08 Aug 2018

Hospitality & Tourism: Is This Industry Going Extinct?

The English loanword, ‘wanderlust’, deriving from a German etymology, literally translates to ‘hike’ and ‘desire’. Perhaps it also means to act on a whim and pack our bags and keep the industry evolving.

Millennials who believe in the ideal of wanderlust are the key force in today’s hospitality and tourism landscape. They are looking for premium services offered at a better value. They set out on a journey for various reasons from wanting to hone their crafts, to pursuing higher studies or even to tie knots at exotic wedding destinations.

The Gen Y or Gen Z populations rarely show up at travel agency offices, lest they are looking at a complex family trip with Boomers and Gen X who are comfortable with the dynamics of group travel.

With trends such as couch crashing or couch surfing, self-planned itineraries have grown immensely popular over the recent years. There are bolder players in the industry such as VRBO, Housli and Airbnb, which offer more than a typical hospitality establishment at an even competitive price.

As cited in a report published during the first quarter of 2018, 680 tour agencies in Singapore ceased operations over the past five years. The apparent reason behind the figures is predominantly the marginalisation of digitalised travel partners.

Airbnb tipped the scales of hospitality and tourism where hosts would list their properties online and guests would be spoilt for choices to pick from a single room to castles and houseboats even. This varies greatly from a typical cruise that you would normally book along with about hundreds other enthusiasts, ranging from kids to seniors.

It has become an imperative over the years that hotel establishments boast a compelling social media presence, be it in architectural terms, the services offered or even the ethics upheld, such as sustainability of the environment. The previous dynamics of mediocrity are not going down too well with the new wave of travellers who are choosing quality over quantity.

Holidaymakers are no longer looking for a room with an en-suite bathroom to put up for a night or two. They are looking for a cocoon to bask in while capturing those memories with their gadgets. They are looking to spend almost nothing on souvenirs and more on experiences. People are looking at buying travel products directly from a source rather than go through a third party situation, which is the case in most tour agency bookings. Hospitality institutions have evolved to the point that they have become brands that consumers or guests are looking to wear it and later flaunt it on social media. Shout out to globalisation for shrinking borders and keeping hospitality and tourism alive and sophisticated.