9 Hotel & Travel Trends That Will Define 2023
May 25, 2022
The days of bland, boring, paint-by-the-number hotel chains are coming to an end — no matter how tightly industry veterans cling to them. The change of guard has begun.
Eventually, they will be replaced by hotels that are not only aesthetically pleasing, unique, and authentic, but that also consider the next generation of guests.
Hotel owners will no longer find success in checking off the boxes of an average, unremarkable lodging experience; “contemporary” art, gray paint everywhere, lobby restaurant/bar, trendy furniture, “wellness” room, hipster music playlist, and one local beer on tap.
Instead, truly unique, thoughtful, custom-made experiences will become the norm.
As we look at the design trends in hospitality for 2023, we’re seeing a shift away from traditional luxury hotels to more accessible, sustainable, and affordable options. The guest experience will be more personalized than ever before. We’ll see thoughtful design beat out “luxury” design more and more.
Here’s everything that we’re seeing shape the future of hotel design for 2023 and beyond.
Hotels are also adopting an “adaptive” approach to programming, which involves offering different types of experiences depending on where you are within the property or how much time you have available for your visit. In a previous episode of Future Hospitality Podcast, Rob Blood from Lark Hotels called this “Unprescribed Hospitality”.
As we become more mobile and independent, we want hotel programs that allow us to do more on our own terms — from booking our own rooms to selecting our own activities. This trend will continue in 2023 with hotels offering more programs or activities that can be tailored towards different age groups and interests (think: cooking classes for families). The goal is to make each guest feel like they are getting exactly what they need without having to ask for it.
Pride in Local Community
In the coming years, hotel design trends will focus on creating experiences that are not just memorable but also local. Hotels will become more local and transform their surrounding into an experience. This means that hotels will create a sense of place by leveraging the local culture and community to create a distinct identity.
The new generation of travelers is looking for authentic experiences and social engagement.
The new generation of travelers is looking for authentic experiences and social engagement, which means they want to spend time in places that are connected to their interests and passions. For example, a traveler may want to visit a destination because they have family there or because they have a connection with the city through their hobbies or interests. They also want authentic experiences like interacting with locals, eating locally sourced food, and drinking locally brewed beer. They want to add meaning to their travel experience by connecting with people who live in these cities and doing things that make them feel like locals themselves.
Nature Becomes a Luxury
A new trend in hotel design has emerged: hotels designed with an outdoor focus. The outdoor hotel trend is gaining momentum as hotels are being designed around outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, and more. Brands are leaning in heavily toward this; Under Canvas, Basecamp, and LOGE, to name just a few.
The trend started with boutique hotels focused on the outdoors and adventure travel but has now expanded to larger brands that want to appeal to a broader range of travelers looking for unique experiences.
In addition to offering guests access to nature through trails and other activities, hotels are adding green spaces such as gardens and rooftop terraces to their properties.
The convergence of indoor and outdoor amenities will continue to be a trend in hotel design, as travelers seek immersive experiences that immerse them in nature.
Social Spaces and Sense of Belonging
The hotel industry is changing. And it’s not just because you can now book a room from your phone or find one on Airbnb. The way we travel is changing too.
Hotels are starting to get the message that guests want more than just a room—they want an experience. That’s why many hotels are starting to design their spaces with this in mind.
Hotels will continue to ditch the traditional check-in lobbies for more communal, social spaces—and even outdoor ones.
Creating a sense of belonging and community has always been one of hospitality’s biggest challenges, but it’s now become one of its biggest opportunities too. Hotels are turning checkout lines into waiting areas where guests can relax while they wait, or they’re creating areas where people can gather together before heading out for dinner or drinks.
Kid-Friendly and Multi-Generational Travel
The future of hospitality is all about the family. More than ever before, we’re seeing more and more families traveling together — whether they’re going on a vacation or business trip — and this trend is only going to continue to grow.
Accommodations should be designed for multi-generational and mixed-ages travelers
Accommodations should be designed for multi-generational and mixed-ages travelers. Bunk rooms, loft beds, and flexible furnishings allow families to stay together while traveling.
Kid-friendly restaurants with age-appropriate menu items (mocktails!) and activities are available onsite at many lifestyle hotels allowing parents to enjoy their meal without the kids underfoot (or vice versa).
Don’t forget the pets! Families are more likely to travel with their furry friends in tow than ever before. Look for pet services such as grooming, walking, and daycare offerings as well as designated pet rooms complete with food bowls, dog beds, and even pet menus!
Helping Guests Unplug
In a world where technology has become so ingrained in our daily lives, it’s no wonder that hotels are looking to provide guests with a way to unplug from their devices.
In fact, many hotels are making it easier for guests to unplug from their devices by providing them with something else fun or distracting to do.
This includes offering quiet rooms with hammocks and cabanas for guests who want to get away from the noise and distractions of their day-to-day. Other hotels are adding extra quiet zones on property, such as libraries, meditation rooms, co-working spaces, and even nap pods where visitors can take a quick break from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Demise of Continental Breakfast
Hotel culinary trends are changing and evolving quickly. The final blow to the continental breakfast was dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not looking pretty, which is probably a good thing. But when it comes to food and beverage, hotels still must compete.
Hotels are on the hunt for unique offerings that aren’t easily replicated by anyone else.
In order to compete with Airbnb and other alternative lodging options, hotels are on the hunt for unique offerings that aren’t easily replicated by anyone else.
More people are aware of the health benefits of eating locally and sustainably, and people rely on food as a way to connect with others. Hoteliers are responding by offering microbrews, local wines, craft beers, sustainable products, and plenty of options for all types of travelers.
Because many people are expecting menu options that cater to their dietary needs, hotels are also introducing menu options for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and the like.
Big Steps Towards Sustainability
As the world grows more conscious about the environment, hotels will take a big step toward being 100% sustainable. The hotel industry has been slow to embrace sustainability, but we’re seeing a shift toward eco-friendly design.
A focus on individualism coupled with heightened environmental awareness inspires a return to more local, homegrown amenities. Hotels are beginning to incorporate local products into their guestrooms and restaurants. Guests value authenticity — they want to know that their accommodations are made with local materials and not just mass-produced goods from China or India.
Hotels will also be paying more attention to their energy consumption. In the past few years, the industry has made great strides toward reducing its carbon footprint through initiatives like LED lighting, LEED certifications, and solar panels.
Hoteliers have been forced to adapt to new technologies and a rapidly changing consumer mindset. The hospitality sector has been forced to adapt to a changing world and emerging markets, which has created a new generation of travelers with different expectations.
This has led many hotels to adopt technology that makes the guest experience more seamless and convenient. These technological advances will continue to shape the future of lifestyle hotels around the world.
People want to be able to access information quickly and easily, so it’s important for hotels to provide them with digital convenience as well as physical convenience. Hotels need to focus on providing guests with technology that allows them to enjoy their stay without having any hassle or stress.
These digital expectations are changing the way hotels are designed, operated, and marketed.
Travelers in 2023 stand to expect a lot from their hotels. Hotels will have to work hard to stay relevant and appealing while meeting the needs of guests out of step with a more traditional hotel experience.
The future of hotel design will become more personalized, adaptive, and thoughtful. It will be a dynamic environment that reacts to guests’ personalities and needs while building relationships with the community to give guests a greater sense of belonging in the area they’re visiting.
Brands that put focus on these areas now will be best poised to thrive when it becomes industry standard.
Partner at Longitude°
Jeremy is the author of Future Hospitality and Brand Strategist at Longitude°. As a member of the Education Committee for The Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) and a content contributor to Cornell University’s Hospitality Vision and Concept Design graduate program, he is a committed thought leader in hotel branding, concepting, and experience strategy.