2018 consumer trends from Custard Communications

By Mika Bishop

Here are some forecasts and predictions for 2018 from the UK travel, hospitality and meetings industries, provided by some of Custard Communications’ clients.

Themed dining
Sam Aziz, General Manager of Tylney Hall Hotel says: ‘There is a huge appetite from consumers for themed dining, and this is something Tylney Hall will be building upon in 2018. Themed afternoon teas are particularly popular, whether it’s a one-off Scottish theme for Burns Night, a monthly event such as our jazz afternoon teas, or an Alice in Wonderland theme for dedicated children’s afternoon teas. It provides a great opportunity for chefs to unleash their creativity, and guests love it.’
Burns Night afternoon tea costs from £36pp including a dram of whisky, accommodation from £76.50pp (two sharing) including breakfast. www.tylneyhall.co.uk

Minibars in hotel bedrooms are out
Miranda Martin, event director Independent Hotel Show, says: ‘In the run up to the Independent Hotel Show 2017, we conducted a survey in partnership with Chic Retreats, to ascertain what guests want in their perfect hotel bedroom. Preferences for city chic, mood lighting and floor-to ceiling windows were revealed, with ‘big spenders’ preferring wooden floors over carpet. A key finding was the lacklustre response to minibars. Guests are becoming less interested in chocolate or high-sugar drinks in their rooms, much preferring locally-produced artisan snacks as an added value treat.’ www.independenthotelshow.co.uk

Innovative spa treatments
Sophie Clear, Assistant Spa & Leisure Club Manager, Whittlebury Hall & Spa says: ‘With greater accessibility to global news of product advancements consumers increasingly seek a far wider range of treatments.  Each year sees rapidly changing trends which require spas to be constantly introducing new techniques and products to ensure that they can meet clients’ desires. At Whittlebury Hall, the spa team is constantly introducing new treatments – we already offer a unique ‘heat and ice experience’, consisting of seven rooms of varying temperatures that invigorate the body, and regularly create new packages, such as the ‘Ytsara Indulgence Day’ featuring a Ytsara Warm Coconut Soother massage. This involves warm, virgin coconut oil being drizzled over your body and a steamed, sesame and coconut poultice gently glided to massage, nourish and condition your skin.’
Ytsara Indulgence Day costs from £129pp including heat and ice experience and two-course lunch. To book visit www.whittleburyhall.co.uk

Eastbourne on the up
Jonathan Webley, General Manager of The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne says: ‘Eastbourne is one of Britain’s fastest growing seaside resorts, and is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday and short break destination. Hundreds of millions of pounds is being invested in the regeneration of the town centre year on year, which along with a packed year-round calendar of events is appealing to a younger demographic and attracting visitors from around the world. The tourism industry here has never been more vibrant – 2018 will be an incredibly exciting time for the town.’
Accommodation at The Grand Hotel costs from £83pp (two sharing) including breakfast. www.grandeastbourne.com

Go MTB in the Highlands
Charlie Burrows, Torridon Activities leader says: “Mountain biking remains massively popular in the Highlands, but now bikers are keener to sharpen their technical riding skills and become experts in this exhilarating sport. In 2018, Torridon Activities will be administering the Go MTB Awards Scheme, which is a progressive mountain bike achievement award scheme enabling people to not only take the sport to the next level but to learn first aid and to learn how to ‘read’ the environment.”
Current mountain bike instruction rates start from £60 pp, overnight stays from £60pp per night at The Torridon Inn, www.thetorridon.com

Uncomplicated
Steve Clarke, Chief Commercial Officer at CLEAN, says: ‘Guests are increasingly looking for uncomplicated luxury from their hotel stay, seeking crisp, white linen over more extravagant bedding as the move toward minimalist living and less clutter traverses into hotel design. Interior themes like the ‘Scandinavian’ trend will also prevail into 2018 as guests look to relax within a fresher space. We know from our own independently-commissioned research that 89% of guests are put off by dated linen, and that all-white bed linen with limited colours or patterns are the preferred option, suggesting hotel guests show no sign of tiring of a simple, unpolluted hotel setting over the next 12 months.’ www.cleanservices.co.uk

Innovation
Adam Rowledge, General Manager at Georgian House says: ‘Themed dining experiences will continue to be popular in 2018, and it will become ever more important to innovate to make stays more memorable. Our cheese afternoon tea with wine-pairing pop-up and children’s afternoon tea, with pizza and biscuits to decorate, went down a storm in the summer, and our brand-new retro-style in-hotel cinema for two, Pimlico Pictures, offers a cosy and personalised pictorial experience for residents and non-residents.’
Accommodation costs from £70pp (two sharing) including breakfast; Pimlico Pictures £40 for a three-hour cinema slot. www.georgianhousehotel.co.uk