The IHG 2017 Trends Report identified several key ways in which consumers’ expectations are becoming ever more contradictory when it comes to hospitality, including:
The paradox of separate but connected
Consumers are seeking a constant belonging with people, brands and places, but also want individuality and the desire to communicate uniqueness of self.
The paradox of abundant rarity
Consumers want luxury to be both scarce and available (similar to what hoteliers and restauratuers have previously termed “affordable luxury”).
The paradox of seeking a better me and a better we
Consumers are seeking personal self-improvement, while also seeking public, civic or global improvement.
Do it myself and do it for me in my way
Consumers have a desire to be in control but don’t always want to be the controller.
What brands should do
In a bid to address these often-contradictory needs, IHG recommended that:
- Businesses should seek to listen to customers, and communicate with them in a meaningful way
- Business should aim to make the experience more meaningful to consumers as individuals
- Brands must showcase their social and emotional benefits, as well as highlighting the functional
- Teams that include “divergent thinkers with individual strengths and passions” should be promoted and championed within companies
- Businesses should enable consumers to have their say, and allow them to help influence a brand’s reputation (while not losing sight of their brand internally).
Richard Solomons, chief executive officer at IHG, said: “Technology has changed the way we behave in our daily lives. This has had a direct, and fundamental, impact on business. Global brands need to address the complex, sometimes opposing needs of today’s customers in order to fulfil their expectations.”
The report was the fifth in a series, revealing insights from IHG based on studies over a five-year period. Compiled with IHG partner Arcature, the reports have included nearly 40,000 interviews with travellers across the globe.
IHG seeks to incorporate these suggestions into its own business via its IHG Rewards Club loyalty scheme, which has over 100 million members.