An interesting insight into travel trends for operators for 2023 has been issued by the European Tour Group about what customers are looking for this year. Three key trends have emerged with a shift in behavioural patterns. The feature, which draws on external research as well as its own insights, investigates how these trends will impact the travel market, and how venues are adapting accordingly. In this research, golf resorts are the specific focus, but we think that the overall content is applicable to all types of resorts in the Uk and across Europe, from smaller glamping sites to much larger lodge and holiday park developments.
The trends identified are
• The Pursuit of Wellness
• Digital Nomads
THE PURSUIT OF WELLNESS
Not long ago, wellness might have been akin to taking some time out, maybe having a massage at the hotel spa. Now, in 2023, the advent of a deeper understanding of physical and mental wellbeing has paved the way for an era of wellness travel to formalise. The pandemic has had a profound and potentially lasting impact on people’s thinking around health and wellbeing.
As examples of what leisure parks and operators should be looking at providing, it could be a fully built shared spa building experience for guests, or elements specific to each lodge such as private jacuzzi’s or sauna’s. Or clients being able to book in experiences on their stay such as yoga, massages and wellness classes. Connection to nature via views and site placement also come under this category of wellness, it has become documented that a connection to nature is an important part of wellbeing.
Our buildings at Urban Blossom are always designed to include key views of nature, whether it is via rooftop spaces or private terraces. We have roll-top baths placed specifically to relax in and enjoy the views into nature. We are also launching personal spa lodge retreats which expand the wellness factor with elements such as private hydrotherapy pools, saunas and hammam showers. A private and luxurious oasis for guests to recharge and reconnect with nature.
Remote – or at least hybrid – working is here to stay, and is fuelling the thirst for longer trips and multi-generational travel, as well as a demand for self-catering accommodation that resembles a home from home. Throw in a ‘you only live once’ mentality and the fact destinations have adapted to meet the demands of flexible working – think fast WiFi and social spaces converted into hot desk-style areas – and this trend is only going to continue.
So as much as it is the dream to be able to disconnect from the world on holidays and turn off the smartphones, the reality is that clients expectations will be reliable wi-fi and a comfortable space to work in if needed.
Green tourism is on the rise. Global warming, wild fires, floods – the effects of climate change are evident year after year, causing resorts to adapt and evolve their operations to be more sustainable, and consumers to make decisions with a beady eye on their carbon footprint. A recent YouGov survey indicated that 53% of consumers look for sustainable options when travelling, with the same proportion willing to pay more for a sustainable holiday. How resorts can offer this in the UK can be via off-grid systems, the types of sustainable materials used to build new lodges, the use of new thermally efficient buildings, recycling water and many more options. For new sites this can be built into the infrastructure and considered across all elements, but for exisiting sites it can be a challenge to retrofit some services due to space, cost and disruption.
At Urban Blossom, we are committed to delivering thermally efficient designs to operators and sites. Our weather is changing, and we all need to think about how we can create passive building designs that minimise energy use to heat and cool them. The materials used in builds also need to be sustainable, there are some remarkable products appearing which re-use waste plastics and wood and will offset the carbon footprints of the sites.
People lost the freedom to travel during the pandemic, and now it’s back, they are hungrier than ever to see, to do, to experience.
The recovery, so far, has revealed new behaviours and a reshuffling of priorities, allowing destinations to reassess their offering and ensure it still marries up with what consumers are looking for, both now and in the future.
The question is: Are you ready for them?