Welcome to Trendline, a bi-monthly newsletter created in partnership between The Gettys Group and TrendWatching. Here, we will examine TrendWatching’s global insights into numerous industries through the lens of hospitality, considering the possible implications and applications to our industry.
In each issue, we will focus on one of TrendWatching’s sixteen Mega-Trends—their comprehensive list of the ways in which human needs and expectations are changing while defining modern consumerism.
In this issue, we will examine Helpfull—the demand for convenient and superior service—a keystone of hospitality.
Innovations that make life easier will always be welcomed. Now, they are becoming expectations. Why is that?
Many time-saving tools have failed to lighten the load of our demanding lives. Any and all innovations that actually do provide more helpful services and save time/hassle are valuable.
Consumers and guests are drawn to brands that understand and cater to their needs.
Customers now expect ongoing, post-transaction support from product and service providers. Those who offer help beyond their perceived responsibilities will truly delight consumers.
The ways in which brands, or companies, can be Helpfull are limitless. One of the interesting extensions/evolutions of this trend is what TrendWatching calls “forgiving by design”: designing dimensions of service or product features that are intuitively adaptable to foreseeable and unforeseeable needs.
An example of forgiving by design is how Apple’s new HomePod speaker is engineered to adapt to the acoustics and architecture of the room in which it is placed.
Another example of forgiving by design comes from Tesla; their Helpfull solution may not have been designed to outrun a hurricane, but it raises an interesting question for the hotel industry, which is, “what might hotels do to provide support during a natural disaster or other times of need?”. We discussed this with TrendWatching’s Max Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights.
Emergency Upgrade: Automaker Tesla remotely upgrades cars in the wake of Hurricane Irma by increasing the battery power and driving range of its vehicles.
The Gettys Group: How might we design or plan hotels to expand their normal functionality to accommodate those in unexpected need? When and how?
TrendWatching: Perhaps this could be an opportunity for hotels to develop crisis plans that include partnerships with other local businesses who don’t have their amenities and facilities.
TrendWatching: Another pretty dramatic example of being Helpfull and forgiving by design comes from the tourism industry, but it does harken an interesting opportunity for hospitality, right? Just as VisitOSLO is “listening” for traveler complaints about a crowded Louvre Museum, hotel brands are “lurking” and responding to guest complaints in their own hotels— but are they tracking the complaints from guests in their competitor’s hotels?
Oslo to the Rescue: VisitOSLO, the official tourism organization of Norway’s capital city, “rescues” travelers from crowds at cultural attractions throughout Europe, relocating them to less crowded alternatives in Oslo itself.
The Gettys Group: Wow, what an interesting opportunity. Sure, why couldn’t they offer to respond directly to one or more of those unhappy guests and offer to move them up the street or around the corner to a better hotel experience at no cost to them and at great PR value to themselves?
We believe that there are tremendous untapped opportunities for hospitality to be Helpfull. After all, it’s the essence of hospitality. Hotels are open for business 24 x 7 x 365, have service-oriented team members and are usually in neighborhoods among businesses and residents. If we imagine a future where the perceived value of hotels is measured by guest satisfaction and their contribution to their community, we might begin asking ourselves, “how might our hotels be more Helpfull and forgiving by design?”
For a complete list of Mega-Trends and more examples of trends being spotted around the world, please visit trendwatching.com.