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Decoding The New Trends Of Luxury

The hotel industry has gone back to the drawing board and started introducing new and innovative approaches to combat the fallout of the pandemic

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The covid-19 pandemic has debilitated various business sectors, with the hospitality sector suffering greatly. While social distancing became a way of life, the slowdown of economic and industrial activities impacted the earnings, and thereby spending, of the customers. People are prioritising spending money on essentials while the expenditure on luxury goods and services – including travelling and hotel bookings – has taken a backseat. Not to forget that travel restrictions, inter- and intra-country are still in place. All of which affect the luxury hospitality industry. According to a report by Bain & Company in March, global luxury sales are projected to drop up to 35 per 1cent by the end of 2020. 

However, after more than six months of uncertainty and apprehensions, world economies are slowly opening up. There has been an easing of restrictions on travel, and the world and our industry especially seem to be slowly edging back to normalcy. As expected, the hotel industry has gone back to the drawing board and started introducing new and innovative approaches to combat the fallout of the pandemic. 

In what can be considered a good omen for the luxury hospitality business, guests – after months of staying and working from home – have already started visiting our hotels for meals, workcations, staycations and to host social and corporate events. To say this is heartening for the industry at large, would be an understatement. Hospitality brands which will work to understand and adapt to guests in today’s pandemic world, are likely to see a regeneration and growth in future months. Some of the new trends in luxury hospitality industry to look forward to are: 

Wellbeing Where You Are 

Hotel chains need to deliver on their promise of a luxury experience while keeping in mind the safety and comfort of guests, like never before. There is an even greater need to focus on guest wellness and wellbeing. Options for mindfulness exercises and guided meditations - offered either in private settings or digitally through in-room TVs or hotel apps - could be one such example of ensuring guests that they are cared for. 

Less Contact, More Care 

Hotels need to focus on rolling out enhanced digital amenities which will allow guests to socially distance according to their preferences - provide them more control over how they connect with hotel management. New services should include options for guests to schedule housekeeping, choose between pick-up or knock-and-go food orders, mobile key entry, contactless check-in and checkout, and more. Guests should also be enabled to browse options and order from their own mobile device. 

Pleasing the Senses 

Exceptional food and beverage experiences have always been at the core of luxury and travel. To keep delivering on this experience, especially in the new normal, hotels need to focus on catering to all the senses to deliver reimagined impressions. These could include dining in beautiful, unique spaces such as private dining in a premium suite or creating meals in private garden suites, and even individual buffet-style meals that are curated and proportioned for each dining table. 

The Luxury of Space 

Recrafting on- and off-property events and excursions as private bookable leisure activities with plenty of space such as garden or rooftop yoga classes, private beekeeping, exploring outdoor paths with guided maps could be a value addition for guests looking for safe and private, yet enjoyable stays. 

Curated with Care 

Guestroom décor and amenities can be curated to remove extraneous hightouch items, while still providing a high-quality experience. 

It is important to remember that luxury hospitality brands are known for their memorable bespoke elevated experiences. Hotels are one of the few places where a controlled environment allows for superior hygiene and cleanliness, but is coupled with luxe surroundings and experiences. After months of isolation and confinement within their homes, people are looking forward to returning to their prepandemic lives, at least for an evening or a couple of days. An escape which no one can provide as a completely as luxury hotels can. 

To do this, we need to explore new and inventive options to deliver luxury services which allow guests to rewind and rejuvenate. Beyond “safe and clean”, the new luxury experiences for guests will need to be curated with creativity and care. This will include providing guests greater control of their hotel journey and focusing on a more holistic sense of luxury and wellbeing, from pre-arrival to checkin and beyond. We in the hospitality industry will need to reimagine places and spaces to ensure social distancing while striking the right balance of personalisation, luxe living and space. As the country and the world unlocks, and the demand and need to travel returns, luxury hotels must be prepared to respond and welcome back guests who have been waiting to be fêted by their chosen hospitality chain.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Sunjae Sharma

Sunjae Sharma, Vice President – India Operations, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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