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Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

As the lockdown measures continue to the halt the industry’s reawakening from its slumber, editor Hamish Kilburn confronts the pandemic from a new vantage point…

The front cover of this month’s US Condé Nast Traveler has managed to harmonise the opinions of the uncertain, and no-doubt anxious, hospitality, design and travel industries worldwide.

“See the world in a new light” was the entirely relevant theme that the always forward-thinking Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Stevens, chose to run. I like to imagine the decision was made while working from home, after a new-found mindset enabled the self-isolating editorial desk to take a deep exhale before thinking about future issues, both in print as well as the complexities that lie ahead for the now-suffering travel industry.

“My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism.”

I say this because, as well as cheerleading Stevens’ sharp and at-times eccentric writing style from afar, I too am trying to broaden my horizons to look past the pandemic paralysis. My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism. As I write this, I am reminded by a friend that Issac Newton discovered the law of gravity while in self-isolation from the Great Plague of London. The point being that a change of focus – a welcome break from studio life, commuting hell and general disruption from our typical weekly routine – may just allow us to bury our heads into new drawings to metaphorically sketch the route towards a fresh, creative destination that is waiting on the other side.

Going back to drawing board is not only relevant for designers and architects, but also hoteliers in order to maximise service with design. In this month’s exclusive roundtable, it was mentioned that many hotels are using this time to enter a ‘re-opening’ mindset. For some leading luxury establishments, which opened nearly a decade ago, their doors being forced shut is an opportunity to confront challenges and to tweak and enhance the hotel’s design and service so that when it reopens, it is more relevant to tomorrow’s travellers and their hefty demands.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the pandemic will impact the industry in the long-term. But one thing, among others, is  crystal clear: post-pandemic, the definition of hospitality as we know it will change, perhaps permanently, to become more of an inclusive lifestyle where formalities are dissolved. Many designers, of course, such Geraldine Dohogne, the former Head of Design at Zannier Hotels, have caught on to this already, and are using this time to plot the ambiance of hospitality and lifestyle brands that will arrive in the future to challenge the conventional shells of yesterday’s luxury hotels.

Exhibitions, as we know them, are being forced to confront the inevitable change of scenery that lies ahead in the next chapter. HIX, for example, has themed its debut event ‘All together now’. The all-new interiors event that takes place in November at the Business Design Centre is encouraging designers to go as far as “unlearning what they know about industry” in order to explore new behavioural patterns and shifting perceptions that are dictating tomorrow’s hotel design landscape. The aim, with a dynamic exhibition line-up and inspirational speakers, is to inspire new and meaningful concepts to allow our industry the freedom to continue churning out boundless possibilities for tomorrow’s hotel guests. Sleep & Eat has also announced its return to London Olympia in November with its focus being on collaborations. “As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things,” explained the show’s director, Mark Gordon.

During the turbulent times that we are currently self-isolating in, Hotel Designs is committed to ensure that the industry is supported. Therefore, in direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, we have launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry. The exclusive package includes, among other benefits, three pieces of editorial content. If you would like to learn more on how you can take advantage of this one-time offer, please email Katy Phillips.

As the pandemic forces us to get used to a ‘new normal’ and to, as Stevens puts it: “see the world in a new light”, Hotel Designs has launched its official podcast. Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally– and will launch episode 1 shortly after the lockdown measures are relaxed.

In the meantime, the editorial team will keep you updated on all the latest developments in the COVID–19 crisis, while also supplying you with some inspirational content to speed up that much-needed change of perception. And, just for laughs, here are some images that capture freer times…

We will be released back into the wild again shortly… In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels/tibodhermy

5 minutes with: Radisson’s Hotel Group’s new Area SVP (UK, Ireland & Western Europe)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Radisson’s Hotel Group’s new Area SVP (UK, Ireland & Western Europe)

Radisson Hotel Group’s new Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe (UKIWE), Tom Flanagan Karttunen, speaks to Hotel Designs about project pipelines and where, geographically, is the next hotel hotspot…

Tom Flanagan Karttunen joined Radisson Hotel Group more than 20 years ago and has grown within the company, holding different leadership positions in numerous business areas at Radisson Blu Hotels in Copenhagen, Beijing, Manama, Hamburg and Galway. He has served as District Director Turkey, Azerbaijan & China, based in Istanbul, before being appointed as Area Vice President Eastern Europe & Russia, based in Moscow in 2009, and then Area Senior Vice President, Northern Europe. Most recently, though, he has become the group’s new Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe. 

Hamish Kilburn: What have you identified as being the main areas of change in your 20 years at Radisson?
Tom Flanagan Karttunen:
Radisson Hotel Group has made huge progress during my time with the company and is a leader in the hospitality industry, with properties situated in the heart of key global destinations. In 2019, Jin Jiang International acquired Radisson Hotel Group, becoming the second largest hotel chain in the world by number of rooms. Despite rapid growth, we have retained a customer centric approach, delivering best-in-class service to our guests. This is helped by our teams providing outstanding, personalised experiences and our hotels showcasing iconic, sophisticated and stylish design. My team and I have worked extremely hard to reposition our Northern Europe offering through an extensive renovation programme over the last few years, all with the aim of improving guest experience. With my expanded role, I now look forward to the opportunities to develop the UK, Ireland & Western Europe portfolio.

HK: Can you tell us a bit more about where, geographically, the brand is developing its portfolio within UK, Ireland and Western Europe?
TFK: There are exciting openings in the pipeline and large-scale renovations underway across the region in global hubs such as London, Madrid, Paris and Brussels. These projects include introducing the Radisson Collection and Radisson RED brands to countries and major cities where they don’t yet have a presence. For example, later this year we will open a Radisson RED in Greenwich, London, close to The O2, the world’s busiest concert and events venue.

“Beyond 2020, we already have more than 60 hotels in the pipeline for the region and no doubt more exciting developments to come.” – Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Area Senior Vice President for UK, Ireland & Western Europe

HK: Your new role requires you to grow talent, what do you look for in your employees?
TFK:
At Radisson Hotel Group, we are lucky to have the best talent in the industry. We value employees that embody our values and are willing to go the extra mile to give our guests exceptional service. Also, we are proud to have an international employee base that can understand how guest expectations differ between countries and regions, and therefore deliver the best possible service and experience.

HK: How many hotels is the group planning on opening this year? Can you divide into brands?
TFK: Across EMEA, we are on track to introduce 30 new offerings to the market within 2020, which are either new properties or significant renovations. Beyond 2020, we already have more than 60 hotels in the pipeline for the region and no doubt more exciting developments to come. In the UK, Ireland & Western Europe, our brands of focus for openings are Radisson Collection, Radisson RED and Radisson, our Scandinavian-inspired upscale brand, which is yet to arrive in the region.

Main image credit: Radisson Hotel Group

Spotlight On: May’s features announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spotlight On: May’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its May editorial features, which are Bars and Restaurants and Bathrooms… 

Throughout May, Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On features will look at two highly topical features, namely Bars & Restaurants and Bathrooms – both areas of which are transforming drastically in order to cater to modern travellers’ demands.

Bars and Restaurants

Colourful and lavish restaurant

Image credit: Dukes Dubai

With Gastronomy evolving to be a major travel trend, the design of a bar and of a restaurant has never been so important. Hotels are recreating and reopening these areas to become just as much of an experience as checking in or walking into a stunningly designed guestroom or suite. Instagrammable moments can now be captured in a design hotel’s dining areas, once a space reserved for guests-only, which is now desired to be the life and soul of the city open for all to enjoy.

Bathrooms

Modern bathroom in a shell of wooden structures

Image credit: Kaldewei

With our highly regarded Recommended Suppliers, we will explore, post-ISH, the heavily congested arena of bathroom design. Will colour finally find its way into the modern bathroom, and will the bathroom spa become a popular choice for designers who want to recreate amazing spaces? We will go beneath the surface to uncover all the hottest bathroom trends and we will try to discover what the hotel bathroom of the future will look like.

If you wish to find out more, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk

Main image credit: The Cow Hollow Hotel, Manchester

New beach villas unveiled at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

Ushering in the New Year with a bright contemporary look, Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort has unveiled luxuriously refurbished beach villas…

Nestled among lush foliage and silvery shores, the Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort has opened 75 new beach villas retain the resort’s relaxed beach ambiance, whilst now offering guests a refreshed palette of sophisticated neutral tones that reflect the island’s natural hues.

“Darker timbers have been lightened with soft ivory and beige.”

The new beach villas have undergone a striking transformation. Darker timbers have been lightened with soft ivory and beige, brightening the interiors and creating a refined beach-house vibe with infusions of tropical charm synonymous with Maldivian getaways.

Outside courtyard area in the beach villa

Image credit: Anantara

Bathrooms have also been rejuvenated to offer sleek indoor and outdoor spaces. Guests can sink into a deep oval tub in their courtyard garden, or retreat to the cool of a glassed-in air-conditioned area. On each villa terrace, a traditional Maldivian swing has also been added, lending an authentic touch of local culture, inviting guests to enjoy balmy island breezes in their own private sanctuary.

Aside from the visual transformation, villas also feature modernised amenities to reduce energy consumption, including an electricity system that shuts off when the room isn’t in use as well as bathtub designed to save water. These amenities work in line with Anantara’s wider sustainability goals, ultimately aiming to preserve this amazing destination in the 110 villas on the island.

To experience an idyllic Maldivian holiday immersed in contemporary island style, guests can choose from Sunrise Beach Villas, Sunset Beach Villas, Anantara Pool Villas, Sunset Pool Villas, Two-Bedroom Family Villas and Two-Bedroom Anantara Pool Villas. In addition to the refurbished beach villas, Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort offers guests Sunrise Over Water Suites, Sunset Over Water Suites and Anantara Over Water Pool Villas, for those looking to relax above the turquoise waters of the Maldives.

Main image credit: Anantara

Travel & tourism responsible for 7 million jobs worldwide

1024 683 Katy Phillips

New research has revealed that travel & tourism was responsible for the creation of 7 million new jobs worldwide.

2017 was a particularly good year for the travel industry, which grew at 4.6%, outgrowing the global economy for the seventh connective year (3% growth in 2017).

Commissioned by WTTC’s annual Economic Impact Research, the study found that Travel & Tourism was the fastest growing broad economic sector globally, with stronger growth than retail and wholesale (3.4%), manufacturing (4.2%), agriculture, forestry and fisheries (2.6%) and financial services (2.5%).

Commenting on the report, Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “Travel & Tourism creates jobs, drives economic growth and helps build better societies. Our research shows that our sector was responsible for the creation of one in five of all jobs globally. In the last few years, Governments around the world are realising the extraordinary benefits of tourism and I congratulate them for taking steps to maximise the potential of our sector.

“2017 was the best year on record for the Travel & Tourism sector. We have seen increased spending as a result of growing consumer confidence, both domestically and internationally, recovery in markets in North Africa and Europe previously impacted by terrorism and continued outbound growth from China and India. This is great news for the millions of people who depend on our sector for their livelihoods.”

Direct, Indirect & Induced Impact

Travel & Tourism’s direct, indirect and induced impact in 2017 accounted for:

  • US$8.3 trillion contribution to global GDP (10.4%)
  • 313 million jobs, one in 10 around the world
  • US$1.5 trillion exports (6.5% of total exports, 28.8% of global services exports)
  • US$882 billion investment (4.5% of total investment)

Some of the leading highlights globally include:

  • Europe’s performance was better than previously expected with 4.8% growth as long-haul demand (dampened in 2016 by terrorism concerns) recovered strongly, accompanied by strong intra-regional travel thanks to the strength of the European economy. In 2017, European airlines recorded passenger growth of 8.1% and over 1 billion passengers for the first time
  • Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP in North Africa grew by 22.6% in 2017, showing a strong rebound from the impacts of terrorism in previous years. Stellar performance from Egypt (72.9%) and solid growth in Tunisia (7.6%) inspire confidence in the region as tourism activity continues to recover to pre-attack levels
  • Asian countries continue to drive global tourism growth with North East Asia growing at 7.4% and South East Asia at 6.7%. China continues to lead the way at 9.8%. Over the next ten years over one third of absolute GDP growth and nearly half of employment growth will be generated by China and India
  • Latin America showed a decline of 1.4% in tourism GDP, largely a result of a contraction in international spend to the largest Latin American economy, Brazil, of 18.1% compared to 2016, and compounded by the ongoing political and economic problems in Venezuela

Looking ahead

Guevara added: “As our sector continues to become more important both as a generator of GDP and jobs, our key challenge will be ensuring this growth is sustainable and inclusive.  Already in 2017, we have begun to see a backlash against tourism in some key destinations. Going forward we need to ensure that growth is planned for, well managed and includes partnerships between not only the public and private sectors but also includes communities themselves. There is a huge opportunity for governments to capitalise on the opportunities Travel & Tourism brings to create new jobs, especially in those economies where many jobs are threatened by new technologies.  WTTC looks forward to partnering with governments around the world to ensure benefits for all.”

Forecasts suggest slower growth in 2018 than 2017 as a result of higher oil prices. By 2028 Trevel & Tourism is expected to support over 400 million jobs globally, equating to one in nine jobs worldwide, with the sector contributing to 25% of global net job creation over the next decade.

WTTC’s Economic Impact Research is the only global dataset on the economic impact of Travel & Tourism, covering 185 countries and 20 regional groupings. It can be accessed at www.wttc.org.

trivago Reveals Autumn Traveller Trends for the UK

trivago reveals Autumn traveller trends for UK

750 459 Daniel Fountain

London, as expected, is the most popular destination this autumn with the greatest search volume coming from international travellers. Cardiff has overtaken London by the highest average clicked price among overseas visitors and Germans account for the largest group of travellers from off-shore countries.

This autumn, 64% of all search inquires to UK destinations have been made by domestic travellers. Based on search volume, German travellers make up the largest group of visitors coming from overseas followed by travellers from the US, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Canada and Denmark.

London is the most searched destination in the UK, accounting for 67% of all UK searches from the top 10 visiting countries. Edinburgh takes the second place followed by Blackpool, the third most popular city for the UK residents. However, Blackpool ranks much lower (closing the top 30) for international travellers who prefer Liverpool.

Lenka Trckova, Industry Management UK & Ireland, Hotel Relations: “Our data shows that travellers from all around the world will pay the highest prices for hotels in London, Cardiff and Liverpool. Cardiff is for overseas visitors even more expensive than London, reaching the average level of £137 per night. We can see a significant difference in search behaviour between international and domestic travellers particularly in London and Edinburgh. For these longstanding popular destinations, UK residents pay roughly £20 more than international visitors.”

The average duration of stay reveals that travellers from the UK will mostly take short two-night trips this autumn. On the contrary, visitors from France, Italy and Denmark are likely to stay longest, as they search for stays of four nights on average.

For further insights and more detailed information about traveller behaviour and popular destinations in the UK, visit the trivago Hotel Manager Blog.

About the data
The 2017 autumn travel trends are based on data gathered from trivago.com searches between 1 June – 2 August 2017, for the period of 1 October – 30 November 2017 and includes searches for stay of three and more days. All prices shown are the average clicked prices selected by trivago users for a standard double room.

Vienna top business destination in Europe alongside London

London, Vienna top destinations for business in Europe

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Business trips are a possible indicator of economic growth. If the volume of business travel increases or falls in certain regions, it is possible to draw conclusions about the economy there…

London and Vienna are the most popular business destinations in Europe. Outside Europe, European business travelers travel most frequently to New York and Shanghai.

BC Travel analysed data connected to business travel and published the results in the latest issue of “Cities & Trends Report”. The report is based on flight booking data from eight major business travel markets in Europe: Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Compared to 2015, there were only minor changes in the ranking of the most popular business destinations in Europe. Top performers in terms of cities are London, Vienna and Amsterdam.

London hotelsThanks to an increase of 7.1% in air travel to Barcelona, the city climbed from 9th to 6th place. Madrid is the second Spanish city in the ranking with an increase – 14.9%. It is the number one jumper and has moved to 8th place. The increase in flights to the two Spanish cities is linked to the recovery of the Spanish economy, which grew by 3.2% in 2016.

In terms of countries, the UK is on top, with Germany and Spain in second and third, respectively. Intercontinental trips from Europe are on the rise. New York and Shanghai remain the first and second in terms of intercontinental business destinations for European business travelers. In 2016, Dubai has overtaken Beijing and Singapore with an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year.

One of the reason for this is the fact that Dubai is preparing for the World Expo 2020. Many affordable hotels are opening, making it a less expensive place to hold meetings and events.

Country-wise, the United States remain on top of business travel preferences. Developing countries China and India come second and third, respectively. Most business trips take place after the summer holidays in September (9.5%). Due to the holidays, December is the least frequented month (5.6%).

Originally from Tourism Review, read here… 

trivago UK traveller trends this summer

Brexit A Year On: trivago reveals UK traveller trends this summer

604 437 Daniel Fountain

trivago data shows that London is the most popular destination for international visitors, beach locations are popular with locals, travellers from Ireland, Italy and France are searching for the longest stays, and hotel guests from USA and Australia search for the highest prices-per-night on average.

These are just some of the insights from an analysis of summer travel trends in the United Kingdom, which reveals where international travellers are visiting from, and compares their search behaviour and destinations-of-choice with those of domestic travellers.

The top ten destinations in the UK account for more than 87% of searches from international travellers, to UK destinations. The most searches from off-shore countries to UK destinations are from Germany, USA, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden, are the top countries based on searches for UK hotels.
The most popular destinations for domestic and inbound travellers is London, followed by Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow ranks much lower for UK residents, who prefer Blackpool, Bournemouth, other seaside locations and other cities.

The most popular destinations for domestic and inbound travellers is London, followed by Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow ranks much lower for UK residents, who prefer Blackpool, Bournemouth, other seaside locations and other cities.

Traveller behaviour from the key markets, for searches to destinations around the globe, show that travellers from Australia are the biggest spenders, with an average clicked price per night of £161, followed by USA with £152 and the UK with £151.

Visitors from Ireland, Italy, and France are likely to stay the longest, searching for stays of eight nights on average, to destinations worldwide.

The most popular week to travel varies for each visiting country, but in terms of search volume from all markets the biggest influx of travellers is set to arrive in the UK in the week beginning 31 July.

For more detailed insights into popular destinations and traveller behaviour for the UK this summer, visit the trivago Hotel Manager blog.