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The hospitality industry is in a constant state of evolution as people seek new and exciting places to visit. Diversity and accessibility in the travel market resulted in previous niches become the norm, and hard-to-reach places, reachable. With vacation planning season right around the corner, it seems only natural that we share some hospitality trends that we’ve got our eyes on…

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Making air travel more comfortable and enjoyable, airports themselves are becoming destinations with 5-star restaurants, spas, and even meditation gardens. Singapore’s Changi Airport set the standard with butterfly and orchid gardens, and will open Jewel Changi, its new biodome terminal, in 2019. London’s Heathrow installed a 1,680-plant vertical garden known as the Garden Gate, and a terminal at South Korea’s Incheon encompasses two skylighted indoor gardens with waterfalls and koi ponds.

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Genetic Heritage Tourism

Genealogical adventurers are planning trips with itinerary that includes stops to their ancestry’s hometowns, visits to records’ offices, and other excursions that may entail meeting long-lost family members. Travel search engine Momondo recently attracted attention with a campaign that offered people DNA tests to determine the origins of their ancestors, and then provided travel options to those places. With more people choosing to gain a more precise picture of their family history, genetic heritage tourism will continue to grow.

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Off the Beaten Path

As the urge to post the perfect travel shot on social media pushes people further into the wild, travel and hospitality brands are under increasing pressure to provide authentic experiences. Previously considered off-limits, destinations like North Korea, Iran, and Ethiopia continue to experience a surge in tourism because of their natural splendor. Travelers are looking for places that blend the cultural sources of art, music, and food with a story of the land. According to Hospitality Net, adventure-driven millennials value engagement over opulence, and are drawn to experiences that make the most of the surrounding geography, heritage, language, and customs.

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Rise of Bleisure

Defined simply as blending business-oriented trips with personal time, Bleisure trips increased 6 percent last year according to Travel Weekly’s Consumer Trends Report. The reality of being able to work completely mobile and remotely makes it easier for people to book longer stays. Unsettled and Remote Year have even created temporary communities of entrepreneurs and creatives abroad. Habitas, specializing in global wellness travel, offers retreats and eco-chic hotels to members while WeWork allows members to choose from more than 200 offices across 20 countries – bringing professional nomads into mainstream travel.

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Beating the Heat

With more vacationers swapping bikinis for snowsuits, colder destinations are now trending. In the remote Norwegian territory of Svalbard, revenue from tourism now outstrips that of coal mining, the region’s former mainstay. And the White Desert camp in the interior of Antarctica has been fitted with new luxurious amenities, such as bamboo headboards, Saarinen chairs, fur throws, and en-suite bathrooms. In addition, guests will be able to sail to the Antarctic aboard the Crystal Endeavor, a new luxury mega-yacht debuting this summer.

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Checking In

Technology also plays a role in the evolving hospitality industry. Nearly two-thirds of all travelers today use three mobile devices – a smartphone, laptop and tablet computer. The hotel industry is taking a proactive stance by implementing electronic accessibility as it relates to the arrival experience and how guests navigate and reserve recreation, dining and adventure activities during their stay.

As the desires of guests change and developers seek to satisfy the needs of the ever-evolving world traveler, resorts will need to transform even more in the years ahead. Every industry must be flexible, and the hospitality business is no different. Time continues to be a precious commodity and today’s travelers want to spend more time with family – taking shorter trips, more often. They want to engage in interactive activities and experiential learning, exploring and absorbing all a particular destination and locale have to offer. In the end, all design decisions are driven by consumer demand and preferences.