As we look toward 2022 and post-pandemic travel for the coming year, from a rise in ready-to-drink beverages to an increased focus on social content for hotel bookings, here are some insights from three top hospitality professionals below for consideration.
Philip Bates, CEO and Co-Founder of TMC Hospitality
- Increased Demand for Localized Experiences – The pandemic has taught us to better appreciate the small things, which will lead people to seek out ways to get to know and experience the cities to which they are traveling. Any locals-only type of offering will have appeal. For example, at our new Drift San José del Cabo, we are offering a mezcal bar developed in partnership with Mezcal Exiliado and a local taco truck accompanied by live music in the courtyard.
- Uptick In Social Group Travel - People are eager to travel with others. Whether it’s friends, family or colleagues, we are all valuing time with those in our lives more and this will drive social group travel to hotels like ours as well as to products like Airbnb and other alternative lodging options.
- Increase in “Bleisure” Travel – People are looking forward to getting out more and will increasingly mix work trips with leisure trips. Taking extra time to see friends and family, explore cities, and work remotely will all play a big role in “bleisure” demand. Hotels that offer extended stay rates, spaces and co-working areas will benefit from this trend.
Lior Sekler, VP of Revenue Management at HRI Hospitality
- Social Content Matters: The increase of disposable spend within the younger generation is impacting search and interest in travel, as they’re looking for unique experiences, interesting new destinations and “Instagrammable” content to share on social. Research shows a more than 20% increase in bookings by those influenced by social media content.
- Higher Spending: In 2021, the US experienced the strongest consumer spending growth in 70 years, totaling 8% growth. This expenditure purge is expected to continue into 2022, as consumer wealth is at record-levels and they are eager and ready to spend money.
- International vs. Domestic: Americans who vacationed within the US over the last couple of years will return to exploring international destinations once restrictions are lifted, and in return, the US will hopefully see a significant increase in international travelers within the states. Gateway cities like NYC, LA, Chicago will see the first significant signs but other unique destination like southern tours will also begin.
Dana Pellicano, Vice President, Food & Beverage, Global Operations at Marriott International
- Reinvented In-Room Dining: The pandemic provided an opportunity for a room-service redo: over the course of the last year, room service revenue far exceeded budgets and overtook restaurants and lounges as the top revenue generating outlet. At Marriott International, we started reinventing room service five years ago. The pandemic accelerated this adoption, and dozens more hotels migrated to this new room service format last year, offering food that boxes and travels well, at prices more commensurate with today’s customer expectations.
- Mobile Dining is Here to Stay: Within food and beverage, it’s mobile dining that really enjoyed a pandemic boom, as restaurant customers across the country were forced to master the use of QR code technology and mobile. For those that worry that mobile ordering will usher in lower check averages due to the inability to upsell, take note: mobile dining checks are traditionally 20% higher than traditional checks. Turns out the allure of a side of fries or a scoop of ice cream remains irresistible in any format!
- Continued Rise of RTD Beverages: Driven largely by the same trend that saw consumers comforted by eating in their room, Ready-To-Drink (RTD) beverages offer a hermetically sealed solution to the crafted cocktail, often by a familiar endorsed brand. Equally compelling: many use high quality ingredients to reasonably replicate a great bar experience, minus the garnish and fresh ice.