Alta Thoughts (December 2023)
By Rakesh Patel
As we move into 2024, there is a plethora of travel trend forecasts for next year. The high-end for Asia is covered by Tatler and Conde Nast editorials, who are touting less visited exotic destinations, such as Laos, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, whilst thematically they highlight art-related and sustainable travel.
Skyscanner trends are more data-driven and always insightful to follow, with their huge data bank of 80 billion price searches daily and 18,000 survey respondents. The priority for travellers in 2024 will be firstly, culture-led like “Gig Tripping” for Taylor Swift and Beyonce, and secondly, behaviour-led travel centred on immersion, mindfulness and human-to-nature connection.
Season’s greetings from the Alta team and all the best for 2024.
Namaste India! Indian tourists start to fill the travel gap left by the Chinese. With a population surpassing China, a younger and growing middle class, and consumption set to double by 2030, India can set the pace for international travel.
McKinsey forecasts India outbound trips to grow from 13m in 2022 to over 80m by 2040. Infrastructure and airlift capacity is being ramped up, with a mass roll-out of airport additions/upgrades (148 to 220 by 2025), and the Indian carriers boosting their fleet by 1,200 in 5 years.
What matters for the Indian tourists? Proximity, Connectivity, Affordability, Accessibility, Experience. Top destinations? UAE and SE Asia.
The “Fu er Dai” or the Chinese “rich second generation”, are redefining luxury and driving a change in spending patterns. With 42% of Chinese HNWIs under the age of 40, and 80% of luxury consumers under 45, this matters.
This generation of Chinese are products of globalisation, a digital age, and broad education and experience. For them, luxury is balancing accumulation of material possessions, with a more multi-dimensional aspiration, encompassing superior quality of life and personal well-being. Wealth is as much financial capital as it is “experiential capital”. This also means more emphasis on having a positive sustainability impact and the legacy for future generations.
This change in behaviour represents an opportunity for those brands and businesses that are willing and able to recognise change and respond accordingly.
New technology in hospitality is not just about enhancing guest experiences, it also addresses the on-going labour shortage in the industry. It is why technology upgrades is a priority of hotel operators in 2024, according to this recent JLL survey.
The challenge is about getting the right balance. Technology adoption can never replace the humanistic touch in hospitality, but it can support and help staff to perform their tasks more effectively. This requires a mindset change, alongside staff upskilling.
At the centre are the hotel guests, and helping them understand how to utilise technology to enhance not inhibit their experience, is part of the adoption process.