No items found.
the way Blog

18 experience trends on the rise

Explore the breakout experience trends of 2024.

Subscribe to our blog

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Download Way's 2024 Experiential Hospitality Report

This comprehensive report provides real data on how hotel experiences drive revenue, and insights and analysis of industry trends and development.

Forward-thinking hospitality brands are elevating the expected hotel comforts and providing one-of-a-kind experiences that not only attract guests but also connect them to the local community, culture, and one another. These unique experiences can set a hotel apart from its competitors, create new revenue opportunities, and create a loyal customer base. 

With global travel poised to surpass 2019 levels in 2024, there's more opportunity than ever for hoteliers to embrace their property’s potential as a meeting place, knowledge hub, and space for connection—with the technology to make it all easy to discover and reserve.

Discover 18 of the leading trends in hospitality below, and download Way's 2024 Experiential Hospitality Trend Report for a deeper look into trends and actionable tips to  launch and scale experiential at your property.

1. Cultivate communal spaces for coworking & connection

The rise of remote work has created a demand for productive, communal spaces. By integrating coworking areas, hotels cater to the needs of travelers with flexible work schedules who are looking for a trusted spot outside the house. Plus, a chic hotel can be a great stand-in for a home office for entrepreneurs and remote workers.

Tip: Transform underused areas into dynamic coworking spaces or partner with local coworking buildings for guest access. Let guests book private rooms for meetings or podcast recordings through Way.

2. Integrate a new wellness paradigm into every stay

Winter Sauna Experience at The William Vale

The interest in wellness practices is skyrocketing, with Google searches for “cold plunge” soaring 3200% between 2018 and 2023. Forward-thinking hotels are responding by offering state-of-the-art wellness experiences like saunas, cold plunges, and contrast therapy, allowing guests to rejuvenate, recharge, and return home feeling their best.

Investing in amenities is also a great opportunity to drive recurring revenue. Hotels pay once to build athletic courts or purchase collections of bikes and yoga mats and can offer those repeatedly to guests as an added experience. For example, The William Vale in Brooklyn, New York, transformed their fourth-floor terrace into an urban sanctuary this winter with panoramic barrel saunas and deep-soaking cedar hot tubs.

Tip: Introduce a wellness suite with sauna and cold plunge pools. Encourage guests to reserve time for the hotels’ wellness amenities directly on the property’s website.

3. Craft a creative escape from digital overload

In an age dominated by screens and digital interactions, offering guests hands-on, creative activities presents a refreshing escape. Through Way, hotels can partner with local hosts to bring these curated experiences to life. For example, guests at Trailborn in Colorado can book a hand-poured candle-making workshop taught by a local artisan.

These experiences provide a satisfying break from digital overload and enrich guests’ stays with a sense of accomplishment and creation.

Tip: Invite local artists for artist-in-residence programs where guests can participate in workshops ranging from pottery to painting and take home their creations.

4. Dig into the joys found in farm hospitality

More than a stay, farm hospitality invites guests to immerse themselves in regenerative agriculture. These experiences combine the known benefits of grounding and fresh air with hands-on learning fit for the whole family.

Hotels without on-site farms can still connect guests to the joys of regenerative agriculture by partnering with local farms. For example, Onera invites guests to visit their neighbors at Roam Ranch to walk among free-range Southern Plains Bison, turkeys, and ducks on a private tour.

Tip: Craft a farm-to-table experience by allowing guests to pick produce used in the hotel restaurant or invite guests to partake in daily farm activities.

5. Support the sober-curious movement to foster connections without spirits

As the sober-curious movement gains traction, hotels and food and beverage concepts are adapting to a growing demand for chic non-alcoholic brands like Ghia and Kin Euphorics that swap spirits for adaptogens. Other hotels are offering workshops where guests can learn how to mix up their own non-alcoholic beverages. 

For example, adults-only luxury resort Alila Ventana Big Sur and outdoor luxury resort ULUM host mindful mocktail-making classes where guests learn how to harness the health properties of roots, herbs, and spices for delicious, non-alcoholic drinks. But, the lowest barrier to entry here is adding a few mocktails to any restaurant or drinks menu. Even Los Angeles got its first-ever non-alcoholic cocktail lounge in January 2024.

Tip: Develop a premium non-alcoholic beverage menu and organize intentionally sober social events that allow guests to explore the world and connect with a clear mind.

6. Embrace the slow travel movement

Slow travel is about unplugging and embracing solitude or the serenity of nature—offering a much-needed pause in our fast-paced world.

Pinterest Predicts 2024 identified these trending search terms, all pointing toward the slow travel movement:
- Staycation hotel +70%
- Digital detox challenge +80%
- Slow life +60%

“Gen Z and Millennials will retreat to laid-back locales that offer the opposite of a jam-packed itinerary. Fewer nights out on the town, more lazy mornings in bed. In 2024, there’ll be no shame in your slowcation game.” - Pinterest Predicts 2024

Tip: Designate quiet zones within the hotel, offering spaces for reading, meditation, or enjoying nature, encouraging guests to slow down

7. Hydration as a luxury amenity: Elevating the water experience

Water quality is a quiet but growing trend, with discerning travelers seeking hydration beyond bottled water. By charging guests for unlimited ionized, hydrogen-rich, structured water, hotels can elevate their brand, cut out plastic bottles, and align themselves with the latest wellness technology.

Based on Google Search, awareness of and the searches for “ionized water,” “hydrogen water,” “structured water,” and “biohacking” have grown significantly since 2004 — especially in the past five years.

Hotels can even access these water-enhancing machines in a way that furthers their philanthropic initiatives by putting a portion of profits back into clean-water initiatives. Trade in bottles for ionizers that lead to
- healthier, more hydrated guests and employees
- a higher-end wellness offering, a truly sustainable operation
- Philanthropic efforts in underserved communities

Tip: Install advanced water filtration systems like the Kangen K8 in guest rooms or the hotel bar to charge guests for hydrogen-rich, ionized and alkaline water.

8. Merge adventure & mindset with rock climbing excursions

Travelers are looking to get outside and test their limits. For example, Pinterest identified “off-road adventures” as a trending search for 2024, with inquiries that included terms like “off-road wheels,” “adventure car,” and “overland gear” surging on the platform.  

Hotels can set themselves apart from competition by offering guests an accessible way to engage in physical and mental challenges. That’s why boutique hospitality projects Spirit of Sofia in Palm Springs and AutoCamp Joshua Tree partner with local experts to provide guests with an insider’s rock climbing experience in the heart of a national park!

Tip: Collaborate with local adventure parks or climbing gyms to offer guests climbing packages, including transportation and guided climbs.

9. Move to the beat of concert tourism

Travelers flocking to cities to catch live performances of their favorite artists.
According to data from travel and expense solution Navan, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour caused hotel booking prices to skyrocket 50% or more.

The average booking price of a hotel room on the night(s) of an Eras Tour show was 50.28% higher ($99 on average) than the equivalent day(s) the following week, and cities in the Midwest and East Coast saw the most significant increase in hotel booking prices during tour nights.
With events like the Taylor Swift Eras Tour influencing bookings, hotels can increase a concert’s impact by offering additional experiences, themed stays, or packages to drive revenue around music-centered travel experiences.

Tip: Package stays with tickets to local concerts or music festivals, including exclusive behind-the-scenes tours or meet-and-greets with artists, or host live music events featuring local artists at the hotel.

10. Capture the excitement of eclipse tourism 

Up to 4 million people are expected to travel across the United States to see the eclipse at its fullest, according to data from the Great American Eclipse.

“It will likely be the most-viewed astronomical event in American history,” said Michael Zeiler, expert eclipse cartographer and co-founder of Great American Eclipse.

Hotels can capitalize on this natural phenomenon by purposefully curating weekend activities that align with the eclipse, like The Thompson Dallas' Solar Eclipse Brunch.

Tip: Create an eclipse viewing package, including protective glasses, a guided astronomy talk, and a themed outdoor event, or partner with local observatories or astronomy clubs to offer tours and photography workshops.

11. Lean into quiet luxury and understated elegance

Quiet luxury is about understated elegance—offering a pristine, exceptionally designed environment and service that whispers rather than shouts refinement. Google searches for “quiet luxury” grew 220% in the last five years.

Tip: Redesign select rooms or elements to embody quiet luxury with minimalist design, natural materials, and serene color palettes.

12. Enhance guests’ sleep quality for a restorative stay

In a world where rest is a luxury, hotels that prioritize sleep quality have a unique opportunity to differentiate the guest experience.
There’s been a significant rise in interest in sleep-enhancing practices—Pinterest recorded a 165% jump in searches for ASMR sleep. By investing in high-quality bedding, soundproofing solutions, sleep concierge services hotels can be stewards of wellness and refuges from the daily grind.

Tip: Bring the sleep concierge to guests’ doors by encouraging them to book restful upgrades like bedtime teas, guided sleep meditations, and essential oils.

13. Embrace the spirit of the 2024 Paris Olympics

The excitement around the 2024 Paris Olympics presents a golden opportunity for hotels to offer sports-themed experiences and tap into the global enthusiasm for the games. Beyond just showing the games, properties worldwide can lean into the themes of unity and camaraderie that the games represent.

For properties near Paris, the games are attracting more than a million tourists to the French capital, with room prices expected to jump 300+% between the 2023 and 2024 summer seasons. Travel packages, including event tickets, accommodations, and perks like VIP access, start at $20,000—highlighting the demand and desire to participate in this event.

Tip: Create Olympic event packages with accommodations and tours or host mini Olympic games with themed activities for guests.

14. Navigate the future of food with innovative culinary experiences

Culinary adventures are getting a more profound, meaningful makeover. The 2024 U.S. Experiences Traveler report from Arival found that culinary tourism, as measured by food and drink-focused tour bookings, is one of the most popular and rising categories among travelers. But experiences are becoming more focused on ingredient quality and source than simply how to roll and bake it.

Tip: Offer farm-to-fork cooking classes where guests visit local farms to source ingredients before preparing dishes with a chef. Come up with creative ideas that align with your local agriculture using Way’s AI curation tool or partnering with Way’s in-house curation team.

15. The pet-friendly advantage: Tailoring experiences for four-legged guests

According to the 2023-2024 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 66% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 86.9 million households. The majority, 81% of pet parents, prefer staying in pet-friendly hotels over all other forms of accommodation. Hotels that cater to pet owners with tailored amenities can stand out among their peers as a preferred destination.

By leveraging the power of Way and collaborating with local experts, The Magnolia Hotel in Denver offers a “Pawsitively Perfect Pet Care” package in which a former veterinary technician guides guests’ pups through nearby parks and trails for an intimate excursion.

Similarly, Kona Kai San Diego will set up a pup-friendly, luxury picnic for guests and their dogs with a special menu for the four-legged guests or take guests out on the sea for a private paddle board lesson with the guests’ pup. Doggie life jacket included.

Tip: Provide a pet-friendly welcome kit, including toys, treats, and a guide to local pet-friendly attractions or pet services like grooming, pet-sitting, and a dedicated play area.

16. Lead the charge in sustainability & gift guests practices to take home

Sustainability is no longer a niche preference but a global movement, and the hospitality industry plays a crucial role in promoting environmentally friendly practices. By integrating sustainability tours that showcase the hotel’s green initiatives and offering workshops on living a carbon-neutral or zero-waste lifestyle, hotels can educate and inspire guests to adopt more sustainable practices in their daily lives.
It’s a powerful way to connect with guests on a deeper level, offering them valuable takeaways that extend beyond their stay.

Tip: Host workshops on zero-waste lifestyles and sustainable sourcing.

17. Seek magic in night sky wonders with celestial exploration

Travelers are looking for something beyond themselves and seeking out remote locations for unobstructed night sky views, guided stargazing tours, and special events aligned with celestial occurrences like meteor showers. The non-profit DarkSky International announced a new certification scheme 2023 for hospitality providers, thus making it easier for stargazers to find accommodation with truly dark skies.

Some nature hotels like Skye Texas turn star-gazing into a party and invite guests to explore the dark sky as a group, while others like Open Sky Zion make it an intimate event designed for couples who can step outside of their room in a blanket for private guidance of the starry ethers. This experience even includes dessert to complement the distant galaxies.

While there aren’t many stars in the center of Manhattan, the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village’s flagship restaurant, Society Cafe, created an Astrology Dinner Series. Inspired by the cosmos and constellations, Executive Chef Nicholas McCann created a monthly, themed, four-course menu highlighting each sign's distinct traits, tastes, and desires, along with complimentary cocktails and mocktails.

Tip: Curate a unique stargazing experience more elevated than lying on a blanket. Bring in music, experts, and snacks so guests can explore the night sky surrounded by unexpected comfort and connection.

18. Take stories off the page with literary tourism

Literary tourism offers a unique avenue for hotels to create deeply immersive experiences by bringing the stories and characters that guests love into the real world. By designing tours that explore the settings of popular novels or offering themed stays that capture the essence of beloved literary works, hotels can tap into readers’ powerful emotional connections with their favorite books.

Incorporating book clubs and author talks can further enhance this engagement.

Tip: Design tours that explore the real-life settings of popular novels and stories or offer themed stays that recreate the ambiance of literary works, complete with book clubs and author talks.

Download Way's Hospitality Experiences Trends Report 2024 for in-depth insights and analysis on elevating your guest experiences, or contact Way to start powering experiences today.

Way

Typeform Embed with Custom Button