Lifestyle trends to dominate the hotel and resort industry

May 03, 2023 | 16:05
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The competition between hotels and resorts in Vietnam is now not only about service quality or culinary quintessence – industry heads say it is about diverse lifestyle experiences to engage younger people, who currently account for 30 per cent of the population.
Lifestyle trends to dominate the hotel and resort industry
Lifestyle trends to dominate the hotel and resort industry

Last month, Meliá Hotels & Resorts organised a special survey trip for more than 20 tour operators in the northern region, after officially taking over three Vinpearl hotels in Haiphong, Ha Nam, and Thanh Hoa provinces.

The trip especially focused on introducing popular attractions in the three destinations as well as the hotel service experience, as suggestions for travel agencies to develop rich tour products when bringing tourists to Meliá Vinpearl hotels.

A total of 12 Vinpearl hotels in Vietnam were taken over by Meliá Hotels & Resorts late last year. Rebranded as Meliá Vinpearl, the resorts will be refreshed both in terms of service and experience, in accordance with the true spirit of hospitality of the Spanish hotel brand.

Céline Guyomarc’h, cluster general manager for Meliá Vinpearl in North Vietnam said, “Now, we aim not only to provide accommodation but also to add value to a destination. Visitors will have opportunities to visit the famous landmarks of the destination, and experience the harmonious combination of local cuisine.”

While the tourism industry is struggling to reach its pre-pandemic recovery in some areas, hotels and resorts are currently trying to reinvent themselves to keep up with changing tourist preferences.

According to Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia-Pacific, Vietnam’s hospitality market is recording some positive results. The reopening of key tourist markets in Northeast Asia such as China and Japan is also expected to generate positive signals to Vietnam’s tourism industry in the near future.

Currently, the occupancy of hotels in Ho Chi Minh City has experienced significant recovery, fast reaching 2019 levels. However, Nha Trang and Danang are still facing many challenges, as operating margins in these areas are still 40-60 per cent lower than in destinations like Bali and Phuket.

“Inflation, expensive airline costs, and shortage of human resources in the industry have greatly affected the recovery of tourism activities. Projects that have been properly implemented and are correctly managed will recover faster,” Gasparotti pointed out.

The repositioning of hotels and resorts is taking place in a stronger fashion – many hotel owners are working with operators to upgrade and renovate projects at a faster pace. The cooperation between hotel brands is also helping projects increase their competitiveness in the market via raising brand standards and utilising marketing and distribution networks.

However, the Vietnamese market still lacks new accommodation products to meet the needs of young customers who focus on the experience space, and not simply a place to stay, as assessed by speakers in March at Meet The Experts, Vietnam’s largest hospitality and real estate conference.

“Most of the hotel brands on the market today belong to the traditional group, without much presence of lifestyle brands. But Millennials make up 30 per cent of Vietnam’s population and are promoting and shaping the travel landscape,” said Norbert Vas, COO of Archipelago Indochina at the event in Ho Chi Minh City.

“The Vietnamese market has great potential for the development of the lifestyle model thanks to vast local talent and creativity and a burgeoning young domestic class of sophisticated travellers who would gladly embrace the lifestyle concept if executed correctly,” he added.

It is expected that over the next few years, the lifestyle brand group will increase its recognition in the market with the entry of brands such as Voco, Hyde, Hotel Indigo, Caption by Hyatt, L7, and Garrya.

Meanwhile, many hotels and resorts have also undergone major renovations to keep up with emerging lifestyle trends in the market, including the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials, and the trend of luxurious dining experiences.

The Anam Mui Ne, the second resort from The Anam Group which opened in January, borrows deeply from the templates of architecture inspired by the grand old French villas in Hanoi and the garden homes of Central Vietnam. It also pays homage to both colonial-era and classic Vietnamese aesthetics.

The resort also has a ban on single-use plastics and has implemented an array of measures to reduce its carbon footprint, ranging from solar power and locally sourced ingredients. The resort was recently honoured to become the only representative of Vietnam to join the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio, an exclusive selection of boutique independent luxury properties.

According to statistics from Savills Hotels, luxury supply accounts for 2 per cent of the total current hotel rooms, but accounts for 5 per cent of the total supply that is being deployed and expected to be put into operation in the next three years.

Besides the increasing supply of hotel rooms, the luxury branded residence market is also receiving interest in Vietnam.

Anthony Moulton, CEO of Brand & Co, one of Asia-Pacific’s most highly regarded experience-driven branding agencies, commented, says time and space are gradually becoming a new luxury concept. “The concept of true luxury must create a relaxing space for the mind through the quality of space, services, utilities, light and atmosphere, rather than simply relying on the use of high-quality materials,” he said. “The attraction of luxury products comes from two factors: prestige, and the affirmation of the image of the owner.”

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