Trends are always changing, and it’s even become a trend to try to predict these changes.

The travel industry is very much at the mercy of traveller behaviour and the preferences of modern guests. In that respect, societal trends become travel trends. People come to expect their accommodation to provide the same luxuries and freedom of choice that they have at home.

Of course, travellers aren’t the only party driving change. Technology development and new business strategies make a huge difference too and property managers should always stay on top of the current trends in these areas and what might happen next.

In the next few years much might change within the industry but the core values of hospitality and customer service should always be maintained. The way your business responds to new and ongoing trends is vital if you want to continue driving reservations and revenue. Generic or impersonal brands will suffer moving forward, as travellers increasingly look for unique, authentic, and genuinely personal experiences.

This blog will explain a number of current and future trends your small property needs to be aware of.

Travel industry trends: How your small hotel can stay relevant

Clearly the most important trends are the ones which will impact whether or not a traveller chooses your property for their stay..

To stay relevant and ensure the regular flow of bookings, don’t ignore the following:

  • Increase in mobile bookings
  • Social media’s influence on decision-making
  • Growth in Asian and Asia Pacific travellers who come with a unique set of ideals and preferences
  • The necessity of multi-channel distribution
  • Driving force of technology requires businesses to be led by tech
  • Greater affordability for travel is bringing new markets into play
  • Demand for trips to be enriching and fulfilling
  • Travellers are now willing to spend more if it means they get a unique experience

Bed and breakfast industry trends that are here to stay

Trends often become the new normal, as they gain pace more people join in and the practice becomes accepted.

Some examples of trends that are common right now and are expected to remain so include:

Immersive culinary tourism
Travellers around the globe have fallen into the habit of displaying their eclectic and artful meals on Instagram, which has made it trendy to grab luxury dishes from the places that people are visiting.

Now, rather than opting for the most elaborate meal, travellers are searching for the most authentic options that allow them to experience the flavour and culture of the region. Take advantage of this trend by offering farm-to-table meals at your B&B featuring local ingredients and cultural recipes that highlight your destination.

Communal gathering spaces
Once upon a time, travellers sought respite from others at private hotels where they could relax and unwind. However, in an age where people have plugged into technology and disconnected from real conversation, more travellers are craving personal interaction with others while they are abroad. Community-focused hotels are all the rage in the hottest destinations.

You should strive to create a gathering space at your property where guests can mix and mingle in a comfortable setting.

Voice-assisted technology
Voice-assisted technology, such as Siri on the iPhone or Alexa on the Amazon Echo, is the latest technology trend that is taking over the travel industry. Travellers are becoming increasingly dependent on these convenient devices in their own homes and daily lives so it’s no surprise to see this extend to their holidays or work trips. You can help boost your guest satisfaction ratings by including a voice-assisted device in each guest room at your property. These systems can control functions such as the thermostat, controlling the TV and entertainment systems, raising the blinds and more.

Voice tech is also having an impact on the way travellers are researching and booking accommodation.

Wellness activities for active travellers
For several years, travellers have been going on wellness trips where they focus on restoring their minds, bodies and spirits. You may want to consider this trend when creating packages and add-on options for your B&B.

A morning yoga session may be nice, but chances are a lot of your guests may also want to go on a hiking excursion or guided kayaking tour as well.

Some examples of how wellness travel fits into the grand scheme of things:

  • Stop smoking retreats
  • Men’s health
  • Healthy mind and emotion healing holidays
  • Eat-well detox holidays
  • Zen and adrenaline
  • Family-wellness holidays
  • Workplace wellness
  • Eco-friendly wellness retreats

As wellness grows as a social movement overall, there are always new trends emerging to change the way people interact with their health and daily lives.

Solo travellers
The number of solo travellers is steadily on the rise, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. As people become more comfortable with embarking on a great adventure on their own, they are seeking places that will accommodate them and also provide them with unique opportunities. Your B&B should create events, offer common spaces and encourage communal eating to attract solo travellers.

Women, especially, are starting to travel more on their own to challenge themselves and embrace independence. Women are now also more likely to associate wellness more closely with climbing Machu Picchu than a traditional and chilled spa weekend. This is backed up by the fact the average adventure traveller is a 48-year-old woman.

Not every trend is going to take hold and revolutionise the way that you do business at your B&B, but you can expect that these B&B trends will be worth the investment.

Future bed and breakfast trends

Knowing what’s going to happen next is an ability we all desire; nothing could better prepare us for success.

Most long-term trends are those that build steadily over time. Personalisation and data are two important factors to focus on in the future, as well as a society that is becoming more environmentally conscious.

Here’s a full list of future trends you should be able to rely on:

  • Smart rooms – Travellers are willing to pay a lot for convenience.
  • Green hotels – Such is the environmental awareness it now affects traveller choices.
  • Multicultural employment – Hotels are now truly international.
  • High density of technology – Every stage of the journey can now be ruled by tech.
  • Experiences over materials – Travellers want passionate and meaningful experiences rather than material objects.
  • Cool and luxurious brands – Instagrammable properties are becoming more and more popular

The reason so many properties are striving to be ‘different’ is because globalisation continues unabated. There are changing demographics as some rising nations get more money to travel, and the gap between the upper and middle class keeps widening. Wealthy travellers crave even more novelty, creativity, and over-the-top experiences for their money.

Technology trends for the B&B industry

Technology is an area of the industry that is showing the greatest and most accelerated development, both in terms of what properties use and what guests use before, during, and after their stay.

Digital media and the unending march of technology means the way you present your hotel business and get people interested will be different to the past.

More and more millennials are also travelling nowadays. It’s expected they’ll make up 50% of global travellers this year.

This market is extremely tech-savvy and they’re teaching other generations too. The result is that most travellers will be all for any technology that makes their life easier, meaning your hotel must respond.

The most important tech trends:

  • Voice technology
  • Drone technology
  • Flexible check-in and check-out
  • New ways to pay
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Distribution tech
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Video marketing

Common motel industry trends

The travel industry is huge and there are always going to be too many trends flying around to keep track of. Ultimately you have to find your niche and own it, giving guests the best experience possible.

However, trends have been around for a while and won’t change for a while either. Here are a few that you will already be familiar with but shouldn’t be forgetting:

  • Millennial travellers

Millennials love to live in the moment, meaning they can be impulsive and adventurous but also demanding. They are the personalities who want experiences over material possessions. This has an impact on the tourism industry, since it has to try to please one of its biggest markets.

  • Exclusive experiences

Privacy, intimacy, and a sense of escape is what travellers are gravitating towards more and more. They want to get away from the buzz to find experiences that feel unique to them. You don’t have to be a remote hotel to attract these guests however. You can create separate spaces, or offer additional services etc. This is balanced with offering a local experience that guests won’t be able to find at home.

  • Bleisure trips

‘Bleisure’ is the name given to trips which comprise both business and leisure activities.
It’s a behaviour that has become commonplace.

Millennials, again, abound in this respect. Millennials that travel for work are opting to stay a little longer either side of the trip to experience the cities at their leisure. In fact, many millennials are opting for careers where travel is more likely.

Bleisure travellers in general are going to look for spontaneous services, speed, and convenience to make the most of their time.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).