This newsletter is divided into two parts: (1) Macro outlook, outlining and assessing the impact of economic, geopolitical, societal, environmental and technological changes on the industry; (2) Micro insights supported by concrete examples of trends and changes occurring within the industry. We believe that the combination of the two will allow you to keep ahead of the curve.
The convergence of hospitality and wellbeing is shaping disruption and innovation alike.
The hospitality industry encompasses all businesses that provide specific and non-essential services to customers. It is broader than the travel and tourism industry stricto sensu and includes businesses such as restaurants, beauty clinics and theme parks, to name but a few.
Our macro outlook analyses the leading global trends and their potential impact on the industry.
For the first time in six years, global growth forecasts are on the up. The IMF anticipates global GDP will rise by 3.5% this year and 3.6% in 2018. Albeit a rather tepid performance, policy-makers are taking solace from the fact that the cyclical recovery in all the major world economies is strengthening in unison and that global trade is rising again: last month it reached a 7-year high on the back of above-trend manufacturing activity. Barring a fat tail negative shock like protectionism, the global economy will continue to trundle along over the coming year or so. For the next few months, we believe that negative tail-risk events are likely in the US while positive tail-risk events are more likely in the Eurozone. The fate of emerging markets is inextricably bound to that of US and China.
Even a deteriorating global economic and political outlook is unlikely to break the secular trend supporting the hospitality and wellbeing industry. In the rich countries, but also in the fast-growing economies like China, wellbeing is fast becoming either a personal necessity or a status symbol (or both!). Whether it is food – globally organic production is growing at double-digit rates while large food brands increasingly embrace wellness; tourism – wellness vacations are all the rage; retail – wellness boutiques are mushrooming in fields as diverse as gyms, book clubs, personal advice, nutrition and so on; or fashion – leisure and fitness wear are booming – most segments of the hospitality and wellbeing industry seem to be doing well. Obviously, a successful trend doesn’t guarantee individual success, as financial troubles with Whole Foods or Lululemon show. Beware of crowded, bubbly industries! Athleisure and tech wearables are most at risk.
Millennials’ obsession with wellbeing is a robust industry trend. The case, however, shouldn’t be overstated. The trifecta of rising (1) underemployment, (2) student debt, and (3) property prices, makes the millennials asset-poor and debt-rich, the worst possible combination for spurring investment and consumption. Yes: wellness matters a great deal for them (almost half of US millennials base their decision to book a hotel depending on the quality of its fitness centre, versus less than a quarter for baby boomers); but their consumption patterns will be increasingly affected by (1) the necessity to share and (2) preference for experiences over material goods. The same goes for Generation Z who represents 25% of the US population.
The recent Global Happiness Report sheds interesting light on why our obsessive focus on GDP growth is so misplaced. The six highest-ranking European nations in terms of happiness lag behind the rest of the world in terms of GDP growth. Similarly, countries that rank the highest in terms of GDP growth lag behind in terms of happiness (China ranks 79th). The reason: once a certain level of wealth is achieved in GDP/capita terms, happiness levels depend less on growth and more on intangible factors such as accessible health care and a robust social fabric, to name but two. Sooner or later, the “tyranny of growth” will come to an end, transforming many of our social norms. Values like empathy, responsible eating and respect for the environment – embedded in the culture of wellbeing – will become the new “cool”.
Europe is often derided, but in terms of wellbeing it is “top of the class”. According to a new Index, 14 of the 20 healthiest countries in the world are European, with Italy being the world’s healthiest country (despite having a sub-performing economy). On average, Italians are in much better health than Americans, Canadians and the British, who generally suffer from higher blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as poorer mental health. The reasons are manifold and not always clear, but the Mediterranean diet seems to play an essential role. According to research, having access to fresh produce, fruit, lean meats and fish, as most Italians do, is a decisive contributing factor to better health.
Falling productivity rates persist in reducing the world’s long-term potential growth. Why isn’t the 4th industrial revolution translating into higher productivity? It still could, but to date most innovation (mobile phones, internet, apps, etc.) enhances our leisure time rather than our business efficiency. This may even exercise a counter-productive effect: our digital addiction is a source of distraction and stress, both bad for productivity. Wellbeing can contribute to higher productivity. Studies demonstrate that businesses that care about their employees’ wellbeing (i.e. espousing policies to promote it) see individual productivity increasing by up to 12%. Another detrimental effect of the “always-on” culture is sleep deprivation, negative for both wellbeing and productivity. Research now puts a global figure of USD 680bn on lost economic output caused by a lack of sleep.
There is growing evidence that terrorism risks and security concerns in northern Africa and the Middle East are spurring a wave of tourism inflows in those Mediterranean countries perceived as safer, like Croatia and Slovenia, most of it in the high-end wellness segment. Last year Croatia, a country of 4.2 million people, welcomed 16.3 million tourists (91m guest-nights), a 14% increase compared to the year before. Despite recent terrorist attacks, Europe as a whole continues to benefit from a security premium as a travel and tourism destination: 7 out of 10 of the “safest” destination countries in the world are European. The proliferation of “high-risk travel consulting and training” companies shows that security and geopolitical risk considerations remain paramount when deciding where to travel.
Populist sentiments negatively affect international tourism: a key, albeit underrated source of economic growth and employment (last year, US visitor exports generated almost USD 200bn, 8.5% of total US exports). Thenegative impact on foreign travellers and tourists considering visiting the US is now incontrovertible. Perceived official antipathy towards foreigners is bound to have a sustained negative effect on travellers. Simply put: if you don’t feel welcome, you don’t go! All major hotels in the US are now battling slowing growth in revenue per available room. The WTTC estimates that the US T&T sector will grow this year by 2.3%, a contraction of 0.5% compared to last year.
The populists have just lost in France, as they did a few months ago in Austria and the Netherlands, and as they will in Germany in September. Two main reasons explain this divergence between continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world: (1) life, for those who are disadvantaged, is on average less precarious in the EU than it is in the US and the UK; (2) inequalities and the sentiment of unfairness are also less pronounced. Another substantial difference that has important implications for wellbeing lies in the much shorter workday. Research shows that working shorter hours results in happier and healthier workers who report less stress and more energy. By contrast, workplace stress in the US amounts to up to 8% of national spending on health and causes 120,000 deaths a year. Implementing workplace wellness programs when employees spend 10 hours a day at the office is senseless. It will take more than yoga and meditation lessons to address the issue. A radical culture change is needed but few companies seem up for it.
Global life expectancy is approaching 70 years and has just broken the 90-year barrier for women in South Korea. Any person who is 50 can expect to live until 83 and a baby born this year in a rich country has a 50% chance of living beyond 100. Of course, everybody’s dream is to die “young, as late as possible”, but the reality is that a majority of us live longer but also sicker. This is why ageing is so bullish for wellbeing: as we endeavour to maximize health-span (ageing in good health) by “compressing” ill-health to the shortest possible period, we will engage in all sorts of wellbeing activities. In addition, the more we age, the greater the amount we spend on anti-ageing. The global market for anti-ageing products, technologies and services will grow from USD 282 billion in 2015 to 331 billion in 2020.
We are witnessing a “global implosion” in people’s trust in almost all institutions, which provokes (1) lower economic welfare, and (2) higher polarization. The decline in social trust correlates with the rising epidemic of loneliness – particularly marked in the Anglo-Saxon world. In 1985, 1 in 10 Americans confessed that they had no friend with whom to discuss important matters. 20 years later, the number had increased to 1 in 4 people. Today, 40 per cent of Americans say they are lonely. The younger generation is the most distrustful of all. Less than 20% of US millennials believe other people can be trusted. Distrust is self-destructive: it leads to a decline in community bonds and a surge in cynicism. People then become more isolated which makes them lonely and in turn corrodes their wellbeing. Loneliness can also inflict actual cellular damage: (1) In lonely people, genes that code for the body’s inflammation response are turned on to a degree unseen in non-lonely people; (2) At the same time, researchers also see in lonely people down-regulated, or suppressed, activity in a block of genes involved in fending off viral infections.
Populist politicians tend to disregard the relevance of climate change, but the hospitality and wellbeing industry will ignore it at its peril. Two examples show that change is coming much faster than many realize. (1) After a series of rather dismal snow seasons in the Alps, wellness real estate practitioners are beginning to understand that it pays to be high up, where the snow is guaranteed. The French resort of Val Thorens (the highest in the Alps) is proof of that. It has moved from an ugly place for cheap student ski breaks to a high-end wellness resort, with a flurry of openings promoting the idea that “wellness and adventure go hand in hand”. (2) What is happening in Miami real estate demonstrates that higher ground will progressively host the “hotter” properties. This is because the risk of occasional flooding will make it un-economical to invest in lower ground coastal real estate. Real estate investment will focus on areas that can remain dry when the weather goes wrong.
The Chinese are become increasingly health conscious, with sales of goods associated with health-related properties such as “organic,” “non-genetically modified” and “low-fat” rapidly growing. Last year, the sale of organic food reached 30 billion yuan (USD4.4 bn.), with the production of organic vegetables, rice, tea and fruit growing at an astonishing rate of 30+ % per year. As for personal care, Chinese consumers increasingly prefer natural products. The sales of giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are declining as healthier products such as handmade soap using natural materials and silicone-free shampoo grow in popularity.
A new meta-analysis shows the extent to which food matters to our health and general wellbeing. The higher the intake of fruit and vegetables, the lower the risk of stroke, cancer and heart disease. Overall health outcomes improve with every 200g increment. Eating 200g of fresh fruit and vegetables seems to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13%; the risk of dying from cancer by 4%; and the risk of premature death by 15%. 7.8m deaths per year could be prevented worldwide if people ate 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This will support the vegan trend (which in the UK has grown by 360% over the past 10 years).
The current “retail apocalypse” engulfing the US is a foretaste of things to come in the rest of the world. It offers a vivid example of the profound disruption that the internet and AI can inflict on one particular industry. This year, almost 9,000 US retail locations are expected to close, with shopping malls having a very hard time (their shares will be hammered). The transition to online shopping creates unexpected consequences like the “personalization” of price, now dynamically adjusted in real time (like the price of a bottle of water or a vacation depending on the weather).
A permanent tension always opposes innovation and regulation. In the end, innovation tends to supersede regulation: it is faster, more agile, and delivers higher productivity. But not always… What is happening in the US is a startling example of what might soon occur in the rest of the world. The hotel industry’s plans to rein in Airbnb may well succeed, at least in part. The industry’s trade group has launched a prolonged, multi-faceted campaign to persuade policy-makers that Airbnb should comply with the same rules imposed on hotels. This effort remains at an early stage, but it has already had some success: a few laws recently passed in certain cities and states now restrict Airbnb activities. How will this affect the on-demand economy? Airbnb remains currently valued at around USD 30bn, Marriott at USD 35bn and Hilton at USD 19bn. Will this hold? Watch this space!
More than 40% of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking up. During the day, we look at our phones approximately 47 times (82 times for 18- to 24-year-old). Over 30% of consumers check their devices five minutes before going to sleep, and about 50% in the middle of the night. This addiction is becoming a cause of misery and burnout. What to do? Governments may intervene with a “right to disconnect”. We will pay close attention to see whether a law implemented in France in January will work and be emulated elsewhere; it requires companies with more than 50 employees to draw up a charter defining the rights of their employees to enjoy freedom from their work email. But ultimately, with or without government intervention, the necessity to unplug in order to slow down will impose itself. “Detox” hotels and spas will continue to expand[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”barometer-text-column barometer-text-column-left”][vc_column_text]
Our micro lens focuses on how greater coalescence between hospitality and wellbeing is impacting the industry as a whole.
The factors that resonate most with consumers are increasingly emotionally led. Being real and showing empathy, no matter the complexities, is shaping the hospitality industry and holding decision-makers’ feet to the fire on how to direct investment and strategy amidst the unquestionable ‘new normal’.
HOTELS & LODGING
There is an attitudinal shift towards less buying and more experiencing. Wherever there is change, opportunities abound; the 25hours boutique hotel in Langstrasse, Zurich (a group in which Accor bought a 30% stake in November 2016) allows you to pay for your stay with material goods. The hotel asks you to submit a photo of the payment item and its team of curators promises to get back to you within 25hrs. The brand’s mantra is ‘real place, real people’ and their success further endorses value-driven customer choice. It is an example of literally trading in the material for experience.
Up until recently, the acknowledged industry big five – Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Accor and Starwood – shared a generally similar vision and strategy. Not so now. Their approaches are now markedly different: spanning the traditional hospitality focus, to intense acceleration and full scope curation. Should Airbnb now be included in this group? Accor continues to shape a “new kind of hotel company” through their continued and rapid acquisition and investment of Travel Keys, Rixos Hotels, Potel and Chabot, VeryChic and Availpro (so far this year).
The pace is also accelerating in the middle market – Tru by Hilton is billed as the fastest-growing new brand in the company’s history, and is expected to be the most valuable. From its launch in January 2016 through to January 2017, 400 deals (all in the US) were signed or in progress. The emphasis is on quality and value combined with “strong owner return.” To date, there is no consumer feedback to draw on but the facilities and amenities suggest slick tech efficiency, space and fitness innovation, and fun food offerings. The model doesn’t include a spa or any other reference to wellbeing, with the exception of fitness.
Today, hostels have a new appeal (for travellers and investors alike). We referred earlier to the millennial dichotomy between their enthusiasm for wellbeing and their means to pay for it; sharing meets part of this challenge. However, the most successful models go beyond just room sharing by offering a carefully crafted mix of community and private space, thus responding to the dual needs of privacy and social connection.
This month UK-based Queensgate Investment is poised to pay €450 million for Generator Hostels, the design-led hostel chain aimed at millennial travellers. Queensgate CEO describes it as “an attractive lifestyle brand” – his fund plans to invest a further €300m. A shared room at a Generator hostel in London is as little as £9 per night, €17 in Paris and €15 in Rome. The critical ingredient of Generator is their hybrid approach, offering private room options together with the coveted community atmosphere that is so attractive to the lonely generations.
Luxury hotels are cashing in on increasing evidence that identifies sleep as the underrated hero of wellbeing coupled with commercial opportunity and the accelerating capability of technology. Quantitative research from the University of Hertfordshire has revealed a relationship between napping and happiness – short napping (naps of under 30 minutes) are the most beneficial, making a person more focused, productive, creative and happier. New ‘napping’ revenue lines have been created in luxury hotels, where sleep time is sold by the minute for rooms waiting for a late arrival or empty from an early departure. It works for unsold inventory too, but the bigger idea is to re-set the bar for what 100% occupancy means. This option is made available by the Recharge app (backed by JetBlue Technology Venture and launched in 2015), designed to fill empty hotel rooms on demand. It is reported to be turning six-figure annual profits based on by-the-minute reservations in the San Francisco area. A recent expansion, on April 24th, to New York shows you would expect to pay USD20 to USD46 for a 20-minute power nap. Every minute of Recharge time is more valuable than a regular overnight rate, by quite a margin. New York’s 1 Hotel Central Park would cost USD1,920 based on the property’s USD80 hourly rate on Recharge, with a regular guest paying USD400 for a night’s stay.
In Hong Kong a new capsule hotel (also referred to as ‘posh pods’) aims to attract urban travellers and sleep-deprived white-collar workers with a pilot project called Sleeep. The ‘sleeeper pods’ are equipped with responsive smart lighting to help occupants wind down or wake up more gently. Guests can also programme a blue light to imitate real sunlight. A thick layer of magnetic felt effectively blocks out both light and noise. Air supply and climate control are constantly regulated.
Consumer reaction to brand messaging and events is loud and immediate. Recently, brands such as Pepsico and McDonalds have been caught out for misjudging the response of consumers and, by their own admission, they “got it wrong”. Pepsi recently pulled an ad that was largely viewed as trivialising the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as did McDonalds UK with an ad about a boy struggling to find similarities between himself and his deceased father. Social media response condemned both campaigns as exploitative and insensitive. Forewarned, Heineken’s #worldsapart campaign, in contrast, succeeded in striking the right emotional chord with its public. Moral sensitivities and a collective social conscience are increasingly influencing how the hospitality and wellbeing industries market their offering.
VizEat (based in Europe) is the foodie’s answer to Airbnb – founded in 2014, it provides a platform that allows travellers to eat dinner at home with the locals. Like Airbnb, it helps to bridge earnings gaps, but also has a social dimension. The host not only cooks but also sits together with his/her guests. Already more than 80,000 people are using the platform and a further €3.8million was invested (via a series-A round of funding, investors largely unnamed with the exception of Eurovestech) in September 2016. This model also serves as an antidote to loneliness. It creates a grassroots community of hosts who “look after” their guests in the old-fashioned way. Similar global ventures include EatWith in the US and Feastly that is led by professional chefs.
Getting creative about food waste is another rapidly growing concept that resonates positively with diners by displaying an enhanced social conscience. Two celebrated London chefs, Skye Gyngell (Spring) and Merlin Labron-Johnson (Portland), are creating a unique charity banquet (the Spring X Portland Lunch) with food that would otherwise be thrown away. Thanks to the initiative, on June 11th 70 people will be served at communal tables at Spring restaurant, Somerset House in support of the Felix Project – a charity that works with food suppliers and other charities to reduce food waste and food poverty. A third of all global food produced is discarded – enough to feed around 70 million people a year. Gyngell and Labron-Johnson are raising awareness of the issue by highlighting the value and “delicious” potential of food that in other circumstances would have been discarded. Through further events and support, their hope is to help tackle London’s problems of hunger, food waste and loneliness. (The Trussell Trust gave out 111,101 three-day emergency food parcels to people in crisis in London alone in the 12 months up until March 2017).
As obvious as it might seem, it is important to remember that a positive industry trend does not guarantee positive market performance. Organic food is a case in point. In the US, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Fresh Market – respectively the first, second and third largest publicly traded organic stores –have seen their stock price plummet. As competition increases, additional players enter the market, lowering prices and hampering the potential growth trajectory of specialty retailers in the process. Between 2005 and 2015, US organic food sales rose by 209% – which amounted last year to USD 43.3 bn. The strength of the trend – with millennials as its driving force – is impressive, but it is the mass-market retailers (Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Aldi, etc.) that now own more than 53% of the market and reap the benefits.
The beauty arm of the industry has much to give and much to gain in adopting policies that combine an innovative commercial approach with achieving a positive social impact.
Beauty is very often a new consumer’s first point of entry into wellbeing. According to the Global Wellness Institute, it is the largest segment of the Global Wellness Economy (valued at almost one trillion USD) and a sector that everyone intuitively understands. From hairdressing and manicures to make-up and personal grooming, beauty can be a more easily and widely accessible culture and community than wellness or wellbeing. The regularity of hair and body maintenance often means that strong and valuable personal relationships are formed. There is large potential for public health campaigns to make use of this. Watch out for tighter relationships between government and private sector to address the following, and similar, issues.
The UK-based Lion Barber Collective is turning barbershops into safe places for men to start conversations and discuss mental health. Male suicide in the UK outstrips female suicide by 3:1, but no one knows why. Men aged between 20-49 are more likely to die from suicide than from cancer, a road accident or heart disease, and suicide rates of men between 45-59 are rising. 75% of people who take their own lives have never been diagnosed with a mental health problem.
The Bluebeards Revenge, a male grooming product company, claims that a majority of British men feel more comfortable discussing sensitive mental health issues with their barbers/hairdressers. In response to this, the Lion’s Barber Collective organise professionally run training programmes to “recognise, talk, listen and advise” clients and work with the suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.
Biologique Recherche, a Paris-based, French skincare brand (operating in 70 countries) is leading the industry charge to personalise treatment, nurture, and take care of people who need it the most. Through their partnership with Wellness for Cancer, a non-profit organisation, they will roll out specialised face and body treatments for cancer patients and survivors worldwide. They have committed to partnering with a relevant NGO in each country to offer the same treatment to people who cannot afford it – at no cost.
This may be a game changer for the spa and wellness industry, one that could begin to bridge the gap between the perception of an exclusive, pricey and high-end sector to something more accessible and less elitist. Expect to see other brands and organisations following suit – this display of solidarity and a desire for inclusion is a vital value base and connector for sustainable success in today’s market.
The adjustment of values, worth and social norms referred to in our macro outlook as the new “cool” are epitomised by companies such as the Lion Barber Collective, the Spring X Portland Lunch, Biologique Recherche, Wellness for Cancer, as well as the on-point response from Heineken as the antithesis to Pepsi and Mcdonald’s (deemed) less empathetic attempt to connect with their consumers.
Marriot is stepping into “the transformational travel” market with a new series of ‘Transform with Marriott’ workshops (open to guests and the public) taking place this year in three London properties in May, September and October. This initiative is illustrative of a growing trend to take personal learning and development beyond the reserve of wellness retreats, and into the regular travel space.
The perspective of wellbeing is being redefined as more fluid components of hospitality. Fitness, food, sleep, beauty, emotional, mental or spiritual health are not limited to the bricks and mortar that define dedicated space and are being seen differently.
Airline passengers’ wellbeing is another area of innovation. British Airways is currently filing a patent for an ingestible sensor to monitor passengers’ inflight wellbeing. In a similar vein, UK-based FliteTrak is developing the ViatorAero, a seat-based sensor system that can monitor a passenger’s status (movement, load, weight) during a flight. Seating specialist Recaro is also pursing the potential of this technology: the largest interface between the aircraft and the passenger is the seat, and by making use of this, heart rate and temperature can also be measured.
Originality in travel is emerging strongly in pop-ups and roving tourism hubs related to a particular product. Restival is one such product, described as “the love child between a retreat and a festival” – it creates “a break from modern living” that immerses its guests in nature to recharge and disconnect. Collective Retreats launched in March 2017, an experiential travel company that combines five-star luxury with “authentic ruggedness” – in other words, pop-up opulence, in locations where traditional lodging cannot be built. Last month, Marriott partnered with the Coachella music festival and created eight pop-up safari style hotel rooms. The festival scene is becoming fertile ground where hybrid expansion meets consumer demand (a pop-up hotel is also featured at this year’s world famous Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, UK). The globally recognised Noma Restaurant is almost at the end of its 7-week run with an open-air pop-up in Tulum, Mexico. Reservations for the entire 7 weeks (USD 600 per head) were sold out in two hours. All of the aforementioned tourism experiences are in less populated areas, with the intention of creating a temporary community that connects with nature and creates a tourism spotlight for the duration of their (product) stay.
Simplicity in product offerings equates (in part) to “home comforts” and also, a grassroot reality of how business can be made from the gaps and (literal) scraps of living; selling spare rooms to make ends meet (Airbnb), inviting strangers to eat in our homes and being financially and socially rewarded for the pleasure (VizEat), using waste food to mitigate loneliness and enhance consciousness (The Spring X Portland Lunch), selling nap time in empty hotel rooms (Recharge) and creating communities of like-minded people (many hospitality brands, such as Design Hotels, Noma, Restival, Generator Hostels, Accor’s JO&JOE brand) all contribute to a new kind of travel and hospitality experience.
PUBLIC AND MAINSTREAM HEALTH
Mexico is innovating in the campaign against obesity. Mexico is now de facto paying its citizens to fight obesity. The government has announced that any citizen can receive a tax rebate that matches the cost of seeing a nutritionist or psychologist in an effort to reduce obesity. In short, nutrition advice is now tax- deductible. Mexicans have such a high and widespread level of obesity (according to WHO 74% of women are obese or overweight compared with 70% of men) that the country has always been at the forefront of the fight against it. The success or otherwise of this new measure will be interesting to follow, and if it does work, to see whether it is emulated elsewhere.
An ever-growing body of research is adding to our understanding of the link between nutrition and cognition. What was intuitively known is increasingly corroborated by scientific data: we can now ascertain what sort of food improves child behaviour and academic performance, and equally, combats mental decline among elderly people. This new research suggests that vending machines of snacks high in sugar, saturated fats and sodium should be removed from schools. This is also true in old age – fructose, the sugar most commonly used in processed foods, seems to enhance many pathways related to Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases.
In the coming weeks, ‘must-watch’ issues include:
- What President Trump does and does not do with regard to tax plans and protectionist policies, and how this will affect the USD. In particular, the market consensus that the USD is in a secular bull may be proven wrong, which would have dramatic and far-reaching implications on the global hospitality and wellbeing industry.
- Whether the legal setbacks that were suffered by Uber in Europe and AirBnb in the US mean that stricter regulation will constrain the growth of the sharing economy. If legal setbacks grow in intensity globally, they might even puncture the sharing economy’s bubble.
- China, where growth remains dangerously debt-dependent. The situation will most likely be managed until the 19th National Congress in the Autumn; but afterwards a severe financial crisis combined with a sharp deceleration of growth is possible. This would temporarily put on hold the double –digit growth of Chinese outbound tourism.
- The narrowing gap between public sector need and private sector opportunity – from physical and mental health improvement, to tourism, community cohesion and the battle to mitigate loneliness. More governments (UAE is a good example) are recognising the need to take a different (more radical) approach that is likely to be commercially advantageous to hospitality and wellbeing companies and organisations.
- The “transformational travel” sector beyond dedicated wellbeing retreats. Consumer pursuance of self-actualisation and creating a “better me” is fuelling experience over acquisition purchase. Less about “what I have” and more about “who I am”, sharing (in group situations), and learning from other travellers and guests within a micro-community setting.