If 2023 was the year of making up for lost (travel) time, then 2024 will be the year for seeking value for money, travelling in multi-gen groups, extending work stays with play, micro-weddings, and recreating the comforts of home in-room – many of which are closely connected to the current cost-of-living climate.
While rising living costs may take high-end or extended travel off the agenda for many, Craig Hooley, Chief Operating Officer of Minor Hotels (including Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites) says that as a nation of committed travellers, the brand is noticing many Australians would rather adapt their travel plans than give them up altogether – after all, taking time out to rest and recharge remains a priority.
As a result, savvy operators will tap into this mindset and adapt to guests’ changing travel preferences, not just by offering deals, but by incorporating added value through partnerships with aligned brands, offering accommodation options for larger groups who can share costs, or encouraging leisure stays to be added onto work trips to save on flight costs.
Mr Hooley added that said the company’s award-winning brand platform Happy Folks Choose Oaks, which will continue into 2024, taps into the same philosophy, that a holiday doesn’t have to be extravagant to have a positive impact on wellbeing.
“Simple things such as a weekend staycation in your own city, a road trip to a regional destination, or a coastal escape with family and friends are the key ingredients to a happy getaway, which is all about taking a break from the rigamarole of everyday life,” he added.
Oaks Hotels’ top travel trends for 2024
Value is still king
While locals are still keen to get away despite the rising cost of living, value for money is influencing the way we travel, with guests carefully weighing up location, seasonal deals, loyalty programme benefits and additional value-add items, such as in-room kitchens to save on the cost of eating out, in-room streaming rather than pay-per-view movies, and quality in-room coffee to avoid the pricey morning café run.
It all starts with coffee
As a nation of hard-core coffee fans, it’s not surprising travellers are increasingly factoring in where they can get their morning fix when choosing a hotel – and a kettle and tin of instant just doesn’t cut it. Consider installing an in-room coffee pod machine to allow guests to start their day with a smile.
Don’t stop streaming
With today’s guests looking to recreate the comforts of home wherever they roam – and indulge their TV streaming addiction 24/7 – hotels need to adapt to deliver, allowing guests to continue bingeing their show of choice.
Comfort food is the new cool
Whether it’s whipping up your famous spaghetti bolognaise for the family or ordering the best burgers in town from a curated selection of local must-try restaurants via Menulog (added to the bill at checkout), Oaks is committed to making sure guests can eat where and whenever they want to – just like home.
The intimate or ‘micro’ wedding trend is having a moment, with couples choosing to celebrate with 20 to 50 of their nearest and dearest – often as part of an extended destination wedding weekend – rather than kicking up their heels with a crowd. Cost-effective and more personal, the trend aligns with current cost-of-living pressures.
While it’s not a new trend, this one shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. To share costs, celebrate milestones and find the time to genuinely connect, something that’s increasingly difficult in our busy multi-tasking lives, families are continuing to choose to travel together to create memories through shared experiences. ‘Gramping’, where grandchildren take the youngest generation away for a holiday and leave the parents to work or travel solo, is also gaining momentum.
Work + play is the new getaway
With hybrid working increasingly entrenched, travellers are adding extra days to work trips to save on purchasing airfares or are choosing to work from a holiday destination then explore after hours or on the weekend. Again, while the bleisure concept isn’t a new one, it’s gaining traction with the skyrocketing work-from-home culture, and Oaks Hotels are hosting plenty of travellers who are taking advantage of in-room workspaces, kitchens and living areas to effectively combine work and play – just like home.
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