TLDR: Too Long Didn’t Read
This week in the hospitality industry. UNWTO's recognition of the best tourism villages based on sustainability, the growing influence of food in travelers' decisions, Viking Cruises' success in multiple categories on Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, strategies to reduce pollution in ports, a medical partnership in French Polynesia to provide healthcare to remote islands, and Japan's efforts to combat over-tourism. In the realm of external factors, Israel's military plans in Gaza and Ukraine's concerns about waning support. The academia section hints at scientific papers related to the discussed topics, and there's a recommendation for a hospitality podcast and tips for innovation in the industry.
0. News snippets
Not important enough to expand on, but worth hearing about
Google is driving more traffic towards smaller companies to be found | Hotel chain Upstalsboom is now offering its own travel agency, where you can book its hotels and connected experiences (Interesting diversified for chains?) offered via major GDS platforms | Remarkable Spa for 130 million opened up in Germany | Musk is introducing different subscriptions models for X users to be able to interact on the platform
1. Main Hospitality News
Core news related to the industry
Best tourism village of the year (according to UNWTO)
UNWTO has released their winners for the best tourism villages of the year. Yes, there is a UNWTO village contest. You might ask Le Portee, but how do they rate these villages? Is it by their popularity amongst tourists or is it perhaps their value/price comparison? None of it is for tourists from the 20th century and UNWTO is modern. They rate their villages by sustainability. So if you dig coal in your village, sorry you are not on the list. It is not a ranked village list, it's just a list of villages that made it (at the moment there are a total of 190 members), hence you won’t find the top 10. Want to visit any of them? Here is the list. A variety of countries have some, hence you might live close to one! We can proudly say the Le Portee team has been at least 3.
Food driving travel decisions
People are making their travel decisions based on cuisine with increasing speed. The article mentions booking exclaiming that it is a growing decision driver, and apparently 34% of booking amongst all travellers now prioritise restaurants and dining. Unfortunately, the article does not list sources, we however trust them. Don’t we? The generations who are most touched by this are millennials and baby boomers. Italy and France of course are leading.
Viking Cruises scores big on Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards
In a historic first, a single cruise line, Viking, has claimed the top position in three distinct categories: Best Ocean Line, Best River Line, and Best Expedition Line. Viking, known for its prominence in river and ocean cruises, entered the expedition market with the Viking Octantis, a 205-meter mid-size vessel offering comfort and style to 378 guests across 189 staterooms. Despite fierce competition, Viking made significant inroads into the competitive Arctic-Antarctic market traditionally dominated by small 5-star vessels with superior expedition equipment and hulls. Their successful expansion into these polar regions is evident, with many 2024 cruises already fully booked. The response of competitors like Ponant, Silversea, and Seabourn to this formidable new rival will be a topic of keen interest.
A solution to fight pollution in port
To enhance port sustainability and safeguard the well-being of residents, numerous cities are exploring strategies to curtail the release of noxious gases from docked ships. A prevalent approach involves fitting berths with high-capacity electrical plugs, enabling vessels to connect and draw power from the port grid while at rest. Reykjavik, Iceland, has successfully deployed this technology, permitting mid-size ships to minimize fuel usage and reduce their environmental impact during port activities. This eco-friendly approach yields a dual benefit: ships lower fuel consumption, save on costs, while cities mitigate air pollution, and ports generate supplementary revenue by selling power to berthed vessels. Nonetheless, this green solution faces two constraints: the significant expense and time required to equip berths with such infrastructure, a feat not feasible for every global port, and compatibility constraints, as only modern vessels possess the requisite equipment to connect to shore-based power supplies. Widespread adoption of this technology is likely to be a gradual process, but it represents an encouraging step towards environmental responsibility in the maritime industry.
A medical partnership between French Polynesia and the ship Paul Gaugin
Paul Gauguin Cruises and the government of French Polynesia have joined forces to provide accessible medical services to the inhabitants of the most remote islands in the region. This partnership consists of two components: voluntary consultations offered by the ship's doctor during the scheduled stops of the Paul Gauguin, and the free transportation of healthcare professionals appointed by the government's Health Department to provide specialized anticipatory consultations (CSA). The program will include 40 consultation sessions annually and will initially be extended to the Marquesas and then to the Tuamotu regions, which are among the furthest regions of French Polynesia. Patients will also have access to certain medical equipment on board, such as X-rays and ultrasounds.
Japan is tired of tourists (too)
Another week and yet another destination is now starting to fight overtourism. This time Japan. Due to a sharp increase in visitors (2 million monthly visitors), we suppose that is the maximum Japan is comfortable with (France has 90 million annually). Their solution is to increase travel infrastructure, grow the bus prices, promote less known locations & finally the golden solution of taxing. A basic recipe for any destination.
Econimics, finance, geopolitics. All have an impact on the hospitality sector.
Israel is ready
Israel is about to go into Gaza. According to the defence minister of Israel, a 3 step plan is to first, destroy the terrorists, second, any remaining nests of Hamas destroyed too, and third military move out and focus on its own defence. Optimistic, if indeed the case that it is about to happen, the next few weeks will show if this is going to turn into a full-fledged regional war or indeed a “quick operation”. The consequences, depending on the outcome will influence the world heavily.
Did somebody forget Ukraine?
In another set of news, Ukraine is now concerned with weakening support against Russia, partially due to Israel taking up most of the media attention and partially due to the West experiencing “fatigue” over Ukraine’s limited success. Like a distracted teenager on TikTok, the Western public is jumping from one piece of news to another, losing interest in anything that is mildly repetitive. Or at least so reports the article. Upcoming months (hopefully not years), will show.
Scientific papers related to the topics above. For those who want to know for sure ;)
Why would people want to travel to any given destination at all? One reason would be Culture shipping to other countries. A study looking into Korean TV Dramas tries to track the impact of these dramas on how the Japanese see Korea in general and how they would more likely want to travel to Japan because of being fans of these dramas. Hence, maybe the best way for destinations to advertise themselves is to make TV deals with other countries.
Books, podcasts & the big stuff.
Another podcast from the travel industry, interviewing some big players called “Next Gen in Lodging”. It’s corporate, unlike our homemade artisanal Le Portee one, but still pretty good. We recommend you start with the episode about hotelier experiences in hiring the pandemic generation for the first time.
5. Tips & Tricks Tools & SaaS
Any new software you can use? Industry tricks you missed?
How do I innovate?
Some of the finest Tips and tricks are coming to you this week. Do you want to innovate with your hospitality business but lack the know-how? Fear not, here is an article giving you five tips to follow. Get business intelligence and forecast, personalize your experience, use tech to automate, make experiences contactless, and use integrated solutions. Simple, we would say. Innovation at its finest, especially when nobody has done the above before!