By Muriel Muirden, vice president and managing director of global strategy, WATG
We are barely into 2017 and already we’re starting to see a shift in the industry. Where do we go from here? Well, who better to guide us into the new year than a master in trend forecasting, Muriel Muirden, vice president and managing director of global strategy, WATG (and affiliated design studio Wimberly Interiors), shares with us 10 travel and design trends for 2017.
1. The Edible Resort
The hospitality sector is going to take the farm-to-table trend a step further toward sustainable living with the emergence of “the edible resort.” Pioneers in this include the Bellevue Hotel, Croatia, which transformed roof spaces into gardens and Kittitian Hills, St. Kitts with its edible golf course boasting organic crops and fresh fruit.
2. Taking a Trip
‘Bud and Breakfast’ tourism is most certainly on its way in the U.S. with research from Ackrill Capital projecting the marijuana industry will top $40 billion in the next few years. The $35 million Colorado Cannabis Ranch from creator Christian Hageseth is slated to include open-air greenhouses, a dispensary, a gift shop, an amphitheatre for musical performances, and a rooftop bar and restaurant.
3. Loneliness, a global epidemic
Millennials’ desire for kinship and community is now driving new forms of lodging, including summer camps for adults, which offer endless opportunities for young people to take a break from ‘adulting’ to socialize and share experiences.
4. The Road Less Traveled
The endless distraction of social media and the addictive nature of the smartphone has brought a strong movement toward digital detox. We predict the rise of wilderness resorts that will mesh outdoor pursuits with a holistic wellness theme in host destinations such as Patagonia, Iceland, and the Galapagos.
There is a growing movement urging us to declutter and simplify. For our industry, this means a less-is-more approach, including menu-free dining like with the Hoxton’s paper bag breakfast, which allows guests to leave a paper bag outside their door to be simply filled with a banana, yogurt, and granola.
6. App Innovations
Soon we’ll be able to sit on our hotel bed, tablet in hand, and check out the lines at the breakfast buffet, see how busy the pool and gym are, and decide if we like the look of the cocktail bar. We’ll also be able to control the ambiance of our rooms from sound to scents. In fact, Wynn Las Vegas recently announced that each guestroom will be equipped with Echo, Amazon’s hands-free voice-controlled speaker.
7. Suite Dreams
It is estimated that the industry for sleep apps and wearables will be worth $680 million in a few years; people are willing to pay for a good night’s sleep. The hotel industry will apply this science in creative bedroom design, incorporating sound and lighting technology and sensitive wake-up tools.
8. A Healthy Obsession
We’re starting to see brands integrate bespoke fitness in a unique way. For example, 1 Hotel Miami Beach has teamed up with SoulCycle to offer spin classes; Gansevoort Hotels has partnered with Exhale to offer barre and core fusion cardio; and Equinox is moving into the hotel arena with its first property opening in New York in 2018.
9. The Feel Good Factor
We’re seeing a growth in feel good hotels that highlight social and eco-consciousness above all else. Anantara Sri Lanka’s epitomizes this with its social involvement program, which employs mostly indigenous people, fills its rooms with locally sourced furnishings, and integrates indigenous culture and activities with its guests.
10. Down on the Farm
Nostalgia and a desire for the simple life is driving a trend for resorts anchored in eco-agriculture. The success of Soho Farmhouse amplifies this desire to explore nature with the family. Expect more luxury agricultural experiences, including at Disneyland Paris with its ambitious Villages Nature concept, which boasts organic farmland, waterways and the best in eco-technology.