Change Is In The Air

Over the past months, EP has conducted four research assignments on key trends. The market is changing…

Change is always happening, and change is happening faster than ever before. But what does this mean and should it concern us?

The truth is the world is evolving in many new ways, but it is also returning to its core desires and principles, too. For the hotels sector, what are the key considerations to be reflected upon?

The view is that the market is changing at the fastest pace ever seen. There is a suggestion that every leading operation needs a specific food and beverage strategy which can be constantly reviewed and evolved. It is an exciting period that requires original thinking and innovation, but few operations are able to change at the market’s pace – which means most operators are not proactive, but reactive to the demands of clients who are leading the agenda. 

So what are the key areas to consider?

Sports is becoming increasingly important. There is a convergence of sport and fitness with hospitality. There has never before been any major commercial convergence of the sports and hospitality industry in Europe and a significant gap in the market exists for a credible sports resort to cater for both professional and amateur sports participants, their families, team mates and friends.

In the past, sport was a recreation for all but the very top athletes. Today, it has become a serious business; sport is far more than a pastime for those who embrace it and there are huge numbers embracing it today. In 2016, the number of executives exercising four times per week grew by 17%. In recent years, sport has become increasingly central to everyday life and also big business in its own right with major brands such as Nike and Adidas becoming household names and brands. The momentum for change has been supported by a social revolution which has seen personal fitness grow in importance.

Last year, the two fastest growing areas of exercise were triathlon and pilates. The largest sports across Europe today are swimming, running and cycling and this trend will continue as personal fitness becomes more a part of daily lifestyles. 

  • Increased desire for great spa facilities and operations. Spas are an option for self-reward and indulgence and this is now becoming a primary area of focus for the guest. Good spas can also act as a method for building links and relationships with the local community.
  • The Interactive. There is a need today for interactive, whereby there is more natural action between the hotel and guest. This can include the theatre of chefs cooking, or guests cooking together and preparing their own meals to just natural theatre within restaurants.
  •  The welcome is vital. Research has shown that most guests spend more if they are warmly welcomed. One of the great frustrations with hotels has been poor welcomes, although this seems to be improving considerably.
  • The market will increasingly be driven by younger demographics. One of the interesting questions for Hand Picked to consider is whether it is attracting the next generation to the hotels? Regardless, it is important to start developing plans for developing this audience. It is laying the ground for tomorrow. Research shows that market changes are being driven by those aged 18-35. The older generation still remain relatively loyal to core food styles, but will experiment and taste with new food styles. However, the younger generation are eating out more often than any previous generation and want broader food style options.
  • Future   Menu  Development Scenarios and Considerations. The 5 core, key influencers on menu development will be:
  1.    Responsible consumption – a commitment towards sustainability and environmental programmes
  2.    Premiumised informality in environment and style of service
  3.    Inspirational and adventurous food styles
  4.    Well-being and health
  5.    Trusted value


  •  Great F&B products developed for the young – fresh juices, smoothies, milk shakes.
  •  There is no doubt issues of sustainability and nutrition have moved from being a periphery strategic consideration to needing to be core/central. These considerations are here to stay and will become of increasing importance. The emerging generations will want to see companies committed to more sustainability and environmental friendly.
  •  There is a belief that the focus is too much on cost and not enough on revenue growth.
  • Overall, food standards have improved and there is greater investment in chefs and culinary which is good. The days of the celebrity chef is on the decline, but chefs are today seen as real craftsmen and clients are seeking greater investment into this area.
  • Development of hotels as social hubs for communication and networking. Hotels have become once again socially important.