With World Tourism Day (27 September) fast-approaching, Marriott International has identified some of the biggest trends for the hospitality industry. Some of these trends have reshaped (and are still reshaping) the industry despite the pandemic and will no doubt continue to have a significant impact on travellers’ behaviours.
#1 The shift to greener travel has brought about new ways of thinking
Travellers are increasingly more concerned about their impact on the world and there has been an increase in awareness of environmental and social issues. According to recent research by Kantar, 58% of Asian consumers are willing to invest time and money supporting companies that do good, and in fact 63% are already factoring in sustainability concerns, at least once in a while, when making purchase decisions. Their top concerns for environment issues include water pollution, extreme weather events and air pollution.
Sustainable offerings that conscientious travellers to the Maldives can look forward to include initiatives to continue to eliminate single-use plastics, implementation of re-usable glass bottles for water and juices, usage of paper products around the resorts and initiating monthly dives against debris and clean-up days along with various other initiatives to promote the conservation of marine life and awareness of the same. Apart from eco-conscious accommodation, travellers are also looking for meaningful travel initiatives.
Earlier this year, Marriott International launched the Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy program which aspires to shift the way vacations are perceived – from pure leisure to a value-adding opportunity that allows travellers to explore and build deeper connections in local communities.
The Adopt a Coral initiative at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa invites guests to participate in the fun and interactive coral-fragment plantation activity in an effort to promote reef habitats and generate new coral. The resort has teamed up with Reefscapers, a coral propagation organization appointed by the Maldivian Government as custodians of the coral colonies in the Gulhi Falhu lagoon which was slated to be destroyed as part of a reclamation project. The activity is led by experts and offers a hands-on experience to participants while also providing an alternative business to the 250 inhabitants whose sole previous source of employment was fishing.
Create enchanting memories this festive season at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Discover wondrous epicurean experiences perfectly befitting the occasion.— Sheraton Maldives Resort and Spa (@SheratonMaldive) September 15, 2021
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W Maldives has partnered with cutting-edge Hong Kong swimwear label Mazu Resortwear to create two exclusive prints with a bold message in mind. Made out of 12 salvaged plastic bottles, the limited edition swimwear collection is stealing the scene in style and is inspired by the team’s commitment to save the ocean.
At The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort, guests can start young with their initiation into marine life conservation as their Marine biologist conducts educational talks with children and adults alike about the diverse marine life around the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll, where the resort is located.
#2 It’s all about the human connection
The basics of hospitality continue to remain the bedrock of how we will emerge stronger from the pandemic. While this trend is not particularly new, it serves as an important reminder that at the heart of it, travellers are craving meaningful human connection, one of the best things that travel gives us! Whether it’s a business or leisure traveller, the importance of human connection and creating a personalised experience cannot be overstated.
In the travel and events space, the virtual event attendee desires bespoke experiences curated based on their needs and wants. Allowing them to pick and choose what to participate in and when, is a new level of personalisation touted as a trend to stay.
Leisure travellers to the Maldives can look forward to the Thakuru service at JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa who assist guests in arranging a personalized itinerary during their stay recommending customized recreational activities on the island such as spa & wellness activities, private dining arrangements, and dolphin cruise to name a few.
#3 Supporting local
Not just a trend, but an important undertaking for travellers who directly contribute to empowering the local economy. The pandemic has underscored, for many travellers, that everyone is in it together. Governments around the world were encouraging people to spur domestic travel by supporting local and for many, it was also about giving their favourite local business a fighting chance at survival.
At Marriott International, we are committed to supporting local communities. JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa uses Island Apothecary products – made from local natural ingredients, in some of the signature couple treatments at Spa by JW. This initiative supports women run businesses in the community as each bottle is mixed, bottled and shipped straight from the island homes. With the theme of Tourism for Inclusive Growth designated for this year’s World Tourism Day, supporting local is not just a trend, but an important undertaking to help kick-start recovery and growth.