Expenditures on travel are on the rise as consumers embark on what has been termed “revenge travel,” visiting family, heading to bucket-list locations and celebrating delayed milestones with dream trips. Although the industry is expected to remain strong for 2024, the current hint of uncertain economic conditions means vacationers may be more purposeful with their travel funds. That’s where hotels must prioritize service and amenities that will offer the excitement and experiences they crave.
Here are four 2024 travel trends that can help build demand and position your property as the preferred choice for discerning guests.
Trend 1: Consumers are embracing experiences over things.
Bespoke experiences are all the rage, with consumers happily shelling out for something that’s different. Because the bar is continually being raised, properties realize they need to delight guests instantly, with imaginative and niche touches, like hotel branding on the pool deck or a themed gift at check in. “Sometimes it’s the littlest touches that have the biggest impact when you can generate enthusiasm with something out of the ordinary,” says Amy Domingo, Strategic Account Manager for Hospitality and Conventions for the Western Region of FedEx Office.
Clients frequently request distinctive photo backdrops that lean into the desire to share activities on social media. “Consumers gravitate toward anything that will embellish their social media posts, so we help hotels brainstorm installations that align with their integrated marketing campaigns and also generate buzz,” she says.
For example, a beach resort with an appealing outdoor space could create lighted marquee letters guests can pose in, or a mountain lodge could offer a character board prop where guests can insert their faces atop skiers swooshing down the mountain.
Trend 2: “Luxury” is increasingly synonymous with great customer experience.
Luxury isn’t just about posh surroundings, finds a Morning Consult survey. In fact, 20% of respondents ascribe an unfavorable impression to that word. Instead, they are looking to “feel relaxed and comfortable and receive great customer service when they travel.”
Hotels can provide this type of experience with details on special amenities and experiences or fascinating local property and regional lore that can differentiate their destination. By tailoring welcome cards and information packets, they can create an ambiance of exclusivity where each guest feels individually valued.
Domingo suggests customizing the arrival with an amenity and personalized note welcoming them to the property. “Opulent packaging can make even the smallest treasure seem lavish,” she says.
Trend 3: Travelers are increasingly visiting during non-peak times.
Properties have traditionally focused their attention on activities for summer and holiday travelers. But now, as consumers continue to embrace flexible work, they’re traveling when it’s convenient for them. Today over two-thirds of employed U.S. adults enjoy flexible working hours, with 60% saying that allows them to travel on different days or times of the year than they did before. As corporate travel resumes, hotels have a new opportunity to create a memorable experience for companions, given that nearly a quarter of business travelers bring loved ones along.
If you’re extending dining hours or offering new seasonal activities—maybe a hayride and football-themed event during the normally slow fall shoulder season?—post information in elevators and common spaces to alert travelers. A special touch is printing daily sheets to leave in rooms with tips on local activities, including offbeat suggestions, local cuisine and other highlights that will encourage guests to explore and boost their sense of adventure.
Since we’re near or onsite at so many properties, we can easily work with them on appealing promotional products for specific events and activities that complement the leisure traveler experience,” Domingo says. “We even help them bring their theme offsite, such as with a branded vehicle shuttling guests to a concert or local event.”
Trend 4: Consumers prioritize well-being.
Who would have imagined that a “sleep vacation” would be a thing? It’s just one of the many self-care amenities and routines consumers are seeking, from healthy cuisine to varied exercise options, relaxing spa treatments—and yes, a curated sleep environment. “Many hotels are undertaking a refresh of their wellness spaces to really create an experience that feels indulgent to guests,” Domingo says, citing a recent spa update that included wood installations and other touches that harness the power of nature to provide a serene escape.
Hotels can also orchestrate a premium slate of wellness-focused resources and activities, presenting the information to guests at arrival and prominently posting signage and calendars throughout the property. “Today’s consumer is bombarded with messaging so our clients recognize that vivid colors and bold graphics are necessary to make a stellar impression,” Domingo says.
Printed materials align with another wellness trend as travelers aim for a digital detox— the American Express Travel Global Travel Trend Report found that three-quarters of respondents want to decrease screen time.
What little touches would make your property more inviting?
As hotels compete for vital leisure travel dollars, they know they need to stand out, and that’s where FedEx Office can come alongside. “Clients come to us with an idea and we delight in delivering solutions beyond what they had envisioned,” says Domingo.
Would your property benefit from fresh thinking as you aim to attract leisure travelers? Contact FedEx Office today for a consultation.