Excerpt from stuff
Since 2007, TripAdvisor has risen and risen to become a household name. The continuing growth of its former parent, Expedia, including Expedia’s hotels.com as well as the global giant booking.com, has encouraged similar online sites, vastly increasing travel consumer keyboard power.
And since its 2007 inception, an outfit called AirBnB has changed the way we stay, thus transforming the global hotel industry. (And changing other behaviours and industries, too – it effectively kicked off the sharing economy.)
From the time Conrad Hilton started rolling out his hotel chain in the early 20th century, a sameness to a hotel family’s offering became de rigueur for purposes of economy and brand recognition. Now, in the face of all this change, the big headline is difference.
Even with huge hotel companies merging and subsuming smaller brands, choice is key. Consider French giant AccorHotel’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of FRHI Holding, owners of Fairmont, Raffles and Swisshotel, and how it has allowed those brands to maintain their own identity. Where such purchases used to be all about foothold, in this market, that individual identity is an equally valuable commodity.
NEW GENERATION HOTELS
The most direct response to AirBnB has been the proliferation of the Millennial hotel. Major hotel groups have launched spin-off brands to meet Gen Y tastes (and those older folks with similar sensibilities), with a focus on authentic response to location.
Each hotel under the brand is thus different, but united by approach. The trend has now reached Australia, in the form of Hotel Jen Brisbane (Shangri-La) and Perth’s Aloft (Starwood).
Even airport hotels are getting interesting, as are many budget properties.
Concept hotels are springing up, too, playing to our emotions and desires. Sydney’s QT led the Australian charge, with a sexy, playful vibe that pays homage to the theatrical and garment industry heritage of the buildings it inhabits.
Hotels and resorts have also responded to the huge growth in the wellness industry, with better spas, gyms and finely honed retreat offerings.
Downside: the proliferation of meaningless faux hipster decor (exposed globes, subway tiles) in properties keen to cash in without really engaging with what “Millennial” means in this context.
Consider the fact that Japan already has a hotel manned solely by robots. And in Palm Springs, Arrive Hotel is all about you controlling your experience from your own personal devices.
It’s safe to say technology will feature greatly in changes across the next decade, as will eco-credentials. Ten years ago, many hotels simply paid lip service to environmental challenges by encouraging you to reuse your towels. Now, mainstream industry players are committed to greenhouse gas reduction as well as being a good local citizen.