Airlines check in to better amenities, while hotels look to diversify.
Today I have a real grab bag of blog topics for you that aren’t related to each other, but they managed to catch my eye this week. They all speak to some interesting bigger-picture trends in hospitality, so enjoy:
Airlines tackling amenities?
In my mind, I often compare coach airline travel with the select-service segments of the hotel industry: It’s not luxury or business class, that’s for sure. But it’s also better than driving or hitchhiking to my destination. As the economics of the airline industry have changed, though, we’ve all witnessed that “race to the bottom” in the airline industry, where seats are just commodities sold for the lowest possible price. Hotels on the other hand have really differentiated the select-service space to the point of major amenity creep (as a traveler, I’m not complaining. If I owned a hotel, maybe I would).
As the flight experience gets worse and worse, it can be fun to see the airline industry try to innovate when it comes to guest amenities. The global Aircraft Interiors Expo is happening this week in Hamburg, Germany, and lots of fun innovations and gadgets are on display, many designed to boost space and comfort, or increase tech connectivity in planes.
Admit it—you’re a sucker for lists like these from USA Today: “Amazing hotel bathrooms around the world.”
Content like this is aspirational to look at and just plain fun. Sure, these bathrooms are over the top and scream “presidential suite” in every way, but just like with hotel bedding trends, bathroom trends that start at the top find their way down to every segment of the industry in one form or another. That’s usually a good thing (unless you’re an owner faced with hundreds of tub-to-shower conversions, maybe).
Our own Terence Baker wrote last week about Marriott’s luxury tent concept for this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. (Read “Hotel companies go all rock ‘n’ roll.”)
First off, glamping at a music festival is NOT rock ‘n’ roll. I agree wholeheartedly with Terry who said, “of course I am sounding like a crusty geezer who thinks real music fans should sit in puddles.”
But, bygones. This is a great idea and hotel brands need to get in on this. Hyatt has done it before. I’m betting AccorHotels might launch a tent brand in the next five minutes. It goes along with one of my personal crusades, which are airport pod hotels.
Hotel brand leaders like to talk a lot about innovation, and they like to gripe a lot about disruptors elbowing in on their turf. But they also like to celebrate the success and growth models of select-service hotel offerings. I’d say tents and airport pods check all three of those boxes.
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