Hotel and tourism sectors set to be transformed by changing demographics and travellers seeking bespoke experiences

08 June 2017

Demographic trends and social media will continue to transform the way people travel and take holidays, with the European hotels and hospitality sector required to evolve further in order to meet changing demand, says Savills. In its European Hotels Megatrends report the international real estate advisor predicts a number of key trends that will drive the sector in 2030.

Destination trends:

  • Europe will continue to be the preferred destination for a rising number of ‘silver’ travellers from the EU, Asia and Middle East. These travellers, who are not willing to grow old gracefully, will not be willing to holiday gracefully either and will favour more activity and experienced-based getaways, such as sports holidays and retreats off the beaten track. Due to many younger travellers also seeking the same experiences, by 2030 there will be a crossover of generations visiting the same holiday hotspots.
  • Single holiday makers, across all generations, will form a larger proportion of travellers and will want to meet like-minded people without compromising on dates, location and activities. Hotels will therefore need to be more accommodating of those travelling alone and will have to consider removing/reducing single supplements. With their confidence buoyed by increased digital connectivity, more solo travellers will also venture beyond traditionally ‘easy’ city destinations to more obscure locations. 
  • Social media will drive a boom for holidays where travellers can ‘access the inaccessible’. With no new destinations by 2030, travellers will seek out spots that enable them to impress their followers in other ways. Destinations that challenge expectations, were previously perceived as ‘risky’ and/or are very hard to access will be in demand. Extreme and ostentatious activities will also be more popular for the same reason, with travellers spending more on specialist guides and excursions to help them find hidden gems.

Hotel trends:

  • Facial recognition software will be in common use across hotels targeting business travellers, speeding up check in, while hotel loyalty programmes will store increasing amounts of information on travellers’ preferences to ensure each visit is personalised. Lobbies will offer large, elaborate work/social spaces, with extended food and drink options, as hotels compete with serviced office providers some may even look to sub-let areas to operators to use as flexible workspace. 3D motion technology will also be available to enable travellers to interact in real time with colleagues in an immersive environment. 
  • While the average hotel bedroom may shrink to accommodate larger communal spaces, rooms will be personalised with guests being greeted by their favourite film on TV, their chosen lighting levels and their drink preference waiting in the mini bar, as the hotel industry competes with home-sharing platforms. 
  • Hotels will polarise between online and offline. Most will offer superfast wifi, letting guests to live-stream every moment of their stay, but others, unwilling or unable to compete, will be offline sanctuaries for travellers who have privacy concerns or wish to digital detox. 
  • Ecotourism will be a way of life by 2030 and eco hotels will no longer be exceptional. Approximately 73% of Millennials and Generation Z say they are prepared to pay more to travel sustainably, compared to 51% of baby boomers, so to attract them hotels will need to demonstrate they minimise their carbon footprint, generate their own energy, use fair trade products and support local communities, all without compromising on comfort.

George Nicholas, global head of hotels at Savills, says: “Young travellers prioritise ‘experience’ and creating bespoke trips to maximise their leisure time, making them dubious of impersonal hotels and of following well-trodden tourist trails. Alongside this you have the already well-travelled baby boomers who are not willing to compromise on comfort or experience as they grow older. Hotels therefore will need to focus on what they can provide that is truly unique and how they can tailor and personalise their offer, be that for a 22 year old single traveller or a 65 year old couple, to continue to capture their custom in 2030.”

Alice Marwick, European research analyst at Savills, adds: “Ecotourism will be mainstream by 2030 and therefore will be impossible to ignore: those hotels that fail to demonstrate their eco credentials when faced with competitors at a similar price point that do are set to lose out. Given continued growth in social media use, hotels may also need to decide which side of the digital divide they fall on: committing to either providing a fully-integrated digital experience or stepping away and offering a reflective, unplugged environment.”

View Savills full Travel Megatrends report here


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Key Contacts

George Nicholas

George Nicholas

Global Head of Hotels

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7409 9904