Simple and authentic accommodation is the key to pleasing modern travellers, experts agree.
Panellists at the recent International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, Germany, argued the future of the accommodation industry is in increased simplicity and a decluttered experience for guests.
“It will be about providing everything you need and nothing you do not,” said Sharan Pasricha, CEO of London-based hospitality group Ennismore Capital.
“Have less tech in the bedroom, and instead focus on knowing the customer journey. Where you stay today says a lot more about you than it did ten years ago.”
CEOs of the world’s largest hotel chains were united in their condemnation of the industry’s recent focus on technology rather than humanity.
Markus Lehnert of Marriott International said the approach to simplicity and to providing a meaningful experience started with recruitment and training.
“Those small touchpoints inside the hotel will remain the future of our industry,” he said.
Jay Stein, CEO of the Dream Hotel Group, said simplicity might see an increase in soft brands, with companies not imposing blanket rules and brand standards if they did not make sense in different locations and situations.
“(Hotels) have to make sense to those individual markets,” he said.
Bohemian surf camps in Mexico, $700-a-night nature lodges in up-state New York and relaxed lower-priced accommodation with a European feel were among the new developments touted for success.
Lehnert said Marriott’s Moxy brand (with around 100 hotels worldwide) was designed to fit the new vision of the industry’s future.
“Moxy was different to Marriott’s other brands in that it was created in Europe and brought to the U.S. quite successfully,” he said.
“We saw we needed to simplify structures based on generational changes. Staff will serve you and wash the dishes, but then they will eat next to you.”