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Sleep and mocktails: How hotels are moving to meet a new kind of customer

Hilton’s third-annual 2024 Travel Trends Report found an increased traveler interest in health and wellness.



This article was originally published by TheStreet

In a busy world, travelers increasingly see trips as an opportunity to relax and recharge. Even when traveling for business, the comfort of a hotel is increasingly more important than its style and even centrality (but not necessarily price.)

That is, at least, what Hilton  (HLT) – Get Free Report found in its third-annual 2024 Travel Trends Report. The survey of 10,000 travelers across nine countries found that 67% of boomers picked “rest and recharge” as their main reason for booking a hotel. The number drips slightly for younger travelers but always remains the most popular choice — 60% for millennials and 55% for Gen Z.

Related: Where Business Travelers Really Sleep: The Top Hotels for Road Warriors

The focus on health and wellness continued to be a major trend that the hotel chain observed going into 2024. Nearly one in four older travelers specifically seek out hotels with a good mattress while a respective 21% and 25% of Gen Zers regulate their workout and avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.

A Hilton hotel room in New York City’s Times Square.

Image source: Hilton Hotels

‘Guests define ‘rest’ as getting good sleep,’ Hilton finds

“While rest can mean getting away from work or other obligations on a leisure vacation, guests more broadly today define ‘rest’ as getting good sleep, regardless of their travel occasion,” Hilton’s Chief Brand Officer Matt Schuyler said in a statement.

Specific things that Hilton guests have requested include being able to more easily connect a phone or other device to listen to a podcast as they’re winding for the night and more readily available earplugs and headphones. In the survey, 22% of those polled said that this is something that helps them achieve a good night’s sleep while away from home.

The focus on wellness also seeps into the culinary space. While numbers that show younger visitors have been consuming less alcohol has pushed Hilton to invest in creating new mocktails for its hotel bars and restaurants, 82% of those polled also said that having a good restaurant in their hotel was a top priority while a larger number is also looking for healthy options — 72% said they wanted to see a grab-and-go market filled with healthy snacks within easy access.

Gen Z’s lower drinking rates are pushing bars and hotels to get creative

“The zero-proof movement has forced mixologists to be more creative and mindful in their mixology – the results are far more inclusive – customers are no longer alienated by their preference or life choices,” Raven Randolph, an assistant director of food and beverage at Hilton’s Mango House Seychelles resort, said in a statement.

And as shown in past years, the line between business and leisure travel is getting increasingly blurred. While the growth of remote workers traveling during the week and taking personal trips while also doing some work continued from past years, Hilton’s numbers also show that many are starting to combine family and work travel. For business travelers, 24% in the survey said that they plan to take a friend or family member on a work trip with them at some point in the coming year.

“Every generation is driving a vibrant mix of travel experiences and expectations for 2024,” Jason Dorsey, president of The Center for Generational Kinetics and Hilton’s generational consultant for the report, said in a statement. “One important finding within is the cross-generational priority for connectivity and personalization throughout the travel experience.”



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