by Matt Alderton | October 29, 2013
Hotels in 2014 will be focused on catering to international guests, achieving high ratings on consumer travel websites and further integrating sustainable business practices. So concludes the School of Hospitality Management at Kendall College in Chicago, which this month released its first-ever trends outlook for hospitality industry.

According to Kendall, the top hospitality trends in 2014 will be:

1. International Knowledge in Demand: The demand for international knowledge is the No. 1 trend in hospitality, according to Kendall, which suggests hospitality professionals must have an increasingly global perspective in order to serve an increasingly diverse mix of guests. “The travel and tourism industry is currently among the largest and fastest-growing industries worldwide, forecasted to support 328 million jobs, or 10 percent of the workforce, by 2022,” Kendall points out.

2. Rankings Mean Business: “Never has a user-generated online rating meant as much as it does now,” Kendall says. “The 21st century is the age of digital referrals, and the power of what’s posted on the web via user-generated review sites — digital word of mouth — can drastically impact a business’ revenue. There are 3.3 billion brand mentions in 2.4 billion brand-related conversations within the U.S. every day, and the typical American mentions brand names 60 times per week in online and offline conversations.”

3. Back at the Bar – Traditional Gets a Twist: “Classic is the new contemporary, with bars serving up a renaissance of classic and pre-prohibition cocktails,” explains Kendall, which predicts that tea will feature prominently in hotel bars in 2014. “With its broad range of appealing flavor profiles and vibrant spectrum of visual characteristics, tea is being elevated to a contemporary status as mixologists and spirit bars across the country are using it to enhance their gin, rum and vodka based cocktails. Whether it is incorporating a floral hibiscus tea to gin or a smoky lapsang souchong tea to vodka, they can add interesting subtle or assertive dimension as a complimentary ingredient. Tea offers adaptability to cold or hot and savory or sweet cocktails making it more user-friendly and appealing to a wider audience in the marketplace.”

4. Sustainability – the New Standard: “In the U.S. alone, hotels represent more than 5 billion square feet of space, nearly 5 million guest rooms and close to $4 billion in annual energy use,” according to Kendall. “That’s a big impact the industry can make and has made on the environment, in an effort to make sustainability the ‘new standard’ and better appeal to environmentally conscious business and leisure travelers. In fact, 2013 marks the ‘tipping point’ for sustainable hospitality, with eco-friendly practices becoming the norm, rather than the exception, so expect 2014 to see standard ‘green’ practices, products, programs and packages.”

5. Room Service Reinvented: “With room service revenue drastically decreasing — and some hotels like The New York Hilton who are forgoing the amenity later this year — the majority of hotels are dedicated to reinventing the concept, contributing to an 8 percent increase in the number of hotels offering room service from 2011-2012,” Kendall points out. “What’s hot? Well known chef names, concept-driven restaurants and artfully crafted menu items to digital in-room dining menus and online ordering to brown-bag meal deliveries … The term ‘at your service’ will continue to evolve to support consumer needs for simple, fast and quality service — room service isn’t going away anytime soon.”

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