘in hotel’
This trend looks at our relationship with the internet and how it will take on a new meaning in the future. It focuses on how the internet will slowly move out of conventional devices such as the mobile and move into less likely items like magazines, for example. We could soon be buying items in-flight and receiving them at our destination. Alternatively, ordering food from our mobiles and it being ready on the restaurant table on arrival – and so the phenomenon ‘from tablet to table’ is born.
– Did you know that computers of the next generation will need to be 1000 times faster in order to keep up with the speed that the industry is moving.
5: PEOPLE PLAY: Consumers will be loyal only if brands ‘play nicely’
This trends looks at how sophisticated brands have become in order to continue to maintain customer loyalty. Game play has become a huge focus area as big brands adopt some of the principles of Facebook and Google.
– The total spend on loyalty-based game play applications will rise to US$1.6bn globally by 2015 as the war for brand loyalty moves up a gear in response to increasingly savvy consumers.
Says Joe Ferry, IHG senior vice president, Global Innovation and Design “IHG is an insight led business and understanding the requirements of our guests both today and pre empting what they may look like in the future is key to building our brands and nurturing loyalty. The Remapping trend, for example, is evidence of this. As we see the rise in populated areas outside of main city centres, our recently launched HUALUXE™ Hotels and Resorts brand will aim to cater for the specific needs of the Chinese traveller and also support the rapid growth of some of these Tier 2 and 3 cities in China.”
Highlighting some of today’s most relevant travel trends, IHG properties are harnessing these in a way to better cater to guest’s needs. Hoteliers are already using the latest technology to facilitate smoother journeys and stress free stays – for example, InterContinental was the first hotel company to have iPads for all of their concierges.
So what does the future hold for us when we travel?
Well, we could be travelling virtually baggage free by being able to rent our clothing and accessories from hotel lobbies, de-stress in special sleeping labs in hotels and stimulate our minds through in-room brain spa menus. We could even be shopping from our mobiles by scanning codes from an in-flight magazine and have items delivered to any hotel in any destination. Watch this space.