Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial start of summer, and many will soon be gearing up for their next big adventure. This is a perfect time to look at some of the hottest trends for travel this season.
As more people decide to follow an eco-conscious lifestyle at home, it should not come as a surprise that their choice in travel and hotels are also greener. In 2017, eco-friendly travel options were projected to increase up to 36% to meet travelers’ demands, and nearly two out of five travelers will be interested in an eco-tour travel experience. According to Pinterest, searches for eco-friendly hotels are also up 125% this year.
Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center Lobby – Denton, TX
Many hotel brands have taken notice and have shifted to meet consumer expectation. The BR&P designed Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center in Jonesboro, AR, which celebrated its groundbreaking this month, is designed to be LEED Certified. Another Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center project in Denton, TX is outfitted with 1,000 solar panels, which over the lifetime of the system will reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint by more than 11,000 tons.
According to Google trends, searches for solo travel are at an all-time high this year. More travelers than ever before are opting to see the world alone. There has especially been a rise in solo adventure traveling for women. With minimal vacation days, travelers are seeking out active experiences including backpacking, wilderness tours and cycling across foreign countries, rather than vacationing at an all-inclusive resort.
The retailer REI holds small-group tours through their company REI Adventures. The company has expanded its female-only tours (which are also led by women) to 19 offerings after seeing three times the interest it had forecasted for the tours in 2017. Tours include adventure trips all over the world from hiking in New Zealand and Iceland to sea kayaking in Puerto Rico. Looking to stay closer to home, but still want adventure? The BR&P designed Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO sits close to multiple hiking destinations including Rocky Mountain National Park.
Extending Business Trips to Long Weekends
More employees than ever before are extending their business trips by a few extra days or weeks for personal vacations. According to a survey completed by AARP, 74% of millennials expect to bring work along on a trip; 65% of Gen Xers plan to do the same, but just 56% of boomers are likely to work while out of the office. With access to reliable Wi-Fi almost all around the world, advances in online communication tools and professional co-working spaces, it is easier than ever to live and work in different destinations for longer periods of time.
Hotels are offering flexible room layouts for working as well as co-working spaces in their redesigned lobbies. The lobby in the BR&P designed Tru by Hilton in Camillus, NY is divided into four zones for working, eating, playing, and for lounging. Home2 Suites also offer flexible room layouts for guests to work.
Small Town Destinations
Travelers are skipping big cities to explore smaller towns. According to Pinterest, searches for small-town destinations are up 94%. People are booking trips that allow them to be active, eat great food, and experience nature, all which are easily accessible in a smaller town (and one that typically comes with a smaller price tag).
Residence Inn – Chandler, AZ
BR&P has designed several projects outside of larger cities in towns with their own charm. The BR&P designed Residence Inn and the Towne Place Suites, both located in Chandler, AZ, sit outside of Phoenix. The town hosts festivals, is close to national parks and has been rated by Expedia in 2017 as a Top-Rated Vacation Destination in North America as well as a 2017 Hidden Gem for Girlfriend’s Trips by TripAdvisor.
Smart Hotel Rooms
With the rise of Alexa, Siri and other voice-activated assistants, hotels are following the trend. At various hotels, expect to find more smart rooms popping up this summer.
At select Aloft Hotels, travelers will find voice-activated hotel rooms. These rooms have an iPad running a custom Aloft app that is used to control the lighting, temperature, and other accessories via Siri. Another smart feature is the SPG Keyless program, which allows guests to open their room via a text on their phone. Aloft also has BOTLR, the robot butler. The robot will deliver towels and toiletries to guest rooms.
The BR&P designed Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center in Denton, TX also has the latest in-room technology. “One of the goals of O’Reilly Hospitality Management is to be at the forefront of hotel guest room technology, taking the guest room experience to the highest level of innovation possible,” explains Gerri Kielhofner, BR&P Architect and Partner. Technology integrations include electronic tablets that allow guests to change the temperature, control the TV and call room service or the front desk. The bathrooms have Bluetooth speakers built into the mirrors as well.