Dalata’s recently reported pandemic bounceback, with “a faster-than-anticipated recovery in hotel markets over the past four months”, makes for positive reading after the challenges of the past few years (‘Dalata bounces back from pandemic as hotel revenue rises’). As confidence returns, I think we are going to see quite a shift in the sector.

Expect fewer new builds and more renovation, repositioning and conversion projects. Due to new working patterns and less conventional office tenant demand, many cities have a huge surplus of well-located class-B and class-C space ripe for conversion, either under existing ownership or after changing hands to savvy investors.

This aligns with the now non-negotiable focus on ESG – never again should we demolish an existing structure unless it is truly unavoidable. The greenest building is the one that already exists.

In the same way we are seeing hybrid working, we are seeing more hybrid hospitality projects that blend hotels with serviced apartments and co-living. This mirrors the rising trend of travellers taking fewer but longer trips combining business and leisure – what we now refer to as ‘bleisure’.

We are also seeing a much bigger focus on the premium offer. Post-pandemic, attitudes toward travel have changed, with many opting to upgrade their experience.

Successful lifestyle hotels today generate 50% of their revenue from food and beverage, meaning it can be a catalyst for hotel recovery and should be factored into the mix for future success.

Technology will also play a part. This doesn’t mean I, Robot-style AI staff, but more invisible, seamless tech designed to enhance the guest experience by freeing up staff to provide a more personal, heightened service, informed and curated by sophisticated data capture and guest profiling.

The conclusion? Reimagine and refit what we have to deliver authentic, premium customer-centric experiences and destinations with an environmental and ethical conscience. That is the recipe for long-term success.

Todd Lundgren, principal, CRTKL