The evolution of an industry – the customer is leading change as traditional boundaries break down.

Hospitality has come a long way over the years. The term Hospitality originated from a French word “Hospice” which means “Taking care of the travellers”. In Old times, locals used to let the travellers rest on kitchen floors or other extra spaces during their journey. One could argue that the whole concept of Air B’n’ B was close in ethos to these origins than to hospitality. Maybe life never changes so much. People today don’t mind sharing spaces. They love meeting and interacting with locals as well as fellow travellers. Traditional barriers are being broken down as people seek stronger, more authentic experiences. This is why concepts of youth hostels and home-hospitality have become new trends and lodging is seeing a stronger resurgence.

The big difference with Air B’n’B is that it has opened up options on a global scale which never existed before its founding in 2008. It acts as a marketplace connecting people who wanted to rent their property with those who want to rent it. Since more and more people are traveling for business or for leisure, this gives them a very convenient and affordable option. Also, there has been a great hike in the number of solo travellers globally. These solo travellers not much bothered about the amenities.

However, today the whole market is splitting between convenience and the need for something which fulfils a greater need. Hospitality is an escape; it offers something of greater value than simple convenience. In the days of old, hospitality was about providing safe places for rest but today the consumer is seeking so much more. It is asking for an experience which stands apart.

Over the years, the purpose of traveling changed. The hospitality industry that we can see today is evidence of how society too is changing. The one constant is that hospitality is all about the customer. This is the exciting part of today as all companies need to once again start to place the customer first. The industry is consistently evolving to become more advanced. In just the last two years, the industry is exploring new heights with new services being developed and offered as well as exciting new venues. We can see it in technological advancement, in design, in new services.

All the above leads to a common thread which will become arguably stronger as we move forward – greater interaction between hospitality, local culture and community. Research is suggesting that customers still love a brand they trust but they want to see stronger interaction with local cultures and communities. There will be stronger immersive experiences which emerge with lines being crossed. Traditional boundaries will change and breakdown in the name of stronger experiences and stronger revenues.

It can be an exciting new era to emerge.