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Laptop-and-latte workers, invisible travellers among new guest categories
Singapore, March 15, 2013

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) has outlined emerging categories of travellers moulded by socioeconomic trends of the day in a new report, The new kinship economy: from travel experiences to travel relationships.


The report, containing research by The Futures Company and IHG input, said Asian travellers would account for 20 per cent of global travel spend by 2020.


New global explorers come from high-growth countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, and are keen to explore traditional must-see destinations. They also prefer hotels that provide a balance between the familiar and unfamiliar for a “home away from home” experience. As a result, many leading hotels have created Chinese menus and hired Mandarin-speakers.


Another group of travellers identified are evolving families. Multigenerational parties, traditional in emerging markets and increasingly common in the West, are challenging the idea of the standard room layout. On the other hand, the growth of the single person household has also driven demand for stimulating independent travel.


Millenials have also come out as a new breed of business travellers. Rejecting notions of the traditional work environment, this laptop and latte brigade enjoy working in intimate coffeehouse-style environments and are spurring a rethink in hotel business spaces.


Meanwhile, expansive mid-lifers, travellers over 50 years of age, are for the first time the fastest-growing and most affluent age group. They seek new experiences, but find amenities or services labelled “for older people” alienating. To reach this group, hotels should develop products and services for all age groups while being supportive of older guests.


The report also highlighted challenges of having to balance a growing guest preference for independence with a desire for hyper-personalistion from other guests.


Invisible travellers, made possible by the increased application of technology, are opting for an independent, human-free travel experience from booking to room service.


Simultaneously, customers are increasingly demanding predictive service or highly personalised and customised service. Hotels can provide this by hiring staff who speak multiple languages or chefs who can whip up vegan meals at short notice.

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