When Tomorrow Comes


When Tomorrow Comes


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Guests at the recent Asia Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) were given a peek into the future. American strategist and futurist Dr. Thomas P Cullen, the former Dean of Studies from Cornell Hotel School, offered his thoughts on emerging hospitality trends.

We tell you what’s in store and list Dr Cullen’s Top Eight observations.

    1. Experience Required: Experiential Tourism has experienced growth in all sectors. Tourists now expect hands-on experiences that engage all of their five senses. From cooking schools to home stays, visitors now demand active participation and are looking for experiences that draw them into the cultures, communities or the outdoors.

    1. Strong Medicine: In the US, medical tourism is a US$100mil market accounting for over 1.6 million departures each year. Key destinations include India, Thailand and Singapore.

    1. Boom Time: Baby boomers control almost 70% of the disposable income in the US and hotel operators need to meet their needs. As Dr Cullen pointed out, the over 65 market expect convenience and are willing to pay for added service or easy access to transport routes or tourist sites.

    1. Ladies’ Choice: Since Boomer women control 80% of household purchases, they’re looking for romance and –here’s that word again – convenience. And with the ageing population, hotel managers need to ensure their property has the facilities they require, from adequate bedside lighting to coffee makers in the room.

    1.  Go Wild: From bungee jumping in New Zealand to visiting an underwater restaurant in the Maldives or an Ice Hotel in Sweden, intrepid and adventure tourism is on the rise. Guests are willing to go off the beaten track to seek out truly memorable experiences.

    1. Tech Check: As customers become more tech savvy, hotel operators need to log in to clients’ needs. While many are now offering free hotel apps, e-butler services or increasing their in-room bandwith, some are close to installing facial recognition systems for regular customers.

    1. Independence Gay: In the US, the gay market accounts for US$50 billion a year.  These customers demand upscale products and will seek out destinations, hotels and operators that welcome same-sex couples.

  1. Distraction interaction: On average, tourists are active 14 hours a day. Interestingly, they spend less than half their time doing or seeing what they originally came for and up to 80% of their budget is spent on diversionary spending.  In light of this, hotels need to cater to their clients’ lifestyles and preferences.

Jenny Lo

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