ATLANTA – JANUARY 23, 2017 – Who’s better to gauge ‘what’s next’ for 2017 in luxury hospitality than the experts of Forbes Travel Guide, the originator of the prestigious Star Rating system. The organization’s meticulous team of anonymous inspectors constantly travel the globe gathering firsthand knowledge of the latest innovations and service enhancements at the world’s finest properties. These observations are critical to the company’s exclusive set of 890 objective standards, the most stringent in the hospitality industry, as they are annually modified to reflect current market offerings and demands.
“Our star-rated properties continually push the boundaries of the guest experience and consistently exceed expectations of luxury service,” said Gerard J. Inzerillo, Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Travel Guide. “They set an unimpeachable standard of excellence in hospitality, so it is not surprising they are at the forefront of the industry and setting the trends that others are talking about and will ultimately follow.”
Here are five trends, all freshly culled from Forbes Travel Guide inspectors to keep an eye on for 2017 and beyond:
- More Villa Volume – While the growth of multi-generational travel is not news, it has spurred a growing demand for more villa-style accommodations at hotels. Expect to see additional villa options and larger accommodation choices in the coming year and beyond for both new developments and conversions at existing properties.
- Experiential Explosion – Guests not only seek experiential travel, they consistently want that experience to be taken to the next level. So, while the market can expect more luxury dude ranches, eco lodges, and tented camps, guests are also demanding a personally curated stay that is particularly unique to them and to the destination. Think private blessing by a shaman in Peru or foraging with the hotel chef followed by a cooking lesson in France.
- Raising The Bar – The artisanal touch no longer ends in the kitchen, with outstanding cocktail programs that rival the ingenuity and ingredients of their dining room counterparts. From utilizing house-grown herbs, flowers and bitters for a “farm to glass” twist, to the rising popularity of gin-centric bars and rare small-batch spirits, each cocktail is now a celebration. So too, has the lowly bar snack been elevated. Say goodbye to plain nuts, and hello to courses of complimentary offerings, such as charcuterie plates, house-made pates and cheese selections.
- Freshly Pressed – Pressed juices are having a moment at luxury hotels. In fact, in addition to guestrooms and restaurants, juicers are even being rolled out on event buffets for guests to create their own blends. Going beyond just the morning OJ or grapefruit, these fresh concoctions are featured at many Forbes-rated establishments. Cipriani’s welcome basket, for example includes two house-pressed juices, Four Seasons Ko’Olina offers a slew of juices, including passionfruit, and The St. Regis New York recently expanded its offerings significantly by giving fresh juice its very own menu.
- Group + Wellness – Socializing at spas continues to rise, encouraging more and more spas to provide gusts with the opportunity to gather in a group. Meeting planners seeking to feed the demand for offbeat experiences, book spas for their clients’ exclusive use and highlight indigenous treatments using local ingredients, marrying another trend that continues to expand. While spas are literally ‘out-growing’ themselves by adding more outdoor treatment spaces and interactive therapies, such as spiritual rituals or the chance to pick your own treatment ingredients from the spa’s garden.