Traditionally, travel is shaped by the desire to learn, teach, interact and understand other cultures and people; but changes in consumer behaviour, cost controls and technology are compelling the hotel industry to adapt to the needs of 21st-century travellers, who seek the freedom of choice and the ability to control costs without compromising their expectations.

Garnet Basson, Chief Operating Officer of The Capital Hotels and Apartments, has identified several trends in hotels and accommodation that are likely to impact the industry this year.

  1. Less is more

It’s election year, and South Africa is slowly recovering from the technical recession in 2018 – it’s tough for everyone now, and the hospitality industry is no different. Everyone is feeling the pinch, and business and leisure travellers alike want more bang for their buck.

  1. Budgeting for business travel

Corporate travel budgets are ever-tightening and, even though corporate travel accounted for 56% of turnover for Asata travel agents in 2017, with government travel accounting for 21% of turnover, procurement teams in private and public sectors are keeping tight controls on the purse strings. This means that fewer business travellers can travel without due consideration for budgets, with hotel groups expecting to retain this market needing to focus on cutting the frills and offering the ‘must-haves’ of corporate travel – starting with high-speed WiFi.

  1. It's still location, location, location

Accommodation in central locations close to amenities are likely to be the most popular, regardless of country, with meeting spaces, food options and entertainment choices being top of the ‘must have’ list for business and leisure travellers. Hotels that are close enough to main attractions will be able to offer more affordable rates than their competitors in the heart of tourist or business districts, while still offering easy access to food and entertainment destinations of choice.

  1. Bleisure blends business and leisure

With budgets under tighter control, guests are increasingly choosing to ‘work, play and stay’ to avoid extra travel costs. Venues that offer easy ways to welcome families who are joining their spouse after a business trip will score the incremental extra revenue, while earning loyalty as family-friendly destinations.

  1. Apartments beat hotels rooms

Apartment-style hotel accommodation has many benefits to the individual traveller and even to families, especially if you are in a foreign country where simple tasks such as getting your laundry done can be challenging. Apartment hotels offer more space for long stays, and the option to cater for themselves allows travellers to save money by eating in.