American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

2018 to be year for digital detoxes, spirituality in luxury travel

December 14, 2017

SLH's Le Pavillon in Paris creates a custom reading list for visitors. Image credit: Small Luxury Hotels of the World


According to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, boutique hotels should be prepared to cater to individual needs in the year ahead as unique requests continue to rise.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), in part with Trendwatching, has comprised a series of trends in the independent hotel industry set to take hold in 2018, which includes an uprising of on-site literature as affluent travelers look to detox from digital devices. Next year consumers will expect more of a hands-on experience in which they can design their entire trip, catered to their individual needs.

“SLH has been the trailblazer for small hotels for many years,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, London. “Small hotels are by nature nimble and able to react quickly to maintain relevancy and provide the very best experience, and indeed set the trends without even realising it.”

Trending in travel
As unique experiences continue to dominate as a driver of travel decision-making, custom-tailored trips will become extremely prominent this year.

For instance, Hotel Magna Pars Suites in Milan celebrates its heritage as a former perfume factory by allowing guests to choose their room fragrance. Travelers to The View Lugano in Switzerland are able to select everything including the brand of toiletries, linens and even the color of the toilet paper.

Wellness in luxury travel will continue as a prevalent theme with hospitality brands working fitness and health into consumers’ stays. Spirituality is also becoming more intertwined with guests' stays and will be extremely important in 2018.

Guests will be looking for one-of-a-kind experiences that will allow them to focus on their mind. A variety of independent hotels are creating these moments in unique ways with exceptional settings such as on the water or a one-of-a-kind deep tissue massage.

The notion of a spiritual journey goes hand in hand with the idea of taking a vacation away from digital devices.

Now that consumers’ lives revolve around digital devices, affluent travelers are hoping to take a break from the screen, which is making literature more important for travel brands.

For instance, Paris’ Le Pavillon des Lettres provides a literary room service option, while Austria’s Kristiana Lech creates a bespoke reading list specific to each patron’s tastes.

Customization will even become common practice within dining experiences. SLH has noted that a variety of its independent hotels plan to implement services that allow guests to eat wherever, whatever and whenever they prefer.

Optimum sleeping conditions have always been important to affluent travelers and consumers, but hotel bands are learning to embrace this a little more. Luxury hotels are looking to customize guests’ conditions to get the best sleep possible.

137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For example, 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, Thailand has a Sleep by Design therapy and a Sleepdown service with a sleep curator. Other SML hotel brands are working on sheets and linens that prevent sweating and bacteria, such as DasPosthotel in Austria.

Additional insight
According to a report from Virtuoso, cold destinations are set to be the top choice for affluent travelers in the upcoming year.

Iceland, Alaska, Antarctica and the Artic are some of the top destinations travelers are looking to for trips in 2018. Consumers are searching for adventure in their travels, and the Northern Lights are significant part of that (see more).

For global travelers, mobile is also increasingly becoming the digital tool of choice for planning and browsing purposes.

Fifty-two percent of travel related browsing is on mobile, and that number is only slated to increase within 2018. This data comes from an infographic released by AppLift, which lays out the details on how mobile has swept over the travel industry in the past few years (see more).

“With this report we are celebrating SLH, our hotels and their forward-thinking leaders by formalising these developments for the first time,” SLH's Mr. Boyen said. “We are delighted to have been able to work with Trendwatching on this – their ability to unlock compelling innovations across the consumer world perfectly complements SLH’s independently minded philosophy.”