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Similar to any other industry, hospitality involves supply and demand. When it comes to the restraint business, the food trends are the demand and you are the supply. In addition, common movements in dining varieties became apparent in the final quarter of 2017. Customers desire food that fulfills their conscience and their body, even though it cost more. However, to effectively revise a menu, it is substantial to understand what is influencing the current food trends. The current trends of health foods, sustainable services and practices, and technological integration in the hospitality industry are spreading globally at a fast pace that will continue into the next decade with more positive than negative impacts on the environment and customers.
Health FoodsCustomers are gradually opting for other diets, from vegetarianism, paleo, and veganism, to low FODMAP plus the ketogenic diet. In 2017 food trends, vegan, organic, and healthy menus were the top three, leading to the conclusion that healthy foods are on the rise (Future Food, 2018). Although the description of healthy may differ to some extent between these diets, the similarity is likely to remain consistent. What is more, restaurants thought to be unhealthy have faced numerous challenges since the beginning of cleaner eating habits. In the hospitality sector, more consumption of plant-based foods and lesser sugar content have been taking the lead on the health-food trend since 2015 (Schuckert, Liu, and Law, 2015).
In addition, as natural sugars are being campaigned against by various consumer groups, sweet foods are making way to innovation with tasty foods, for instance, beetroot yogurt, or fermented soft drinks such as kombucha. Health food trends seem to be doing better in 2018, with the invention of more vegan establishments, clarity in the origin of the food, the increase of the poke bowl, and paddock-to-plate ideas. This trend in the direction of more healthy and nutritious food will carry on into 2019 and beyond with customers becoming more enlightened, knowledgeable, and aware regarding what they are consuming (Daniels Insurance, Inc., 2018).
The first positive impact of the health foods trend is that the necessity for particular types of foods will constantly push consumer decisions. One can exploit this change by providing healthy food alternatives to interested potential clients. Second, there have been efforts to generate healthy vending machines that would carry detox salad in place of the conventional candy bar. Third, there have been various encouraging feedbacks for these vending machines, however; other foods still take the first position, with the Marriott burger being deemed as a popular option among consumers.
Hotels are guaranteeing their health food is excellent compared with rival hotels. Since not every person will want a detox salad, they might be at an advantage providing also something that their clients are more used to (Future Food, 2018). Fourth, with numerous people apprehensive in regards to the manner in which their food is grown and harvested, consumers are increasingly opting for the idea of consuming more plant-based foods compared to meat. As restaurants strive to adjust to the increasing need for organic and “clean” consumption, the developments embrace more vegetarian alternatives, vegan options, focusing on vegetables, and offering non-dairy ingredients.
One negative impact of the health foods trend is the total abolishment of unhealthy foods like hamburgers, soda, and French fries. For example, since 2007, Westin collaborated with SuperFoodsRx, and at the beginning of 2018, the brand launched a healthy menu for kids. Another negative impact is that some nations, cities, and towns encounter extreme lows and highs of accessibility of health foods. This outcome may be caused by price, weather, or events particular to a specific time of the year. Throughout the high season, numerous jobs are easily available for the locals in the hospitality sector, but those jobs end immediately the high season is over.
As a result of this job instability, for the most part of the year, the people are left with not revenue, increasing joblessness and poverty concerns for areas that strongly depend on tourism (Daniels Insurance, Inc., 2018).
Consumers are increasingly starting to pay more attention to sustainability. Interest began with subjects such as impartial trade, where other stable trading conditions and economical farming were pursued from producers in growing economies. Consumers want to be assured that the food they consume is locally and properly obtained (Schuckert, Liu, and Law, 2015). Also, more emphasis on sustainability can be spotted in the revival of the “nose-to-tail” ideology, where all pieces of a slaughtered animal are entirely utilized.
As a result of the increasing number of vegans who have zero tolerance for dairy, non-dairy “milk” products are also increasing (Daniels Insurance, Inc., 2018). It is likely that this trend is motivated by buoyancy with respect to business among millennials. Conferring with Jones, Hillier, and Comfort (2016), young people embrace a growing acceptance that companies are able to further substantial social change. Therefore, the progressing market of millennials may be the factor that drives sustainability as precedence in 2018.
One positive impact of the sustainability trend is that well-informed operators and aware consumers recognize it as a social responsibility worthy of supporting and would be detrimental to overlook. 2019 will witness greater measures initiated for advancing sustainability in the hospitality sector such as the implementation of recyclable containers by various companies, enhanced recycling systems, prohibiting plastic containers entirely and obtaining ingredients from regional producers and suppliers to decrease the carbon footprint (Baum et al. 2016). Second, the current environmental bylaw meant for the hotel industry mostly concentrates on the management of dangerous material, ecological health and safety, and management of storm-water. Moving onwards, the hotel’s design, construction, and operational techniques will be influenced by the alterations of the above-mentioned features of hospitality (Van Niekerk, 2016).
One negative impact is the ending of room service by many hotels. For instance, the New York Hilton Midtown chose to terminate their room service program, a move that has been adopted by various players in the hospitality sector. However, some other hotels still maintain their room service programs, since terminating the program is not necessarily the best choice for their clients and target market (Lawson, 2018).
Second, having the kitchen stay open around the clock is not very sustainable and with the deterioration in the demand for room service, it is probable that various other firms offering full-services will choose to terminate the programs (Baum et al. 2016).
A third negative effect is that the price of travel has been affected directly by the globalization of trade and the economy. Zaitsevaa et al. (2016) found that a greater group of rivals has resulted in more reasonable pricing and has led to the increase of the low-cost carrier model in aviation. The low-cost carrier model offers extra service for a reduced price, thus making it possible for more people to fly all over the world at an economical price. This factor has enabled travelers to encounter new cultures, and it has necessitated the players in the hospitality sector to comprehend and accommodate various individuals.
With the advancements in technology that enable people to have access to the information they require, the experience of dining out has improved greatly. Mobile apps have become a great hit in linking with the consumers and keeping them updated with all new things being implemented at an establishment. It is easier for a client to come back to an establishment once they download its app. Every time they access their mobile devices, the app reminds them of the business (Buhalis and Leung, 2018).
In addition, technology has also eased the process of accommodation reservation since one can use their mobile devices to check in at a hotel. If one intends to launch a food and beverage establishment in 2019, they may have to ensure that they are equipped with all the necessary equipment that will enable their customers to buy from them without having physical cash on them (Liang et al. 2017).
Currently, people are drifting towards the cashless system. By 2019, the technology advances such as Apple Pay will increase resulting in a more seamless buying system (Community Editorial Team at Comcast Business, 2018). This involves offering clients the ability to order food and drinks in advance and collect their order at a time convenient for them. One positive impact of the technology trend is that the cashless system has become a huge social concern since the launch of digital payment systems (Schuckert, Liu, and Law, 2015).
Adopting the cashless system has led to the separation of societies into two inherent groups, that is, low and high and middle-class customers. While high and middle-class customers have mobile wallets and bank cards, the low-class usually are deprived and most of them do not have bank accounts. Adopting the cashless system increases the credit card costs for the restaurants. However, it saves on time since one does not have to go to the bank looking for change or waste time during closing hours counting nickels and dimes. In addition, it helps curb theft since no physical cash is being used (Hua, 2016).
Second, the industry expects to witness more food ordering and delivering services being accessible via various applications other than just the restaurant site as technology keeps on developing and interconnecting. For instance, applications such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor, GrubHub, including Snapchat began experimenting with restaurant appraising, registrations, and reservations in 2015 (Hua, 2016). Moreover, huge companies such as Google, Uber, and Amazon keep on buying smaller and less popular business to be integrated into the food ordering and delivery sectors (Van Niekerk, 2016).
These big companies are overrunning their rivals’ territories, and at the same time creating pacts with them. Taking into account business such as OpenTable, Airbnb and Amazon, Google, then it is apparent that in the coming future, there is a possibility of a big competitive transformation and various alliances that will affect all the players and not only the small ones (Zaitsevaa et al. 2016). One negative impact is that more people now prefer to tune out and switch off their mobile devices and laptops for some time.
This trend is a result of the increasing presence of social media in our everyday lives and the various research works indicating increase stress and anxiety (Community Editorial Team at Comcast Business, 2018). As a result of this new development, in 2019, some hotels may abolish the iPad-controlled in an effort to provide a tech-free service to their customers. Simultaneously, we may witness more spotlight on touch-free tech such as Alexa for requesting for room service (Hua, 2016).
One way the hospitality industry can capitalize on the business opportunities presented by these three trends whilst minimizing risks is by providing more environmentally friendly facilities. When guests choose a place to spend time while traveling, they take into account the quality of the amenities being provided. The superior the quality is, the more appealing they will be to the guests (Kim, Lee, and Fairhurst, 2017).
According to a study by Green Lodging Trends Report of 2017, some of the demands the hotel guest may have in regards to the amenities include green/hypoallergenic products utilized for cleaning or in the room, charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EV), non-toxic construction materials and paints, and wellness and health prospects and benefits (Lawson, 2018).
Second, the sector can bring together a green team. 2018 is expected to embrace the green tread in the hospitality sector with the introduction of a “green team” in hotels. This green team will lead environmental-friendly ventures and run reserved budgets for green schemes (Lee et al. 2016). Sixty-eight percent of the professionals in the hospitality sector, who participated in the 2017 Green Lodging Trends Report, indicated that they already have established green teams. Additional 14% implied they had plans to device one in 2018 (Lawson, 2018).
Third, the sector has room for improvement in regards to Energy Management. Also expected in the hospitality sector is a substantial stress in respect to preserving and decreasing energy consumption. This will involve Green roofs that include solar panel systems and gardens, HVAC systems and maintenance practices that are energy efficient, and free EV parking, as witnessed at The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver (Buhalis and Leung, 2018).
Fourth, the sector can improve water conservation. Currently, the sector must expect a larger obligation to water conservation in the hospitality sector. Conferring with the 2017 Green Lodging Trends report, nearly 57% of hotel proprietors indicated at approximately 75% of their guestrooms faucets contained low-flow aerators (Lawson, 2018).
Lastly, the sector must manage real-time damage control. It is easy now for hotel guests to make a complaint through the various applications available such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, just to mention a few if they are displeased with the services they receive (Liang et al. 2017). Thus, it is important for the hoteliers to give a quick feedback to their customers’ inquiries in these forums to ensure that a positive guest relationship is sustained, thus ensuring future bookings.
Although there is a substantial disparity in the data given by the top hotel chains regarding their sustainability assurances and accomplishments, they incorporate a variety of health, sustainability and technology trends. In 2019, the hospitality sector is expected to experience some extreme changes with respect to the food and beverage section. Also, new foods and processes are transforming the manner in which this sector conducts business. In addition, environmental awareness is growing in the fashion, travel, and the auto industries. Lastly, it is crucial for hotels to keep on investing in technology to improve the guest experience. Moreover, the technological advancements will let hotel operators be prominent compared to their rivals, gratify guest anticipations and attract new clients.
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