Can your hotel capitalise on the six megatrends changing the LATAM hotel market?

  Posted in Sales + Marketing

Trends dominating the Latin American hotel industry

Travellers from each region around the world cannot be marketed or sold to in the same way. Every demographic has unique preferences, predispositions, and expectations of brands. It’s imperative you understand these personal requirements and tailor your offers to better attract the particular market your hotel is targeting.

Sabre Hospitality recently released an extensive report on Latin American travellers, detailing the six most important trends hitting the market right now and some strategies hotels should consider in response.

Here are the key points you need to be aware of…

Trend #1
‘Status Seekers’

The desire to be recognised and hold some sort of status is almost inherent in the human condition. Many people want to feel important and will seek validation by showing off what they own, do, or create to others. In the modern world of technology and social media, it’s so much easier – and more addictive.

Travelling is one way to achieve this sense of status and it seems LATAM travellers hold it in high regard. Over 70% of Brazilians surveyed said people who travel are more interesting, compared to the global average of 64%. The distinction is even more prominent in the younger generations. Amongst Brazilian millennials, 41% believe it’s important to receive comments on vacation photos – the global average is 25%.

Over the last decade LATAM consumers have had much better access to education and technology, allowing them to enjoy more experiences and collect more stories to share than ever before.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

To stand out to status seeker travellers your hotel needs to offer something outside the square, something people will be excited to share and recommend. For an example, see the Papaya Playa Project in Mexico, which constructs treehouse suites.

In the last decade LATAM consumers have had more opportunity to experience and share stories

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Trend #2
‘Local Love’

Nowadays there is a huge emphasis on brands being authentic, convenient, and in touch with the surrounding environment. Brazilian millennials find this especially important, with 74% saying the most important factor when travelling is to have a unique experience that involves the local culture.

Local symbols, lifestyles, and traditions are never downplayed now, but treated as a source of pride. More people are also embracing local flavour by going beyond the major cities. In 2016, visitors to Brazil’s rural regions almost hit 100,000, up 28,000 from the previous year.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

For hotels, making plans to include and enrich the local culture is extremely beneficial. Not only will it please your current customers but it will improve your destination and attract more travellers. Capture attention by showcasing the best of local history and culture. In Colombia, Ink Crew rallied an entire neighbourhood to graffitti examples of local culture onto all the buildings.

Trend #3
‘Post-demographic’

Historically, Latin American communities had very straightforward, strict, and traditional practices. Everyone had a role and knew that carrying it out was a way of keeping communities strong. Things have changed now, as they have across the world.

Women in LATAM are fighting for equality in both their public and private lives. Thankfully, gender parity programs are being accelerated, for both indigenous women and working women in cities. The benefits are clear: if women worked at the same rate as men currently do, the per capita GDP gain would be 17% across Latin America.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

Brands that promote and enable female empowerment will be loved. Think about how you can make your hotel safer and more accessible for women, as well as how you can incorporate women in the creation of your brand image or marketing. Look at this example from Urban Mujer in Santiago, a co-working space set up exclusively for women.

Trend #4
‘Ubitech’

If anyone is feeling overwhelmed or over-saturated by technology in the modern age, it certainly isn’t Latin Americans. Newfound access and connectivity means this group is sprinting towards tech, rather than shrinking from it. The overall number of unique mobile subscribers in Latin America is forecast to reach 524 million by 2020, up from 414 million at the end of 2015, making Latin America the second-fastest growing global region.

72% of Brazilian millennials would be interested in a wearable device that would adjust the temperature of a hotel room and 65% were willing to share personal data to receive personal service. A further 72% of respondents over 18 considered their city unsafe to live in, but many feel technology can help in this regard too.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

Guest expectations around the convenience and security that technology offers are constantly growing. Think about how tech features at your hotel can make a guest’s stay easier while also making them feel more secure. For example, facial recognition to enter rooms or collect stored luggage.

Trend #5
‘Infolust’

Even though the growth of incomes in LATAM are slowing, connectivity is spreading quickly to the point where nine out of 10 people now own a smartphone. The influx of information this brings has changed the way people want and choose to communicate. This is reflected by the widespread uptake of messaging apps. WhatsApp is installed on at least half of the 242.8 million mobile devices in Brazil and 70% are willing to converse with companies through chat-based applications.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

It’s a good idea to at least consider where chatbots can help you and your guests save time. Not everything needs to be done face-to-face and in some cases, guests actually prefer being able to quickly find information or make a request via a chatbot.

Trend #6
‘Playsumers’

Gaming and interactivity are working their way into consumer lives more and more. The gaming industry in Brazil was worth $1.6 billion (USD) in 2016 – reaching market leadership in the region.

Consumers want to do more than observe. They want to interact with and inform their own experiences, especially with augmented reality and virtual reality becoming more prominent.

How can your hotel capitalise on this?

To provide more enjoyable and memorable stays at your hotel, try to combine physical and virtual experiences together. Make potentially boring parts of travelling more exciting. For instance, some people find it monotonous to search for accommodation, but if you offer a virtual tour of your hotel, they might be more engaged.

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