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CEOs of the GHA’s 35 hotel groups predict top five travel trends for 2022

  • GHA CEO Chris Hartley.

  • GHA CEO Chris Hartley.

Bucket-list travel and unique experiences with a preference for sustainable travel are top consumer travel trends for 2022. City travel will make a comeback in 2022 to around 75% of 2019 levels. Tech-savvy and health-conscious travellers, weary of pandemic-related red tape, will value convenience more than ever this year.

DUBAI, UAE – CEOs of some of the world’s leading hotel groups, all members of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), have made five bold travel predictions for 2022.

Travellers will either go big or stay at home, with supersized holidays to ultra-luxury resorts and trips to major global cities high on the agenda, as well as serial staycations, daycations and work-from-hotel scenarios and a preference for sustainable travel, say hospitality chiefs surveyed by GHA, the largest alliance of independent hotel brands encompassing more than 500 hotels across 35 brands in 85 countries. It will expand its reach further when NH Hotel Group joins this summer, adding another 360 hotels.

More flexible travel payment options and convenient contactless services will become a priority, significantly influencing the purchasing behaviours of travellers, according to the hotel leaders. GHA properties are already ahead of the curve, with the recent reimagination of GHA DISCOVERY, the loyalty programme that is shared by all of the brands within GHA, pre-empting these trends with concepts that meet the needs of travellers today, including a digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$) which members earn and spend at any property in the collection, along with a new Live Local concept, inviting members into their local hotels, with or without a stay, through offers and experiences ranging from pool access to spa days to dining offers and more.

“The collective expertise and knowledge of our CEOs provides a barometer of global consumer sentiment. Our survey has confirmed that today’s travellers, influenced by the circumstances of the last few years, are booking supersized holidays to bucket-list destinations, opting for multiple daycations discovering close-to-home hotel experiences, and demanding more flexible and convenient ways to book and pay for travel,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley.

“With our collection of world-leading independent hotel brands, spanning an eclectic mix of properties and locations, and supported by GHA DISCOVERY with the first of its kind digital rewards currency, we are ticking all these must-have boxes for modern travellers”, he adds.

GHA Hotels Brand CEOs’ Top Five Predictions

Supersize my Holiday, but  Sustainably
Bucket-list travel and unique experiences are top consumer travel trends for 2022, with almost 73% of survey respondents revealing they were targeting this sector trend with substantial sales and marketing activity above all others. They also flagged up a surge in bookings for villas and suites, dominated by family group travel, indicating that guests were making up for lost time during the pandemic and prioritising reunions and vacations with loved ones by supersizing their holiday. Some guests are taking it a step further, opting for a resort buyout to celebrate weddings and special occasions, with the Indian Ocean region a definite hotspot. This rise in spend and preference for larger accommodation is reflected in a predicted boost in 2022 room revenue across all markets, according to GHA hotel brands CEOs, with properties in many regions, including Europe, South-East Asia, China, and India, anticipating more of a return to 2019 levels by Q3 or Q4. It’s also clear that travellers will continue to prioritise responsible travel options this year, with 59% of CEOs surveyed dedicating sales and marketing efforts to promoting hotel sustainability credentials to planet and community-conscious guests.

City Slickers Return
City travel will make a comeback in 2022, according to most GHA brands CEOs (80%) who anticipate guest numbers at urban properties will return to around 75% of 2019 levels this year. According to GHA forward-booking data, the most popular cities for 2022 are Dubai and London, while Rome and Lisbon are rising in prominence again. CEOs noted destinations with minimal pandemic-related restrictions were capitalising on pent-up demand for travel. Dubai, one of the first destinations globally to reopen its borders to international travel in 2020 and part of the UAE, which is consistently rated as the most-vaccinated nation in the world by Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, was recently named the most popular destination for 2022 in Tripadvisor’s first Travellers’ Choice Award for Destinations. London ranked second, with traveller reviews and ratings of destinations over a 12-month period used to determine the winners.

Domestic Bliss Beckons
Experience-hungry travellers will continue to explore hotels and destinations on their doorstep in 2022, with 46% of GHA CEOs indicating the daycation market was a sales and marketing priority this year. The ongoing ‘bleisure’ and ‘work-from-anywhere’ trends remain dominant, with 41% of CEOs targeting the remote work and work-from-hotel markets. Drive-to destinations are in strong demand, while extended stays are on the rise, and hotels are responding with attractive packages ranging from day visits for work or play, to longer stints for executives and their families. Tapping into the staycation trend, the reimagined GHA DISCOVERY programme launched Live Local, giving members access to GHA properties in their hometown through Stay Offers for well-deserved breaks; Local Offers for short bursts of enjoyment without a stay, such as access to the beach, gym or pool, or special deals on dining and wellness; plus Experiences – bespoke member-only activities that immerse them in their local culture or community, from tours and classes to events and nature-bound expeditions.

Hasslefree Payments Please
Traveller desire for ease of payment will reach an all-time high this year, according to GHA CEOs, with more than 68% investing in systems upgrades this year to provide guests with a seamless experience, particularly at point of sale. At the same time, GHA’s new digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY DOLLARS (D$) – with one D$ valued at the equivalent of US$1 – enables members to earn D$ at any property in the GHA DISCOVERY collection for use on future stays. At check-out, D$ earned on previous stays can be used towards the hotel room, room upgrades, dining, spa treatments, or other extras. Members can earn D$ from day one, and the percentage earned on eligible spend increases with membership status, starting at 4% and rising to 7%. DISCOVERY DOLLARS (D$), part of the 2022 ‘financialisaton of travel’ movement, makes purchasing easier and gives members choice and value, addressing and alleviating customer pain points.

Contactless Convenience
Tech-savvy and health-conscious travellers, weary of pandemic-related red tape, will value convenience more than ever in 2022, said GHA CEOs, who are investing in technology to make their guests’ lives easier. The survey revealed more than 68% intended to look at introducing keyless room entry/room keys in 2022, while 46% were prioritising online check-in and room choices, and 23% were researching opportunities for in-room AI, such as Amazon’s Alexa or similar. Forward-looking CEOs are considering the benefits of the metaverse and virtual reality as part of it – one of the biggest emerging trends set to disrupt the business world in the future – with 50% surveyed keen to use VR for hotel tours. “Given the potential for VR to digitally transport potential customers to a hotel or travel destination, fully immersing their senses in this environment, it’s a powerful sales and marketing tool,” said Chris Hartley. “Our CEOs represent some of the world’s most visually appealing properties in stunning destinations globally, so VR guest experiences could be a real game-changer.”

The GHA hotel brand CEO survey was conducted in October 2021 and January 2022 and reflects the predictions and sentiments of a selection of hospitality leaders in the GHA portfolio. Brands represented include Anantara, Araiya, Avani, Campbell Gray, Capella, Corinthia, Discovery Destinations, Divani, Doyle, Elewana, Fauchon, GLO, JA Resorts, Kempinski, Leela, Lungarno, Marco Polo, Mysk, Niccolo, Nikki Beach, NUO, Oaks, Outrigger, Pan Pacific, PARKROYAL COLLECTION, PARKROYAL, Patina, The Residence by Cenizaro, Shaza, Sukhothai, Sun International, Tivoli, Ultratravel Collection and Viceroy.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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