Trends and developments
The Business of Fun tracks the most important trends and development in tourism and leisure. We are specialized in the Dutch market, but also follow international trends. In this market we mainly focus on the European perspective but also look to the North-American and Asian markets.We think the Dutch market in very innovative also counts as a miniature version of the international markets. But we always take the intercultural aspects in mind.
The main trends we currently see are:
Impact of Corona
The Corona pandamic has a large influence on the current behaviors of guests in the tourism and leisure industry. The government is a big stakeholder in this. The define if companies and countries or destinations are allowed to slowly open up. Health safety is for all parties involved priority number one. Customers are now mainly focused on their own local, regional or national markets.
There is the desire for tourists or travellers to enjoy local experiences. Many people do not simply want to experience a life similar to their own, but in a different location. Instead, they want to experience the authentic way of life in the location they visit.
Businesses in the hospitality industry are responding to this, in order to cater for these demands. Hotels might provide local products, while other options like Airbnb and farmhouse accommodation can offer a more authentic guest experience. Moreover, travel agents and tour operators can help travellers to take part in local activities.
Across almost all industries, the need for personalisation is a major trend, and the hospitality industry is no different. This is primarily driven by the rise of big data. Meanwhile, a growing number of hotel guests want to be treated as individuals, rather than just another anonymous customer.
Personalisation can be deployed in a variety of ways. Within hotels, for instance, returning customers can be automatically provided with similar services to last time they stayed, while they can also be personally greeted by a member of staff upon arrival, using GPS technology and booking data. Furthermore, with the rise of smart devices, hotel guests can also be enabled to use their own devices and accounts on entertainment platforms.
Importance of technology
Digitalization is very important in this age. We see a fast development of technology. Big topics are online booking, digital marketing, the use of social media, apps and of course VR and AR.
Over the past few years, virtual reality headsets have become mainstream consumer products, bringing virtual reality technology into the mainstream. This is one of the most potentially game-changing hospitality trends, because VR technology has the capacity to digitally alter a person’s entire surroundings.
This can be applied in a number of interesting ways by those in the hospitality industry. Hotels might use VR technology as part of their booking processes, allowing users to experience a highly realistic digital version of their hotel rooms before booking. In leisure we see the trend of VR-gaming parks and bars. Also VR in used in theme parks on rides to enhance the experience.
Augmented reality apps can be designed so that users can point their phone at a restaurant and see reviews, or opening times. Hotels and other accommodation types can also use augmented reality to provide interactive tourist information maps within their properties, or to create fun opportunities to create user generated content
Products in the Business of Fun are more and more blended in each other. A good example are theme park resorts that combine a mix of attractions with F&B, entertainment accommodations, a waterpark, theater or golf course and accommodation. But we also see blurring in retail, bringing in more experience, try and buy options and F&B.
Creative and distinctive products
To be different is more and more of importance. We see all kinds of unique accommodations in Glamping (glamourous camping) and Bamping (Back to Basic Camping). We can sleep in treehouses, hotels and bungalows near animals (in several zoo’s) or at unique locations such as a crane or in a plane.
Just an experience is not enough anymore. Consumers are nowadays looking for meaning. This can be by offering sustainable products or adding extra value to a product. Learning, gaining knowledge or making new connections are part of the experience.
On corporate level in the Business of Fun we see trends like: