Corporate travelling: a commute or a commune?

It might be possible that the hospitality industry might be on it’s way to completely revolutionizing itself, as can be seen by the new things that have been trending in hotels in the past year. There has been a shift from focus on factors like luxury, comfort and indulgence to factors like social spaces, high-tech facilitated services, and modern renewable energy driven buildings.

What young corporate travelers today while on business trips or work-related trips look for in a hotel is two things: firstly a smooth and easy stay process and secondly to use the hotel as a platform to socialize, meet people and start building a network. Consequently, hotels have been choosing to capitalize on possible social settings. For example, there has been a concept of ‘living room like lobbies’, which are basically huge lobbies with a lot of communal furniture to promote mingling and socializing. This was started by the Citizen M chain of hotels in Amsterdam, which offers not so luxurious and small rooms but these ‘living room like lobbies’. Shared spaces are not only limited to lobbies: even restaurants and bars can be made to have communal tables and settings rather than the traditional way, lounges, that can usually be accessed by frequent customers can provide a kind of shared entertainment experience and even waiting areas like hallways and elevator could be somehow utilized as collective spaces. A hotel in Frankfurt that opened in March by the Lindenberg brand of hotels has shared leisure places like a communal kitchen that hosts cooking classes, and a jogging club in the garden.

Also, with evolving and fast-changing technology, the younger corporate travelers are used to being associated with user friendly and tech savvy services. For example, many airlines are not just switching to online check in but also e-boarding, which lets you proceed directly to security check: which is a part of making the travel experience smooth and error free. Lesser human involvement in this process implies a more systematic method. The same concept has been extending to the hotel industry: some hotels are now coming up with ideas of e-check in, by which they get their room key cards through an automated system after scanning their identification. This process is both faster and ensures that customers are served in a timely manner or is been informed of an accurate wait time through a computer rather than an estimate by a customer service associate.

Lastly, there has been a growing concern for the depletion of resources on our planet and towards issues like global warming and melting of glaciers. This concern will be more and more reinforced every year, and renewable energy is starting to be seen as the future. Young corporate travelers who are usually recent college graduates are very informed about environmental issues and since they will be the ones to actually live through an energy crisis if it were ever to happen, they are very attracted to businesses that are renewable energy driven. Though not many hotels have had a goal to achieve this, it might be something they might consider in the future.

These concepts could soon make a lot of existing luxury hotel chains obsolete, or force them to go through very expensive refurbishments that might take a while and cause the hotel to be out of business for a while, which might not be something they could afford. However, it would be intriguing to see if these small but still significant changes could have a great impact and actually revolutionize the hospitality industry.

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