LIBERAL VALUES INFORM CONSUMER CHOICES
From an economic and political standpoint, the polarisation between Left and Right, particularly in the developed world, leaves a less populated (politically at least) liberal centre. One consequence of this vacuum at the political centre is that liberal values are showing up increasingly outside of the political realm, in the consciousness of consumer decisions, and by extension, in placing a spotlight on intention and purpose for people across all society demographics.
Millennials are credited with being highly influential in steering trends. The reality, though, is that preference has become less about age and more about how people feel, and what they aspire to – psychographics over demographics. This shift in focus is impacting many industries. The gain for travel and hospitality is especially significant because of the move away from material purchase to experiential pursuit.
The centre ground also epitomises some of the core values central to the pursuit of wellbeing: equality, human rights, personal liberty, tolerance, protection and individualism. Many of the macro trends that are emerging relate directly to these fundamentals, from sustainable practices to gender self-identification, civil partnerships and technology.
“The centre ground also epitomises some of the core values central to the pursuit of wellbeing: equality, human rights, personal liberty, tolerance, protection and individualism”
Why are these important? Businesses and the shaping of strategy will need to be constantly on notice to the social trends and politics surrounding them. Does a trend make sense to your business? Will it hold a premium, or is it a critical baseline you’re not yet addressing? The lesson: ensure you evaluate your business advantage through multiple lenses: customer, delivery, positioning and returns. Be as human-centric as you possibly can.
Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence
DESIGN FOR LIVING WELL
‘Neighborhoods of the Future’ is a White Paper on new-build and refurbished housing reform that will be launched at the UK’s House of Lords on January 21st. It will put wellbeing design squarely at the heart of community development. This matters because very soon, the smart, responsive and supportive environments in which we live may well have an edge over the hotels that we stay in.
One specific proposal is for a ‘bedroom of the future’. Bedrooms are where we spend one third of our life, and their design and environment is key because, if sleep is the humble king of wellbeing, then the bedroom is the throne. Sleep deprivation costs the British economy £40billion per year and is at the root of countless illnesses.
The housing proposals are the latest example of salutogenesis – an approach that focuses on the factors that promote wellbeing. It can be seen in the emergence of new models for supporting the population in personal health and wellbeing at a time when chronic and lifestyle-related diseases are still on the rise. Babylon Health’s online consultations in primary care, London Healthy Workplace Charter, the Mindful Business Charter for workplace wellbeing frameworks, and legislation seeking to reduce sugar consumption and control the obesity epidemic – these are all examples of this new approach. Overall, the goal is illness prevention, pro-active health and protective medicine for all.
“This is the latest example of salutogenesis – an approach that focuses on the factors that promote wellbeing”
In short, there is a re-orientation and a certain editing of what has gone before. In bedroom design, whether in a home or a hotel, some of the solutions have little or no cost impact – colour palette, temperature control, biophilic design, amber illumination, window black outs and soft detail such as weighted blankets. Of course there’s also scope for a significant dial-up that embraces robotics, smart floors and bathrooms.
The take-away is that it’s time for a reality check on how much wellbeing matters. Not only as a luxury experience but as a baseline expectation. Is your hotel ready?
Steve Dunne, Chairman, Well Intelligence
STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE
New Year means a fresh tsunami of trend forecasts, some broadly relevant, some incredibly niche. Wellbeing is a recurrent theme, and here are three wellness trends which present significant opportunity to the hospitality and travel sectors:
1) quality sleep – sleep deprivation is now viewed as ‘the new smoking’, as increasing evidence points to sleep as the highest value component of health basics ahead of food and exercise.
2) the vegan movement – this is not about 100% conversion to vegan eating, but of a rapidly growing demand for vegan options that is moving from fringe to mainstream. When a vegan steak made by Netherlands-based Vivera arrived at UK supermarket Tesco last June, 40,000 were sold within a week.
3) sustainability in action – elimination of single use plastics and zero food leftovers are becoming two key components of a baseline commitment to sustainability, alongside a strong community orientation. International hotel group Melia has committed to eliminating all plastics by the summer of 2019, and Marriott intends to cut food waste by 50% by 2025 – those travel companies and hotels that prioritise sustainability in real terms are likely to win themselves a premium.
“Those travel companies and hotels that prioritise sustainability in real terms are likely to win themselves a premium”
Why pay attention? Each of these trends is already viewed as mainstream by key consumer groups, so if you’re not taking trends like these into account, you’ll find yourself left behind. Simultaneously, expectation fuelled by the arrival of wellbeing ecosystems within the home, focusing on fitness, sleeping well and general self-care, means that facilities when staying away from home must meet or exceed what customers are supplying for themselves.