The past few years triggered a significant reality check in society. People looked inward to decide what they really needed and why — questioning the relevancy of existing habits, beliefs, and behaviors regarding self, community, and the planet. These shifts and nuances in mindset and the diverging individual responses to these inquiries have created a collective transformative force which impacts society. We take a closer look at these changes and their intricacies and where we believe they create opportunities for the hospitality industry.
#1 The Hybrid Way of Life
The acceleration of digital over the past few years, transforming how people work and live, coupled with more time to reflect during the pandemic, has led people to reexamine their lifestyles. They want to live, play, work, socialize and buy on their own terms, with an increasing desire for flexibility and freedom to seamlessly connect all aspects in their life. The shift impacts where people want to live, the quest for a better work-life balance and a desire for more meaning overall. And it creates a change in how people want to work. As much as they love the ability to work from anywhere (73% of workers across 31 countries want flexible remote work options1), they feel at the same time the irrepressible need to interact (47% of workers miss social interactions with colleagues and associates2). Those seemingly opposing ideas result in the growing desire for flexibility and multi-purpose in all domains.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR HOSPITALITY?REIMAGINING HOSPITALITY SPACES
As living shifts, the concept of one place equals one usage needs to evolve. We simply cannot see spaces from the same lens. Offices, malls, hotels, meeting venues, etc. — all potential spaces where we spend time — can be flexible and multi-purpose.
- Residential spaces: the desire for more flexibility and freedom increases the demand for private spaces, whether to adapt to longer stays or to specific needs and moments. We see residential offerings rising (branded residences, villas, apartments…) combined with the valued traditional services and shared moments of hospitality (F&B, spas, events…).
- Spaces as multi-purpose living hubs: whether for family members needing a large space to gather together or surrounding communities to meet, greet, and work, spaces need to seamlessly adapt to versatile needs.
REIMAGINING HOSPITALITY LIVING
As they move and change ideas rapidly, people demand flexibility in hotel living. This is why the previous thinking in hospitality that one stay equals only one need is over. It can become multiple stays with multiple purposes. Being agile and highly flexible are the new hallmarks of hotel services.
- Blending work and leisure: as people continue to seek the ability to merge moments of pleasure and relaxation within work constraints, “Bleisure” or “Blended Travel” becomes the new normal, the well-known trend has turned into a solid business reality for hotels which can offer family-friendly or longer stay options. For example, 56% of people worldwide have or are considering staying in places a few extra days to work remotely during weekends or holidays away from home, according to an Accor research among workers in 7 countries3.
- Sociable Meetings: as remote working continues to expand, in-person meetings may be less about business and more about socialization, team building, and creative moments, thereby offering opportunities to integrate social activities and team building within meeting offers.
Explore some of Accor’s initiatives reflecting The Hybrid Way of Life:
#2 The Well-Being Imperative
The concept of well-being has blossomed in human consciousness for a few years now. As individuals have become more aware of the notion, they have come to the realization that well-being is more of a holistic process entailing body, mind, and living habits (77% of all consumers take steps in daily life to stay healthy, such as eating with moderation, getting exercise, managing stress….4). But the notion has moved even beyond the perimeter of personal health to encompass social life, working conditions, home characteristics, and urban way of living. Everything in society contributes to creating a culture of well-being, from entrepreneurship and organization to finance and technology. And individuals ask companies, governments, and institutions to help them incorporate well-being holistically into every moment in their life to satisfy these new interests and needs.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR HOSPITALITY?ADDRESSING HOLISTIC WELL-BEING
While spas and fitness centers have long been part of hospitality, they catered mainly to physical wellness. Growing expectations for holistic well-being throughout the guest journey compels us to enhance guest experiences with a wider spectrum of possibilities, encompassing emotional well-being, nutrition, mental health, and more.
- Becoming mindful: much less explored territory, mental well-being can be a new area to explore, as it gains attention from guests. Whether through activities or with retreat concepts, adding mindfulness, meditation, creative expression, and personal education to local culture can nourish mental health.
- Holistic stays: with well-being becoming holistic and not restricted to specific hospitality functions, it can reach throughout the entire stay. From contact with preserved natural surroundings to the mastering of air and noise pollution, from the services which simplify daily burdens to the quality of food and attention to nutrition, the task is huge yet exhilarating, and will be very rewarding for brands and hotels which address well-being holistically.
EXPANDING THE WAY WE MANAGE
Everything from job satisfaction to economic independence is becoming part of well-being, including the way to run a business and to engage with team members, creating opportunities such as:
- Well-being at work: being well-being natives, new generations are looking for companies which share their values and support their commitment in well-being through all means possible, from working conditions on and off-site and the respect of work-life balance, to career paths and entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Beyond traditional management: the next step in holistic well-being at work is to give purpose to everyone’s daily contributions. Acting responsibly, respecting individuals, connecting people, and giving back defines how hospitality can create, step by step, a well-being society.
Discover some of Accor’s latest initiatives on well-being:
#3 The New Community Boundaries
With people staying closer to home, the local community has gained even more prominence in everyone’s mindset. People want to act more to protect, interact with, and support their community. For example, a study in the UK has shown that 45% of individuals state they want to focus more on supporting each other and good neighborliness5. For them, taking care of their local community is as important in a sustainable perspective as it is for economic impact. This could have led to a decline in travel — particularly internationally — however, a different result is taking place. While people are incredibly committed to their local community, they still want to travel. Hence the rising appeal of trips abroad to Europeans and Americans (an increase of 13 pts and 11 pts respectively – as compared to 20196). But they seek to immerse themselves in the destination to have more deeply authentic experiences when they travel. What we see is that care for local communities is expanding from your own to the ones at the other end of the world. This is promising for hospitality provided the industry pivots to seize the prospects offered by this new mindset.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR HOSPITALITY?BELONGING TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
While hotels have traditionally been seen as primarily for out-of-town guests, this increased focus on local community and care presents the opportunity for properties to build greater connection to place where they do business:
- A second home for the local community: as people’s lives are more centered around their immediate community, the need for locals-dedicated spaces and services increase. Hotels can adapt to a variety of community-based needs such as community activities or family and friends gatherings while ensuring the usual hospitality services such as food and beverage also appeal to locals. As travelers seek connection to destinations, becoming the hub of local community life could ensure the double satisfaction of locals and visitors alike.
- Supporting the community economy: hospitality is one of the most powerful multipliers of the local economic life (on average, one job in a hotel supports four jobs in the local economy). Hotels have the opportunity to reinforce their role as an active local force, creating community outreach programs for Talent, developing neighborhood suppliers sourcing…and advertising it to guests interested in discovering the hotel’s close network.
ENVISIONING COMMUNITY-CENTRIC TOURISM
Feeding into people’s desire to support and be a part of the local community — no matter where they roam — travel has the potential to promote community-centric tourism and sustainability efforts to preserve what originally made that destination something people from around the world want to see.
- Protecting local communities: COVID opened people’s eyes to the impact of over-tourism and under-tourism. Contributing to the protection of destinations and enhancing new destinations in a controlled way helps preserve while developing. Along with guests, hospitality has a role to play in participating in neighborhood sustainability actions, from replanting coral and conserving natural resources and engaging with inhabitants who stand up for their culture.
- Discovering the people behind the destinations: guests want to discover destinations where they can see and learn about local culture, habits, and ways of living. Through tailored activities and encounters with local artisans, hospitality can become the ambassador of its local communities.
Accor has explored some of these opportunities through several initiatives. Discover three below:
- Discover the Sustainable & local Hospitality Experiences of our brands
- Listen to “Local Voices, Global Stories”, our podcast shining a light on the inspiring local actions of our teams
- Discover how the Group creates authentic Food & Beverage experiences that are relevant for locals and travelers alike
#4 The Consumption Paradox
Consumers are still consuming, but there has been a shift in the whys, hows, and ways in which they buy. An exclusive Accor research identified that for 48% of respondents ethics matters in their interactions, but at the same time, 55% admit they would compromise if it is more convenient7. Where do these seemingly opposed viewpoints lead us? More aware of the impact of their consumption, people are, in fact, more aware when they buy. They spend more time thinking about how and why they will make a purchase, disrupting their daily routine with more meaningful actions in a smarter way. But their conscious consumption doesn’t always guarantee a sustainable or ethical choice. They work hard to find a balance between needs and desires and between values and convenience. The needle is indeed moving with regard to the manner of consumption, and the hospitality industry has opportunities to bring smarter and meaningful ways to purchase.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR HOSPITALITY?INVENTING SMARTER SELLING TOOLS WHICH ARE ALSO MORE RESPONSIBLE
As individuals continue to put their wants and desires front and center, brands can set themselves apart by feeding the need for more flexible purchase options, allowing consumers at the same time to control their consumption.
- Alternative buying systems: airlines are leading the way in testing alternative smarter buying tools, in tune with today’s consumption practices, such as pre-purchase and monthly subscriptions, enabling individuals to buy what they want, when they want, and how they want. This favors more responsible and mindful purchases, avoiding waste and compulsive consumption.
INTEGRATING CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION
The growing concern for people and planet has caused an increase in conscious consumption. In fact, 85% of people indicate they are prepared to rethink the way they live and spend to tackle climate change8. As a result, we are seeing greater shifts toward conscious consumption and making it easier to do so, including:
- Sustainable travel options: Following the consumer’s desire to consciously act, search and booking engines can make it easier for clients to make sustainable travel choices, with structured sustainability criteria, certifications, and labels in online reservations as well as even carbon calculators. Demonstrating participation in sustainability and making it convenient for clients becomes a must-have in hospitality which will directly impact consumer choice and business.
- Sustainable sourcing: as consumers are questioning all aspects in their purchase, sourcing becomes even more central for hotels, especially food and beverage sourcing. Numerous food and beverage industry professionals have put in place a more sustainable approach and are making it easier for all stakeholders to make sustainable choices, as is evidenced by labels for responsible fishing, transparency on supply chains (from production to preparation), sea to table networks…). This is the basis of a responsible approach to food: smarter, more responsible, and healthier.
Discover some of Accor’s initiatives in this area below:
1 The World Trade Index conducted by Edelman Data x Intelligence for Microsoft, among 31.092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets - January 2021
2 Foresight Factory
3 Accor study conducted in 2021 among 5,000 people in 7 countries in the employed population that could work fully or partially remotely
4 Foresight Factory in WBWP
5 The National Lottery Community Fund – UK research January 2021 - survey of over 7,000 UK adults across the UK
6 IPSOS holiday barometer 2022 https://www.ipsos.com/en/holiday-barometer-2022
7 Study conducted by Accor in 2022 among 15,000+ travelers in 7 countries
8 Trend Report 2021 – Regeneration Rising - Wunderman Thompson Intelligence