Five Key Trends To Look Out For In The Hospitality Industry In 2023 As the pent-up demand for travel unfolds further this year, there is going to be immense pressure on the hospitality industry to maintain and increase loyal customers.

By Murtaza Hashwani

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While sustainability will be on top of the agenda in the hospitality industry globally (and it can no longer be ignored) in 2023, there are other emerging trends that travelers will encounter during the course of the year. On the other hand, technology and personalization will dominate boardroom discussions with the stakeholders, and one can expect it to trickle down to everyone involved at every level.

Over the last three years, the travel and tourism sector had the time to rethink and adapt to new ways to maintain a competitive edge, while also offering an unforgettable experience to the customers. As the pent-up demand for travel unfolds further this year, there is going to be immense pressure on the hospitality industry to maintain and increase loyal customers.

Here are five trends to keep an eye on over the next 12 months- and why it's important for you to stay on top of these latest developments:

1. A boom in culinary tourism Food has always played an essential role in hospitality, but in 2023, this is going to take on a life of its own. By 2032, culinary tourism is expected to surpass US$4,530.9 billion according to Future Market Insights, at a compounded annual growth rate of around 16.6% per year. After all, consumers are seeking experiential travel more so than ever, and specially the millennials and Gen Z travelers. Moreover, new trends are emerging when it comes to the food space. It isn't all about catering to gourmet loving foodies either– modern travelers are reconsidering the impact of their consumption, and vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians will gain immense traction in tourism. From gluten-free options to vegan staples and organic produce, hotel kitchens need to be prepared to cater for such personalized requests from their guests.

2. An increase in bleisure travel Bleisure travel -i.e. business mixed with leisure– was a trend that started prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classified as a trip that employees extended for a few extra days of post-business engagements, it proved to be a much more cost-effective way of booking a break. While the pandemic curtailed a lot of business travels, it now seems to be reviving, and 2023 will be the year where pleasure travel will be on the rise again. This trend has seen a boom in pre-2020, with travel sites reporting a hike in these kinds of bookings, and it quickly became standard practice just before the pandemic. Hotels can now capitalize on it by adapting their offerings to meet the needs and wants of this unique segment. Because, let's face it, not every business concern can be solved over Zoom.

3. The continued prevalence of short-term booking windows According to the latest Pulse Report data from hotel software company Duetto, the short-term booking window remains strong, and it will continue to challenge hotel teams in 2023, both operationally and from a revenue perspective. Across all global markets, bookings drop off more than three months from stay date, with the eight- to 12-week booking window remaining prevalent. But this can be a good thing. "Increasingly, a short-term booking window represents an opportunity to connect with a more mobile, more astute, and engaged traveler, switching seamlessly between business and leisure profiles," noted Chris Crowley, Chief Revenue Officer at Duetto.

4. More budget-conscious travel With the somewhat grim economic forecast for 2023 in most of the world, travelers are decreasingly seeking lavish displays of wealth, and instead prefer to spend wisely- but without compromising on quality. That's why the budget-friendly travel segment looks set to increase. Limited and select service properties should keep a close eye on rates, so they can capture a greater market share. One product that will help the consumer do just that is the Roomph app, which I have personally been involved with. I'm looking forward to it taking off across Pakistan in 2023, so we can look at expanding in the wider regions in Asia first.

5. The ongoing demand for digitized services Lastly, but crucially, the trend toward digital and contactless services will gain new momentum in 2023. Hotels can gain themselves great online customer ratings by making sure check-in mobile keys and contactless payment processors are monitored and maintained to minimize complaints. Digital payments have been a big focus of mine over the last few years, and Foree, a digital payment app launched in Pakistan, is set to take the market by storm. Smart technology is set to be the theme throughout this sector in 2023. I believe we will see more advancements in this area with artificial intelligence and automation to increase efficiencies in the hospitality industry overall.

Related: 11 Innovation Strategies That Can Effectively Increase Your Businesses' Growth

Murtaza Hashwani

Deputy Chairman, Hashoo Group

Murtaza Hashwani grew up in a family that believed in helping others and making a difference in the world. Through Hashoo Foundation, the family are actively involved empowering communities by facilitating opportunities to become independent and creating a greater social impact. As the Chairman of Hashoo Foundation, philanthropy is part of Murtaza’s DNA.

Over the past few decades, his ambitious plans for greater outreach and meaningful impact with access to education, health and sustainable livelihood have resulted in millions of men and women directly benefitting in rural and urban settings in Pakistan. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Murtaza graduated from Santa Monica in Business Management and after a eight year stint of flexing his entrepreneurial ideas successfully, he joined the family’s hospitality business. Hands on business experience under the supervision of his father, the legendary Sadruddin Hashwani, ensured that Murtaza delved deeply in every aspect of the hospitality and hotel business.

This didn’t stop him from honing his academic skills further.

Hotel management courses from Cornell to business management from London Business School to a Management Programme from Harvard Business School, Murtaza seamlessly combined experience with business theory. He applied the learnings to efficiently launch multiple successful business ventures including the first hospitality school in Pakistan, Hashoo School of Hospitality Management, which is affiliated with Sheffield Business School, UK. Whether it’s the recently launched digital payment portal Foree, or the revolutionary product that has transformed water problems in Pakistan and soon all third world countries called EveryWater, or even a hospitality tech services company based in the UAE, Ascendant, the secret behind Murtaza’s success is his foresight. By developing these disruptive technologies it’s through his vision and focus that he has become one of the foremost business leaders from Pakistan with global reach.

While others see limitations Murtaza Hashwani sees opportunity and possibility. Murtaza considers himself a facilitator of success. By embedding the foundation into his business, he wants to give people around him the support they need to excel. Whether it is a student vying for scholarship through Hashoo Foundation or an employee pursuing his passion or creativity. Applying his business acumen and experience, all he does is give them a platform for innovation while guiding and polishing it for end users and links it to create a bigger social impact.

There’s no typical day in the life of Murtaza Hashwani as he juggles between the expansion plans for Hashoo Hotels, Hashoo Foundation and a series of tech launches. An entrepreneur, philanthropist and a visionary, Murtaza’s ultimate aim is facilitate positive and impactful change in the lives of individuals and communities at large.

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