2023 Report: 10 trends in boutique hotels

In 2023, the hospitality industry continues to develop positively, and some patterns that began with the pandemic have become trends that have transcended into the present. Travellers have shifted their priorities, placing more value on practices that help them connect with themselves, and experiences that bring them closer to nature. For Odentio it is crucial to understand the latest global trends in hospitality to make the best decisions in every area of our boutique hotels. In this report we share the ten trends that will set the pace for boutique hotels in 2023. 

1- Local experiences   

Travellers are increasingly looking to immerse themselves in the culture of the destination, such as interacting with locals, sampling local dishes, and touring the destination in a more personalised way. The quest for the unique experience is becoming stronger after the last few years of severe restrictions in major cities around the world.  

How to apply it to boutique hotels?  

Local experiences within the hotel 

Bring the guest closer to an authentic local experience by implementing gastronomic events with signature cuisine, as Casona Sforza has done with special dinners to taste a select variety of Oaxacan Moles by their in-house chef.  

Another way is to implement guides to visit the city, showing the distances from the hotel to any point of interest for the traveller, as Majagua Hotel Boutique has done with the Majagua Route, which at the same time highlights its privileged location in the historic centre of Oaxaca.

Local partners 

"It is important to build a strong foundation in the local community in order to provide different local options for guests. This can be implemented by collaborating with local tour providers, means of transport, local musical shows and having ticketing options for major entertainment events in the destination."  

- Hannan Zanzuri 

An excellent example is how the CIGNO Hotel in Merida has implemented unique experiences in the hotel and the destination that go beyond the traditional, mixing local gastronomy with archaeological visits to exclusive spaces in the region by local suppliers. 

2- The search for wellness in travel 

In these post-pandemic times people are now more conscious of maintaining a balance in their health, and wellness treatments are an important part of promoting a healthy lifestyle. With the return to normality, travel has become an excellent opportunity for travellers to consider wellness treatments. According to the Wellness Tourism Market this industry is expected to reach a value of US$1,250.27 billion by 2027.  

How does this apply to boutique hotels? 

Now with the boom of this industry, wellness options go beyond the spa and can be adapted to different spaces. Our suggestion is to start with the amenities on offer. The CIGNO Hotel is an excellent example with amenities made of honey with aromas that instantly relax, as well as having different Wellness options in the rooms, such as special massages from the region, yoga classes and private Janzú classes on the rooftop and in the hotel's pool. 

"We should also consider extending the wellness concept to the food offered at the hotel, with healthy options and looking to have organic products from the region."   - Hannan Zanzuri

3- Hotel retreats 

Hand in hand with wellness activities, personal growth retreats are an excellent option for hotels to help travellers grow personally, a trend that has been growing in recent years. According to Conde Nast Traveller, 2023 will be the year when the primary intention for travel will be to spend time growing as a person and achieving greater inner connection.  

How does this apply to boutique hotels? 

For boutique hotels, it is important to have packages for groups, and spaces to offer the venue for retreats, also a more creative option is for the hotel to organise its own retreats with facilitators from the same destination, an option that Odentio recommends implementing in 2023 to increase hotel revenues.

4- Loyalty programmes 

Trust has been one of the most important values to rescue in the hospitality industry in recent years, so loyalty programmes have stood out in this new normal. According to Expedia more than 53% of those who use these programmes say it is now more important to stay at hotels where they are already members than in pre-pandemic times.  

How does this apply to boutique hotels? 

In the case of boutique hotels, loyalty programmes can be very effective in retaining customers who visit the destination frequently. 

"For boutique hotels, the best programmes so far are where benefits can be enjoyed on the current and next stay such as room-upgrades, spa packages, or dining in the restaurant." 

One of the hotels that has incorporated this into its benefits programme is Kai Tulum, which in addition to offering breakfast included in the same stay, guarantees its frequent guests a special rate with the best benefits. 

Booking flexibility 

One of the trends that is here to stay after the pandemic times is flexible booking. Having this option in these times will give the guest the ability to organise themselves and although cancellations may increase, the chances increase that this guest will book again with more certainty of their itinerary or in the near future. 

5- Social Proof on social networks 

These days you don't need to have 100K followers to be able to give an opinion that can influence the purchase of other users. Friends and micro influencers play a very important role in online purchasing decisions. Social proof is one of the 6 principles of persuasion by Robert Ciandini, one of the most important marketing books. In hospitality this aspect of Social Proof is becoming increasingly relevant to increase trust when booking.  

How to apply it to boutique hotels? 

Surprise factor 

Boutique hotels can take advantage of this trend by implementing the wow factor in their amenities with personalised details for guests, thinking about the photo for Instagram, also a great option is to create dynamics on social networks to drive guests to use certain hashtags to share their content. 

"Small touches like welcome cocktails on arrival, in-room amenities with the guest's name on them or a seasonal snack increase the likelihood of them sharing it on social media with their friends, as well as making additional purchases at the hotel." - Hannan Zanzuri 

6- Video experience

With the popularity of platforms such as Tik Tok and recent Instagram additions such as reels, video remains an important part of any marketing strategy. Showcasing the hotel experience on video is crucial to help users make the decision to book. 

How to apply this to boutique hotels? 

In 2023 boutique hotels should consider having an active profile on Tik Tok, where content does not need to be perfect, but consistent and as authentic as possible. Show videos of what it's like to check in, the amenities on offer, the surroundings, all those factors that guests appreciate in a boutique hotel. 

7- Collaborations with content creators 

It is well known the power of influencers in marketing strategies to promote products and services, for the hospitality industry this aspect is gaining more and more strength. On the other hand, content creators who may be profiles with less reach are increasingly positioned to drive bookings with original content for your hotel, where it is also important the profile you match with for a collaboration. 

How to apply this to boutique hotels? 

Define the stories to tell around the hotel and the destination, and find local creators who have a profile that is related to the hotel brand, this content is very valuable to help potential customers to book the hotel.

8- Sustainable hotels 

In recent years the trend to choose sustainable products and services has been increasing, and hotels must take actions beyond the traditional ones to join this movement while respecting the planet.  Travellers are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint, according to Expedia, 90% of consumers are looking for sustainable travel options, and are willing to pay for more sustainable transport, accommodation and activities.  

According to Australia's Torrens University, travellers, especially millennials, are increasingly interested in experiences in nature with accommodations that have practices that respect and preserve the environment. So it is important for hotels near natural areas to implement activities for guests such as surfing lessons, cycling experiences, as well as implement actions that promote the preservation of the environment of the region. 

In addition to seeking environmental certifications for the hotel's operations, we suggest going further, from looking for amenities to be made locally, as well as offering vegetarian and vegan options that are less harmful to the environment. It is also important to implement activities where guests can participate in helping the region's nature and communities while supporting their preservation. 

One hotel that has gone beyond traditional hospitality practices is Casona Sforza, which together with its sister project Pueblo del Sol in Oaxaca has produced the different building materials for the hotel, and now makes the amenities found in the rooms.  In addition, guests can participate in the different workshops supporting this community to preserve itself and spread the importance.  

9- Amenities for remote workers  

With the rise of hybrid and remote work, people are increasingly opting to take long-haul trips for a change of routine. So-called digital nomads are gaining more traction this year, and the hospitality industry can take advantage of this trend by providing the basics needed to employ their work, such as stable high-speed WIFI, room service, exercise areas, and comfortable desks in their rooms. 

How can this be applied to boutique hotels? 

It is important to have promotions that motivate travellers to stay for longer stays. It is also important to implement those facilities for remote work such as high-speed wifi, desks or co-working areas, as well as room service or flexible opening hours in the hotel restaurant, and to communicate them correctly in all digital channels. 

10- Pet friendly areas   

Airlines have fewer and fewer restrictions for pets, so it is now very common to see guests travelling with their dogs in the best hotels in the world's most cosmopolitan cities. There are even chains that have gone one step further, such as Kimpton Hotels, which offer special amenities for our furry friends. 

How does this apply to boutique hotels? 

We know that in boutique hotels it is not so easy because of the delicate luxury materials and handcrafted elements that can be found in the rooms and the hotel in general. However, this trend will only increase. In the United States alone, 23 million families acquired pets during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Therefore, the addition of pet-friendly spaces, with some pet-friendly rooms and their corresponding amenities such as beds, food bowls and dog treats, will be a great benefit to increase occupancy in 2023. 

In conclusion, in 2023 travellers are looking for a more complete experience, looking to immerse themselves in different cultures on their travels, without losing the comforts of a boutique hotel. The home office boom is a great opportunity to increase hotel revenues through longer stays, although the challenge of having the necessary amenities and facilities to make guests feel at home must be taken into account. It is important to take into account trends in practices and treatments to help guests connect with themselves and also with nature. Also communicating all these practices that are properly implemented with video and new channels is important to reach new generations, keeping in mind the importance of transmitting trust with content that truly reflects the experience. 

Count on Odentio to increase your boutique hotel's revenue, as well as optimise your hotel operations, digital campaigns and more. Contact us to learn more about our plans.

Author: https://www.odentio.com/ 

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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