2019 Hospitality Trends

2019 Hospitality Trends

The “Prediction Season” has begun, with many hospitality, travel and food organizations and consultants releasing their 2019 trends. We at BTC have scoured these predictions and have compiled our own “Top Trends in Travel, Hospitality, Food and Weddings in 2019.”

Travel Trends

  1. New destination inspiration

Travelers will be exploring the places of their personal ancestry, which they found via DNA kits. And, kids are taking a more active role in choosing where to go and what to do. Some kids are getting ideas from social media influencers, hoping to have fun, emulate favorites and/or impress peers.

  1. Socially and eco-conscious travel

Travelers are using car rentals as a way to try out electric vehicles. They are avoiding single-use plastic, too. And they are considering human rights, fair trade, working conditions and environmental concerns when deciding where to book. LGTBQ friendliness is also a factor many will consider.

  1. Self-improvement

Representing a new type of currency and means of personal fulfilment, 2019 will see a focus on travelers making choices with extra significance as they look to add more purpose to their trips – learning new skills (not just knowledge) and volunteering while traveling (e.g. the Appren-trip).

  1. Short trips/micro vacations

Improvements in flight routes, transportation, on demand car rentals and accommodations mean people can take more weekends as micro-holidays. (Good news for all you workaholics – huh?)

  1. “Bleisure”

Yeah – it’s a silly name, but it’s a real thing. Younger adult travelers are mixing or extending business trips with recreation and vacations. 

  1. Authenticity

Travelers are focusing on good service and authentic interaction during their travels – not hotel’s technology and novelties. It’s less about museums and ancient and past cultures than interacting with locals. And, when planning activities, experiences are more important than materialism.

  1. Convenience-based innovation

Technological innovation is still important to travelers when it makes things easier, like keyless entry via phone, personalized travel tips and robot concierges who can speak in different languages.

  1. Last minute travel

It’s the age of the procrastinating traveler. Among luxury travelers, bookings are made an average of 5 days before the stay. 

  1. Wellness trips

Think “Painmoon”: It’s like a honeymoon or babymoon, but it’s about getting over a loss or period of stress or bad health. Basically, it’s a post-bad thing wellness trip. Momcations and Mumcations will also increase, involving a trip to take a short break from child rearing to recharge batteries. And consider Nature Immersion Getaways, Preventative Wellness, Active Lifestyle Retreats, Divorce Retreats, Tough & Transformative Wellness, Menopause Retreats, the New Middle-aged Man Trip, Fertility Trips, Sugar Detox, Sleep Performance Trips and Silence Retreats. And there’s plenty more!

  1. Joy and wonder

Travelers are looking for venues with lighting unspoiled by urban lighting (i.e., dark, non-light-polluted skies). Two-fifths of travelers are interested in destinations that make them feel like a kid again. And. playful touches like adult-friendly ball pits and bouncy castles will become popular.

Sources: Lonely Planet, Luxury Travel Advisor, Forbes Travel Guide, Budget Travel, Elle UK, Booking.com, Refinery 29, Health and Fitness Travel, Quartzy

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Hospitality Food Trends

  1. Farm to table 2.0

The farm-to-table movement has recently taken a new path. Restaurants are bringing farmers to the table, involving them in menu creation and even asking them to plant specific crops just for their menus. These relationships between restaurants and local farms help to support and sustain farming.

  1. Interesting local food and beverage

Celebrity chefs are out as hotels stop competing with fine dining restaurants and turn instead to good, relatively simple, wholesome and local food service. Upscale and upper upscale hotels are asking what interesting things they can do with their space in their neighborhood, and we are seeing lots of clever things — not the same menu in 500 hotels, but genuine, interesting, local and tasty offerings.

  1. Vegetarianism

The popularity of vegetarianism has changed the way chefs approach menu offerings. With today’s diners increasingly aware of their “macro diets” and culinarians applying unique and creative takes on mom’s succotash, menus will soon see a large portion dedicated to vegetarians and what is plant-based and coming from the ground. Dishes are even becoming vegetable-focused, with proteins as the compliment. Even vegetarian tasting menus are quickly becoming the staple in many accredited establishments.

  1. Diversity of food and eating experience

There’s a big focus on dining options/restaurant variety, food quality and diversity, cooking classes and demonstrations, foodie events and fresh organic produce from on-site gardens and greenhouses. Karisma Resorts, for example, are known as the gourmet all-inclusive, and they really cater to foodies. In Mexico, guests of their El Dorado Royale can join the audience at the Fuentes Culinary Theatre, a Food Network-style demonstration kitchen. Karisma also has partnerships with Jackson Family Wines and Canadian Beef, and hosts weekly events featuring their products. Excellence Resorts also has a focus on diverse dining, with multiple Caribbean and Mexico locations that offer 10 international restaurants and up to 16 bars.” 

  1. Fermentation

Consumer demand for items like Korean kimchi and sauerkraut started in the wellness world, where nutritionists praised the good bacteria in fermented products for promoting a “healthy gut.” Boutique/lifestyle hotels and chef-driven, trendy eateries are introducing various styles of home-grown kombucha (fermented tea). These same businesses will expand their line to include more kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh and kefir – all with the focus on consuming the least processed food possible—increasing probiotics to improve the immune system.

  1. Marijuana in food and drink

Big Beer and Big Soda – including Corona, Heineken-owned Lagunitas, Molson and Coca-Cola – are giving thumbs-up to pleasurably ingesting marijuana and hemp. Restaurants are tinkering with this stuff, too. Some explanation first: THC, a compound in marijuana leaves, gets you high. Cannabidiol or CBD, comes from hemp, gets you mellow and maybe relieves pain… but won’t get you high. Right now, CBD is where it’s at. Early adapters: millennials, of course. Vegans and vegetarians. Wall Streeters. And the wellness crowd that revels in mindfulness and meditation. The rest of us will follow. Hotshot mixologists are busy concocting CBD cocktails with or without booze… and chefs are assembling CBD tasting dinners and even THC-laced dishes.

  1. Meat alternatives go mainstream

The meatless revolution is underway. No, it’s not just diehard vegans and vegetarians opting for meat-free eats. Eight in 10 millennials regularly consume meatless alternatives. Even more surprising, taste is the top reason that Americans are ordering more plant-based proteins. So, it’s time to swap out that premade, frozen veggie burger and up your game.

  1. Increasingly global tastes

You can thank Generation Z for the rise in international food trends. To these young, adventurous eaters, international cuisine doesn’t mean conventional Italian, Mexican, or Chinese. Instead, they’re hungry for Indian, Middle Eastern and African eats. To bring these faraway flavors to your menu, look to spices first. In 2018, the North African za’atar spice was the “it” seasoning. Sprinkle it on a salad or hummus with a little olive oil. Instead of paprika sprinkled over deviled eggs or roast chicken, try sumac (one of the ingredients in the za’atar spice blend).

  1. Rotisserie chicken goes bold

“Rotisserie Chicken Catches Fire.” No, we’re not talking about Costco rotisserie here (although those are pretty delicious). Restaurant chefs are putting creative twists on the classic bird: adding notice-me spices, international flavors, savory dipping sauces, and locally sourced ingredients. Think of the humble whole chicken as a blank canvas for applying the latest food trends.

  1. Sustainability in food/beverage packaging

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September that bans full-service restaurants in the state from handing out single-use plastic straws to customers — unless they ask for one. This makes California the first state to ban restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws. Some cities have already taken similar steps; Seattle also banned the use of plastic utensils. Full-service restaurants can still hand out paper or metal straws unprompted by customers. Vancouver, the first major Canadian city to ban plastic straws (effective 2019), has also adopted a ban on the distribution of polystyrene foam cups and containers next year. Vancouver also adopted restrictions on disposable cups. One alternative to the plastic straw? Straws made from pasta – some even gluten free!

Sources: Benchmark, Bjorn Hanson (NYU Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality), Dawn Gillis (World Travel Holdings), Baum + Whiteman, Buzztime.cmo, Mintel Group LTD, Nation’s Restaurant News, Sustana Group

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Wedding Trends

  1. General trends

Weddings will be eco-conscious; no foam in the flowers, locally sourced ingredients, flowers that can be replanted and minimal plastic decorations. Sunday weddings will be more common as will be co-ed bridal parties, with bridesmen and groomswomen, best women, etc. There will be fewer “barn-themed” weddings (mason jars/burlap, wildflowers); instead, more old mills and factories will be used as reception spaces with industrial decorative touches. Custom archways and altars are in. More weddings will emulate recent British royal weddings (e.g., Harry and Megan; Princess Eugenie). Event brand consistency is on the rise – from save-the-date cards to invitations to signage with custom designs. And, the use of drone photography will explode as couples seek to get perfect aerial shots of outdoor weddings.

  1. Decorative themes

Greenery is increasingly being brought indoors: potted trees, foliage, moss and grasses – as hangings, as walls, on tables, as chargers – everywhere. Simplified and refined elegance are gaining – as are monographs – and velvet!

  1. Bouquets

Fewer flowers; quality over quantity – including a few stunners. Deep-colored flowers such as purple or red Dahlias.

  1. The tables

Textured linens and layers tablescapes are on the rise. Flowers or their substitutes are all over the place: sculptured floral installations as centerpieces; plants and herbs are replacing flowers at many tables; patterned flower vases are in; and long banquet table are being adorned with rows of flowers in the middle. Candles of varying heights are being used, as well as customized, laser-cut placards and menus. Lastly – black flatware.

  1. Colors

Color your wedding purple or with pastels. Or, how about celadon green (a term for pottery denoting wares glazed in the jade green celadon color, also known as greenware.

  1. Favors

Location-themed favors are popular – based on couples’ history or the location of the wedding.

  1. Cake

Cakes are becoming opulent with sugar work, metallic accents and bespoke designs. They are beautiful on the inside, too – like ombre tiers.

  1. Reception food/drink

The trend toward different food stations instead of one buffet continues: custom pizza, taco stands, sushi bars. And instead of serving canapes, elegant grazing tables are abundant. Instagram worthy! Interactive specialty bars, such as for scotch tastings, are on the rise, too.

Sources: The Knot, Brides, The Independent, Brides Magazine UK, Wedding Wire, The Every Girl

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If one of these trends sparks an idea, two, or three, let’s chat. As you know, earning publicity and executing marketing campaigns that put heads on beds are what we do.

Tom Cancelmo: