Hotels are no longer just places to stay – they have become unique destinations delivering curated experiences and telling stories of their areas. Many modern-day travellers aren’t looking to be told about big attractions. Today’s traveller would rather engage more with real experiences, develop a deeper understanding of the place they’re in and connect with the local community. The concept of “true luxury” has since evolved to encompass this definition, moving away from the simplistic association of lounging in a large suite within an extravagant resort, cocktail in hand. Now, the priority is the search for cultural authenticity.
Porter & Sail’s data also shows that lodging plays an important role in facilitating these experiences. Before arriving at their destination, people spend an extensive amount of time researching hotels. They’re interested in how it looks and what amenities they have. We partner with hoteliers who are just as obsessive about storytelling as we are – this encapsulates everything from the architecture and design to the F&B experiences offered.
500m: Total number of guest arrivals Airbnb is expected to have recorded within the first quarter of 2019
Airbnb has led to a big change in the travel industry by delivering authentic local experiences. Travellers now have access to a wealth of options and can easily browse through multiple experiences to book into. In this way, hotels have become far less relevant to the millennial market. There’s also been a rise in new hospitality concepts – spaces that bring together the traditional models of membership clubs, with co-working spaces, shops and events found within a single property.
While Airbnb and other online travel agents have provided travellers with increased discovery and booking choices, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Such companies have played a huge role in the evolution of travel technology and travel accessibility and will continue to be vital to its progress.
When people talk about the future of travel, plenty of gimmicky ideas are thrown around. But in identifying human connection as today’s travel currency, we see the value travel apps can have towards bringing together visitors and the local community. That was the motivation behind creating Porter & Sail, where travellers can manage their accommodation through the app and read in-depth city guides, with integrated chat functions and planning capabilities.
Last year, I moved to Singapore to lead our expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. Some of the most interesting hotels and hospitality concepts are coming out of Asia right now, so we want to be where the action is.
Illustrations by Kouzou Sakai
This article was originally published in the July 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine