Looking Back:
Travel and Hospitality in 2017

22.12.2017 Travel : Hospitality : Luxury

Dystopian airlines, neuroscience hotels and technology-enabled luxury highlighted changing attitudes around travel and hospitality this year.

The Trend: Well Hotels

Sleep with Six Senses programme Sleep with Six Senses programme
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts Vitality Room suite Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts Vitality Room suite
Brain Power Package at Corinthia Hotel, London Brain Power Package at Corinthia Hotel, London

As consumers invested in the role of wellness and wellbeing in their day-to-day lives, 2017 became the year that wellness hospitality transformed the travel market.

In London, Corinthia Hotel went beyond the typical spa and gym offering with its year-long residency with neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart. Its Brain Power Residential Package included a Brain Power menu that comprised food that boosts cognitive function, while one-to-one sessions trained guests how to improve their brain health.

Hotels also worked to offer more personalisation in their rooms to help guests achieve optimal wellbeing. In collaboration with Wallpaper* magazine, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts launched its Vitality Room, which features a wellbeing wall that offers guests personalised workouts, a high-performance air-purification system and programmable lighting to help overcome jet lag. The hotel room is designed to aid guests in maintaining their physical and mental health while away from home.

The Big Idea: Reviving First Class

The Private Suite by Gavin de Becker and Associates, Los Angeles The Private Suite by Gavin de Becker and Associates, Los Angeles

With more luxury consumers, who traditionally travel first class, opting for lower-cost options or travelling by private jet, 2017 was the year for airlines to respond by re-inventing their luxury offerings to attract top-tier travellers.

While airlines including Lufthansa, Etihad Airways and United Airlines reduced or removed first-class seats from their flights, some carriers added services that went beyond a lay-flat seat and glass of champagne. At Los Angeles International Airport’s VIP terminal, opened in May, guests arrive via a private route, are driven to their plane in a BMW and have access to one of 13 suites with private bathrooms, food and entertainment facilities.

Airlines also differentiated themselves through dining. From July, Air France’s first-class passengers could enjoy cocktails designed by Ritz Paris head bartender Colin Field, and Singapore Airlines created a new range of elaborate crystal wine glasses in collaboration with Lalique for first-class customers.

The Space: Public

Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York
Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York
Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York
Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York Public Hotel by Ian Schrager, New York

Opened in June 2017 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, hotelier Ian Schrager’s latest venture, Public, offers a luxury experience at a low price.

Public hints at hospitality’s future, which eliminates outdated features, such as a check-in desk and bellboys, and prioritises lower price points. The primary idea behind the hotel is luxury for all, facilitated by the democratising power of technology.

With a focus on value for money – prices start at £149 ($200, €169) – the 370-room hotel has just 50 members of staff, all of whom are trained as concierges, eliminating the need for front-of-house staff, bellboys and doormen. Food options include a grocery store, café and market called Louis and a restaurant called Public Kitchen, both of which are supervised by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, while guests check in using reception-area iPads and access their room with a mobile key.

The Campaign: S7 Airlines

I Am You by S7 Airlines, Russia

While airline campaigns tend to portray idealistic, sun-drenched versions of travel, Russian air carrier S7 produced an end-of-year campaign, I Am You, which depicts a more dystopian future scenario.

The airline’s television advertisement depicted a world in which people experience digital phenomena such as GIFs, photo filters and effects, shares and likes as visual manifestations in the real world. Exploiting our fascination with our phones, the airline encouraged a digital detox, using travel to immerse people in unique physical experiences.

The youth-driven, energetic nature of the campaign highlights a new visual language around airline advertising, which is gradually moving away from geographic cues and towards a neutral, multicultural brand identity.

The Interview: Tom Marchant on the future of luxury travel

Westworld Set Jetting by Black Tomato Westworld Set Jetting by Black Tomato
Blink by Black Tomato, Bolivia. Photography by Stephane Gautronneau Blink by Black Tomato, Bolivia. Photography by Stephane Gautronneau
Twin Peaks Set Jetting by Black Tomato Twin Peaks Set Jetting by Black Tomato

In November, we discussed the future of the so-called tourist trail with Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant. In this interview, Marchant shared his thoughts on the over-tourism epidemic affecting the world’s most desirable locations.

‘I think over-tourism is more of a problem in the remote places that have limited infrastructure, but are suddenly incredibly popular,’ said Marchant. ‘The biggest case for this is Iceland. It’s difficult for the government and the locals because tourism brings in a huge amount of revenue but puts pressure on these incredible sights.’

When asked about the future of the luxury travel agent, Marchant explained how his brand is giving wellness tourism serious consideration. ‘We have to start by defining what wellness means in travel as it’s a very overused hot phrase, and everyone has a different interpretation of what wellness means. We have clients who go away on wellness-driven trips, but what can we do in that space to give a truly meaningful experience?

Download the Future Forecast PDF

Now that you know the current landscape of travel and hospitality, find out what is on the horizon in the next year. Download our Future Forecast 2018 report here.