The last two years have been a major rollercoaster ride for the hotel and hospitality industry due to the covid pandemic, various travel restrictions and the response of our local communities. So, what can we look forward to in 2022? We’ve asked several industry insiders to comment and help us put together our top 6 trends that we can all look forward to this year.
1. Domestic Travel Boom
The fallout of the recent pandemic will continue to prevent outbound and inbound international travel for most of 2022. Even though there is an industry and government attempt to open up the country and enable travel, the covid testing requirements, complicated travel processes and the chances of sudden changes in government policies and pandemic flare-ups, keep travellers cautious.
Staycations have become popular and the ever-changing border restrictions have led to a lack of confidence in forward planning, with many people choosing to travel within their own state and at the last minute. This gives regional operators the opportunity to showcase their properties and their regions like never before.
Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, recently said, “We know there is massive pent-up demand from Australians who want to travel interstate, so we expect 2022 to be a bumper year for domestic tourism. Australians can put snap lockdowns and border closures in the rear-view mirror and look forward to the new year.”
Image Credit: The Surf Hotel Yamba, Guest Room
2. Regional Property Upgrades
For the past two years, the downturn in trade caused by the pandemic has enabled accommodation providers to attend to the refurbishment of their properties and make improvements based on the new norm. This ‘pause’ has been a blessing in disguise for many properties with many regional refurbishments taking place including The Surf Hotel Yamba, The Quarters at Forresters Beach, Portarlington Grand Hotel and the Hotel Queanbeyan plus new openings of gorgeous boutique properties like the Wander Pods on the Scenic Rim, Osborn House in Bundanoon, Metung Hot Springs in East Gippsland, The Alba Thermal Springs in Mornington Peninsula, The Isla in Batehaven and The House on Lizard Island to name a few.
The local travel market demographics have also undergone a change to include millennials and baby boomers – the two age groups that were more likely to travel internationally pre-pandemic. This has an immediate effect on guest expectations with a surge in demand for premium guest room experiences, spaces that can more easily accommodate remote working and luxury amenities and in-room touch-points.
An increasingly eco-conscious community of travellers is demanding more sustainable business practices in the accommodation sector. As a result, we are seeing low-impact hotel concepts pop up everywhere as well as an increasing demand for environmental product solutions; ranging from blankets made of recycled materials, energy-efficient appliances, bathroom amenity dispensers (no more single-use plastic) and certified organic linen to name just a few.
Sustainability is a trend that is rapidly becoming the norm and consumers want to know that the businesses they engage with are behaving ethically. This represents an opportunity to market environmental and sustainable credentials to the eco-conscious consumer.
Leif, Australian Made Luxury Hotel Amenities
4. Australian Made
Never has the time been better than now, to bring back some good ol’ Aussie Made product. Long-neglected artisan craft is celebrating a comeback and Australian brands are regaining momentum. Keeping capital and jobs in the country is vital for our recovering economy and travellers are supporting the movement.
A recent Roy Morgan research study found that 93% of Aussies prefer to buy products made in Australia, with 38% wanting to reduce Australia’s reliance on other countries and 26% wanting to create jobs. “Australia’s over-reliance on imported products has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Australian Made chief executive, Ben Lazzaro. “This research indicates that Australians are placing priority on manufacturing self-sufficiency and job creation along with a renewed appetite to address the imbalance between locally made and imported products, to ensure Australia’s long-term prosperity." The hospitality industry is seeing a big demand for Aussie brands with many operators insisting products are manufactured here, whilst others seek ranges that are at least “Australian inspired” – for example, a product may contain Australian elements such as essential oils but be packaged overseas.
In an increasingly connected community, driven by social media and review platforms, hoteliers are seeking products and services that offer more than just a mere function. Brand storytelling has become a critical component to any hospitality industry marketing plan. It’s important to be able to create an emotional connection to your brand through experiences, settings and products that create Instagram-worthy moments or have the ability to attract cult status. This kind of storytelling will not only help build the guest experience, but also the hotel’s reputation as an on-trend destination.
At Swisstrade, we are seen increasing requests for economical pump dispensers from smaller Airbnb providers who want a step up from mass-market or chemist brands and are looking to be more sustainable. Our partners in the toiletries space, such as Leif and Olive Oil Skincare Co. and retail brands that are hot on Instagram – Bemboka, Dyson and GHD are in high demand in boutique properties and with larger operators in the lifestyle segment who are focused on providing a unique experience and want to offer the latest products to their guests. These brands assist in creating storytelling opportunities – those that are initiated by the guests through their Insta and Snapchat feeds as well as the hotels in their marketing efforts.
Image Credit: The Little National Hotel
Smart Care Hydro Basics Range
6. Health & Safety – the new ‘must have’ amenityAs the new Omicron variant of Covid presents our industry with yet another challenge in the year ahead, it is evident that dealing with – and adhering to a heightened expectation of health and safety precautions are now a ‘must have’ amenity in a hotel environment. One thing we do know for certain is the readiness of Australians to travel again and the desire of Government to keep borders open – as long as this can happen in a non-infectious environment.
One very popular choice of preventing contamination in a guest bathroom is a factory-sealed amenity dispenser, such as the market-leading Press + Wash System or the all-new Smart Care Dispenser. Unlike refillable pumps, these highly engineered, yet simple-to-use solutions offer 100% product safety, operational efficiencies (very low labour intensity) and in most cases even a cost reduction in comparison to single-use amenities. What is more, both systems are available in an array of splendid fragrances and formulations, including certified organic and/or all-plant-based ingredients, which offer a memorable guest experience and leave your bathrooms smelling aromatic and clean.
Like most important decisions concerning your hotel operation, amenities are best trialled before you make your selection. Interested operators are invited to contact Swisstrade to arrange for a free in-room product trial, to help gather guest feedback before making the switch to a safer and more environmental amenity dispensing system.
Swisstrade can help you create memorable customer experiences with quality, sustainable and Australian-Made products to support your refurbishment efforts, boost your brand storytelling and manage your health and safety issues so that you can take full advantage of this exceptional domestic travel resurgence.