Five Key Trends Shaping The Future Of The Hospitality Industry

The priority for most in 2022 will be to minimise a resurgence from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, building consumer confidence in key source markets.

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As economies around the world recover, travel demand is rebounding, and it continues to see tremendous growth. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted several industries, and hospitality was particularly affected. However, it showed immense resilience, and it continues to flourish with the effective roll-out of the vaccine for the disease. Countries are thus easing travel restrictions, resulting in increased demand for international tourism.   

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In the region, the impact of Expo 2020 Dubai has had a crescendo effect on all markets, mainly in the UAE with the influx of international travellers into the city. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is another market heavily investing in its tourism and hospitality efforts, with leading hotel groups putting an important focus on the market, in line with its Vision 2030. Qatar is going to see another boom, with the FIFA World Cup 2022 expected to result in extremely high demand for the region, including key transit hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  

According to a recent report by Colliers, the market forecast for the MENA region remains positive with most markets expected to improve on 2021’s performance. The priority for most in 2022 will be to minimise a resurgence from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, building consumer confidence in key source markets. With such a promising vision comes the responsibility of the hospitality industry to adapt to evolving consumer needs. The sector is ever-changing, and consumers today are making more conscious decisions, relying on companies to be flexible and transparent. Here are five key trends shaping the future of the hospitality industry: 

1. The mix of business and leisure travel As work and personal life blur in a post-pandemic world, the hospitality sector has seen an emerging trend of professionals extending their business travel for leisure. Professionals are today adding weekends or weeks to extended work trips, whether solo, with a partner, or as a family. Digital nomads are able to work from anywhere in the world, enabling hotels to offer a convenient setting for both a professional and leisure environment. The rise of remote or flexible work requires some factors that all hotel groups are carefully considering, such as spacious and quiet lounge spaces, high-speed wi-fi connectivity, and flexibility to re-schedule trips to accommodate work obligations. As travel demand soars, the newly coined term “bleisure travel” is expected to continue rising in popularity.   

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2. Extended stay gains momentum As flexible work becomes the new normal, requests for extended stays have been frequently seen across the region. For instance, at Radisson Hotel Group in Dubai, the average length of stay has increased to five nights with workcations becoming more popular. Hotel groups are thus tailoring packages for professionals that combine extended stay discounts and food & beverage offers to attract and retain consumers. 

3. Luxury travel makes a comeback As international and domestic travel begins to return to post-pandemic levels, leisure travellers are looking for luxury and resort properties to spend time with families or partners. Today, people are willing to pay more to stay at a nicer resort or hotel offering curated experiences and exceptional amenities. The luxury travel segment will see a further increase in demand in the coming year, as travelers were holding back on spending until they can travel safely again. Hotel groups are thus further investing in high-demand locations- in our case, we have theRadisson Collection, a collection of iconic properties inspired by the local lifestyle, united by bespoke design and curated experiences in key locations such as Bodrum and Riyadh.  

4. Hotel conversion continues to grow As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a stronger sense of community has been developed in the hospitality sector. For the past year, hotel conversions have been an important driver of growth across the globe, with leading hotel groups launching new brands to widen and diversify their offering. Radisson Hotel Group has, for example, launched a new brand, Radisson Individuals, to promote the distinctive character and personality of hotels, while maintaining the high service and quality standard of the group.  

5. The rise of sustainable travel The pandemic has accelerated the attention on sustainability and responsible business, as well as the need for the hospitality industry to work together. Sustainable travel has become the future, and leading corporations have been announcing their plans to offset their carbon footprint, in line with global governmental efforts and drive best practices on responsible consumption on a hotel group level. An embodiment of driving sustainable efforts is Radisson, with the hotel group committing to “net zero” by 2050 and decarbonizing its business by setting ambitious emission reduction targets.  

The future of the hospitality sector is looking extremely promising with the GCC becoming a leading hub for international and domestic travel. Governments, corporations, and key stakeholders are uniting to ensure the region continues its steady growth, attracting new markets, and shaping the future of the travel industry.  

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