How do you apply trends as entrepreneur in the hospitality industry?
First of all, when talking about trends you need to realize that many different concepts are being named trends these days. However, there is a big difference between trends, hypes and inspiration. For example, we call our website hospitalitytrends.eu but mostly offer inspiration based on red threads in international trends. Real trends take their time in the adoption curve. If you look at the adoption curve of for example sustainability, you’ll see that it has been coming up for 15 to 20 years already and now it is mainstream, thus this is a trend. Hypes however usually stick around with the innovators and early adopters.
The usual development of a trend is that it begins with a very small portion of the population. Logically entrepreneurs are drawn to new trends since they are always looking for new success. They are constantly scared to miss out and fail in their business endeavours, yet specifically as an entrepreneur it is important that you keep on living your own dream and take care that you do not jump on every trend or hype that comes along.
Stay on the lookout for “high-end bullshit” and keep Maslow’s pyramid in mind. Trendwatchers have been saying for quite some time that people are focusing more on experiences than possession for example, but obviously the daily reality for 80% of the consumers are their basic needs (like living, food and extra money for emergencies).
Trendwatchers; the pastors of the future
The fact that the profession of “trendwatching” has grown so exponentially is because entrepreneurs are faced with a society that keeps on changing faster and faster. All we can do now is wait for the first certified trendwatchers, the education systems have already started. Through technological developments and a large number of worldwide trends like social media, transparency, experience above possession and storytelling, everything is changing when it comes to reaching your customers. This was intensified over the last few years because of the economic crisis. Together this creates so many different impulses that it becomes very complex to respond. At the same time the entrepreneur is looking for certainty and that is where all these trendwatchers come in, they look at the trends, combine them and make sense out of them, creating a vision for them. Trendwatchers are being treated as pastors of the future. We look to them for clarity on how to reach our consumers.
It’s from the greatest importance to know your identity and image
As an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry or any industry, it is very important to know what your companies’ identity is. What guests do you want? What level of hospitality do you want to offer? It is essential for you to know whether your guests are experiencing what you want to convey. If you know this as an entrepreneur, trends are fun and you will happily look at trends, hypes and top 10-lists. You can just filter out the inspiration that you need to increase your profits or get in the picture with future guests even more clearly. If you are looking for a yardstick or rules to determine whether a trend or hype will work within your concept, it is extra important to know your identity and image. If you have a hotel in the middle of a nature park with a large percentage of 50+ guests and you wonder whether it will make sense to have RFID mechanisms that allow your guests to access their social media pages, you need to think again. However if you are serving this target group and you don’t offer free WiFi, small portions and/or seasonal and regional products on your menu, you have missed some simple “trends”.
Sell your own company via social media
As an entrepreneur you are almost obliged to keep yourself updated about trends. Everyone has been sleeping during the rise of booking sites. This is why we have all lost power in the sales channels. The social media developments where outside players are trying to sell your rooms are more normal than exceptional now. Try to keep this inside the company, “sell” your hotel yourself, via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms, there is plenty of easy software out there to help you manage these channels.
When starting or improving your hospitality company, it’s essential to know what the “trends” are within the perception of your future guests. Often when a concept turns out to be less successful than expected, everything is changed at once. This is not wise because your identity and image become completely unclear.
A few small examples
A worldwide trend that has been around for years now is “think global, act local”, a few “trends” are easily applicable within this theme. Think of a cheeseboard with local cheese. Few food miles, local, transparent (tell your guests about the source) and authentic.
Look at the trend of “feminization” and you will see that there is a larger need for meals with less calories, more smoothies and salads and more open and feminine decoration. But don’t go take your craft burgers off the menu! Most guests still experience eating out as a party where health is not their main priority.
Chefs are confronted with diets and allergies more and more and this will only get worse. Many of them vent their annoyances with this on twitter. Cooking glutenfree diets, considering people with lactose allergy and sometimes both at the same time is much more complicated. But this is what is happening and it’s getting only more essential to be able to respond to this at any given time. Specifically when realizing that the allergy declaration is becoming legally required in Holland at the end of the year 2014.
Hotels with 4 or 5 stars are required to focus more on “trends” and “hypes” because their guests are more receptive for trends and they tend to have the money to spend on it. These guests demand a personal service experience which you could call “specially made for you”. Easily applicable examples; “what shampoo would you like in your room?”. This is a dramatic difference to the standard approach in beauty products in hotel chains.
A hospitality entrepreneur regularly needs to take time to be inspired. If you do not have money for it, use the internet! Experiment with trend applications, check the daily posts on hospitalitytrends.eu and consume all the tasty articles we’ve selected for you. Have fun experimenting!
Marjolein van Spronsen, Van Spronsen & Partners horeca-advies