London – Visitors gathered yesterday at The Future Laboratory HQ for a keynote forum on the new and emerging trends set to have an impact on the global travel and hospitality market.
The half-day event was timed to coincide with the launch of the network’s annual Travel and Hospitality Futures report.
Delegates from Ace Hotel, British Airways, Eurostar International, Hotel Chocolat, The Dorchester Collection and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group were among the guests who gathered to hear, taste and see the future of the travel and hospitality sector. Curated Travel, the Power of Place, The New Sublimity, Luxury Pilgrims, and the return and rise of bargain boutique hotels were among the many trends on the agenda.
Speakers included The Future Laboratory co-founders Martin Raymond and Chris Sanderson, along with LS:N Global editor James Wallman, who looked at how the needs and behaviour of consumers from the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are changing the levels of service and the nature of luxury being provided by their growing presence in key EU and US hotels, clubs, restaurants and resorts.
Stephen Alden, CEO of The Maybourne Hotel Group, in conversation with Chris Sanderson, spoke about the importance of technology in crafting a seamless experience for guests. ‘A guest’s moment of departure is as important as his or her moment of arrival,’ he said.
April Hutchinson, editor of TTG Luxury, was in conversation with James Wallman. Together they spoke about how to give travellers a sense of their destination before booking flights or accommodation, by flying in reps and using social media updates.
As travel becomes more about exploring foreign cultures and new places, it has become less about ‘fly-and-flop’ holidays. To reflect this shift, food designer Andrew Stellitano presented a spice market installation that recreated the sounds and smells of an Arabian souq, and enabled guests to create their own blend of spices.
A touch of the sublime
As reported in our New Sublimity Tourism microtrend, people increasingly need to escape technology and seek quiet reflection. To emphasise the message, guests were invited into a Sublimity Chamber containing incense, a film of stills and a soundtrack by sonic artist Julian Brown.
‘I was inspired by the sound they say the earth makes, an almost inaudible low-frequency hum or vibration. It has a calming effect that is not immediately obvious,’ says Brown.
James Wallman summed up with what he called the Taxi Toolkit. ‘It’s what you’d say to someone if you were in a taxi on the way home and they asked what you remembered from the forum,’ he said. ‘If you remember one thing, remember this: give your guests currency that is hyper-local, social and experiential.’
For more insights, read LS:N Global’s Travel and Hospitality Futures report, available from The Future Laboratory’s online shop.