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More new hotel brands targeting specific types of travellers will be created over the next few years, according to the boss of Intercontinental Hotels Group.
Richard Solomons, IHG’s chief executive, said that major hotel chains could no longer create brands which “tried to be everything to everybody” and instead needed to concentrate on new segments of the market.
Solomons was speaking at the launch of new research entitled “The new kinship economy: from travel experiences to travel relationships”, which has been commissioned by IHG.
The research looks at the trends likely to affect the hotel industry over the next 10 years including the growth of travellers from the emerging economies, particularly China and India.
The report, which has been compiled by research firm The Futures Company, identifies several “emerging categories of travellers” including a new type of business traveller dubbed as “laptop and latte workers”.
It says that these employees will find “the typical 9-5 working environment and business centre atmosphere alien to them”.
“They prefer creative coffee house-style environments where they can be inspired by meeting other travellers while they work on their own laptops and smartphones,” adds the report.
Other new groups of guests include multi-generational families travelling together and more “adventurous over-50s”, as well as “the invisible traveller” who may stay in hotels without ever interacting with the property’s staff.
Solomons highlighted IHG’s launch of its Chinese brand Hualuxe and the well-being specialist Even Hotels in the US as examples of how the company had targeted different types of travellers.
“The answer is segmentation because when companies have tried to be everything to everybody it has been confusing,” he said. “Doing everything for everybody is the route to commoditisation – I think the way forward is to move away from commoditisation to specialisation.
“We will adapt existing brands as well as creating new ones such as Hualuxe and Even Hotels.”
Solomons said that brands still remained important for customers despite the emergence of social media and review sites such as Trip Advisor.
“Having brands that stand for something makes it easier for people to make decisions,” he said. “A brand is a promise so that people know what they are getting. With so much information and so many channels to book, many people get confused.
“You have to deliver what people want – you cannot just do what you did 20 years ago. You have to change and be responsive to what they want.”