Hospitality Industry Trends

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Hospitality Holiday Season Case Studies

The Pfister Hotel successfully used the holiday season to celebrate its 125th anniversary and hosted traditional Christmas events such as lighting its Christmas tree and Breakfast with Santa as a way to promote its brand. In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Omni Hotels & Resorts offered holiday packages for guests where they could save money on booking their holiday stays.


  • In 2018, the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, WI celebrated its 125th anniversary with several holiday events including its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a Thanksgiving brunch, a holiday themed marketplace featuring local artists, and Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the hotel's ballroom.
  • The hotel also collected food for Hunger Task Force and encouraged guests to bring non-perishable food items for the drive.
  • These events were promoted across online news sources such as Lodging Magazine and in local blogs and news such as the Milwaukee Mom's Blog.
  • While it is hard to find specifics on how these events impacted the Pfister Hotel brand, it can be assumed that these events left a positive impression of the hotel and its association with Christmas traditions. The Pfister Hotel is one of the top hotels in the city. As a AAA Four Diamond hotel and has a good reputation.


  • In November 2017, Omni Hotels & Resorts offered a few holiday packages for guests where they could save money on booking their stays in honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • One of these packages was the "Season of Savings" package. Guests could have a $99 starting rate at several hotels and resorts across the country.
  • Another package was the "Sip, Stay, & Save" package. Guests who booked this offer received 15 percent off their stay, two vouchers for complimentary holiday cocktails, and a late (1 PM) checkout.
  • The "Sip, Stay, & Save" package offer was available from Nov. 14, 2017 to Dec. 30, 2017 and the "Season of Savings" package was available from stays from Nov. 14, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2018 and needed to be booked by Nov. 28, 2017.

Research Strategy:

It proved challenging to find clear data on the fallout and impact of holiday events on hotel brand promotion. Many announcements and press sources mentioned holiday events and explored the immediate reception of those events but few to no sources discussed those events after the fact.

We ultimately selected the case studies above because both cases hotel hosted holiday events dedicated to specific holidays (rather than holiday seasons,) both events received press coverage at the time and after the fact to some extent, both hotel chains were and are highly rated (when looked at both before and after the events examined,) and neither holiday event received any negative press that we could uncover.
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Hospitality Holiday Season Best Practices

Four of the best practices for designing a holiday season strategy or holiday event within the hospitality industry include creating themed weekend packages, deriving revenue through festive sales, creating events specific to popular holidays, and distributing themed gifts with the company logo.


  • To promote the event, event planners can create a weekend package which would include a two-night stay at the hotel and an exclusive access pass to attend the party.
  • In addition, event planners must tie the theme of the event party into the destination, keeping in mind what consumers expect to experience during their holiday at the destinations.
  • One of the examples of themes includes local chefs competing to create the most delicious soup which the guests can sample for free.
  • Another example could include a warm cocktail competition using only warm mixers such as hot chocolate, apple cider, tea, etc.
  • Event planners can design hotel events around unusual holidays with custom menus, activities, decorations and costumes to encourage locals and guests to attend.
  • Some occasions for unusual holidays include St Patrick’s Day, Remembrance Sunday, St Andrew’s Day, or the Queen’s Birthday. Events can also be planned around the anniversary of a celebrity’s death or a theme around a local hero.


We started by directly searching for media publications, industry opinions, and news articles that discuss the best practices for designing a holiday season strategy or holiday event within the hospitality industry. After checking through numerous industry sources including but not limited to SiteMinder, Hotelier Academy, the Booking Factory, and Hospitality Net, we were able to identify four best practices for designing a holiday season strategy within the hospitality industry.
Kindly note that the examples provided in the findings section have been discussed as best practices by industry publications. We have also included examples of how to execute such best practices. In addition, please find below the reasoning as to why these examples are considered as the best practice in the hospitality industry:
  • Create themed weekend packages: The article specifically talks about how hotels can increase their revenue during the holiday season. The article is published by SiteMinder, one of the leaders in the online hotel distribution industry. The company offers cloud-based distribution products that help hotels to increase their online revenue, streamline business processes, and decrease operational costs. The company has more than 11,000 customers in over 105 countries.
  • Derive revenue through festive sales: The article specifically talks about how hotels can increase their revenues during the holiday season. The article was authored by Nikos Morantis, founder of tourism startups such as Travel by Interest, Destsetters, and Hotelier Academy. Nikos helps both hotels and companies succeed in the tourism market.
  • Create events specific to popular holidays: The article specifically talks about creative promotion ideas for hotels in the holiday season. The article was authored by Tikky Dawwalee Davies, the founder of companies such as, the Booking Factory, and Hotel Tech Entrepreneur.
  • Distribute themed gifts: The article specifically talks about how hotels can increase their revenues during the holiday season. The article is authored by Beth Goodell, co-founder of ReServe Interactive Software, with over 10 years of experience as a Sales and Catering Director with Hyatt Hotels and Wente Vineyards.
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Hospitality Trends, 2020

Some projected trends in the U.S. hospitality industry for 2020 include the growth of millenials as a market for the industry, the growth in demand for companies to go green and become sustainable, as well as the popularization of smart customer experience.



  • From business providers, consumers anticipate sustainability. Also, there is a growing demand for companies in the hospitality industry to go green, particularly from millenials as they are "twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues, and expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it."
  • According to Verdant, regarding prominent smart techs, hotels are expected to persist in the adoption of smart energy management solutions since energy consumption serves as the most significant utility expense.
  • Sustainable trends in the hospitality industry in response to this include ventures such as the installation of locally procured supply chains, the decline in food waste, and the utilization of locally culled ingredients.


Research Strategy:

To establish what some projected trends in the U.S. hospitality industry for 2020 are, we performed extensive direct searches on relevant and reliable platforms. We explored magazines such as CIOReview, travel agencies such as FCM Travel Solutions, hospitality industry tech experts such as Verdant, and event experts such as Social Tables. We established these three as universally accepted projected trends for 2020 by identifying which ones appeared in at least two of the existing lists of 2020 projected trends.
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Hospitality Trends, Holiday Season 2019

After exhaustive research, we did not find any trends in the hospitality industry directly related to the holiday season. However, we found significant information on trends in event planning in 2019 which can also be applied to holiday events. We identified five trends in the areas of technology, sustainability, event spaces, security and personalization.

Trend #1 — Technology

  • Every expert site we found stated that using technology was a projected trend for 2019.
  • The trends range from Virtual Reality (VR) being used to engage participants, to projection mapping, and an increased use of event management solutions and AI, including some where event organizers will have access to live data to inform ongoing decisions.
  • The impact of the technical trends will differ depending upon the technology being used. VR will ensure attendees enjoy and remember the event, while AI and technical solutions will improve the registration, attendance, and feedback experiences for the attendees.
  • The use of these technologies are expected to expand to RFID bracelets or facial recognition software to streamline events, attendee tracking systems to redistribute guests, or an app that provides a map of the event.

Trend #2 — Social Responsibility

  • Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) offers one of the top hospitality programs in the world. One of their projected trends is based on the statement that "Social responsibility is a moral and an economic obligation."
  • Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to customers and they want to know the businesses they are dealing with are ethical.
  • The impact of this can be seen in the fact that 51% of meeting planners say they book meetings only in eco-friendly hotels.
  • This is being embraced in a number of ways, including using recyclable items, energy efficient lighting, organic or regional cuisine or donating leftover or unused items to community organizations like senior living facilities or homeless shelters.

Trend #3 — Transforming Event Spaces

  • Planners are beginning to rent areas that would previously have been off-limits.
  • Professionals expect that event planners will up their game by using multiple projectors to show images on walls, floors, or ceilings. Video projection mapping can transform any object into a screen. Projection mapping can take a "real-world object, such as a building, and project onto its walls without any distortion."
  • This technology will allow for unlimited personalization and customization from one event to the next with limited set up and breakdown.
  • Examples include projecting Santa Claus at a party or projecting a relevant visual onto a nearby building.

Trend #4 — Security

  • People often think of stopping violent attacks when they think of security, but equally important is ensuring the safety of the data being used.
  • As the trend to use technology increases, (see trend #1), EventMB found in their research, just in the past year, "breaches in major ticketing platforms, event apps potentially accessible by anyone with bad intentions, hotel chains hacked and subsequent data theft".
  • The impact of this includes brand damage to the company planning the event, even though the fault usually lies with the software vendor.
  • Event MB suggests all event planners deeply vet new and existing software vendors, ensure the security of the event location's network and ensure indemnity so the planner is protected from liability and pay attention to details (WiFi, USB, social media use) which can compromise the data.

Trend #5 — Personalization

  • Amadeus Hospitality recommends a review of the plan and/or agenda early on and look for opportunities to personalize the attendees experience.
  • Customers are more interested in experiences than things. 83% of millennials are willing to allow brands to track their habits if it means a more customized experience.
  • Personalized recommendations from drink specials to pre or post stay activities to engaging activities recommended by the attendees are all potential ways to personalize an event.

Research Methodology

We began by searching for trends for holiday events in 2019, thinking that large corporations would be early adopters in event planning. While some major players in the industry, such as Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando and the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have published holiday events, there was nothing in those lists to show new trends for 2019.

We then searched for information on planning corporate holiday parties in 2019. We hoped sites of event planning companies would give us an insight into plans for 2019. While we found generic advice, there was little that was specific to this request of support for planning a holiday rooftop party.

Moving to web sites for professional event managers, we looked for information on holiday parties for 2019. We found suggestions based on 2018 parties, but nothing for the 2019 holiday season.

We then expanded our search and looked for trends for 2019 as a whole, assuming these trends could also be used for holiday parties. The sites we used can be seen here.

We compiled a list of trends from various sites including EHL, Revfine, ITA, Amadeus, Cvent, EventBrite, CPGAgency, and EventMB. From there we identified the top trends and outlined the trend, its impact and suggestions for adoption. The identification of the methodology for selecting the trends can be seen on the spreadsheet here.


From Part 01
  • "The Pfister Hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2018, and its annual tree lighting ceremony is one of Milwaukee’s most celebrated and anticipated traditions. Featuring an 18-foot, LED-lighted holiday tree, the festive event includes complimentary holiday treats, music, hot cocoa and more. "
From Part 02
  • "Every holiday puts consumers in a festive mood, so consider giving potential guests exactly that: an exciting party! To promote the event, you could create a weekend package that includes a two-night stay at the hotel and an exclusive access pass to attend the party."
  • "Don’t forget to tie the theme of your party into your destination – and again, keep in mind what consumers are expecting to experience during their holiday in your destinations. "
  • "Some ideas… A competition between local chefs to see who can make the most delicious soup (and of course, let guests sample them all!). A warm cocktail competition using only warm mixers, like hot chocolate, tea, apple cider, etc."
  • "First of all, the special Christmas & New Year’s Eve dinner parties, which must not only provide a festive menu but focus on offering a completely memorable experience as well, can become an important source of revenue from guests staying at the hotel or not. As a matter of fact, a truly special festive dinner party can even become the holiday season’s highlight! "
  • "A clever idea would be to organize a special Festive Bazaar (ideally with a charity character), during which the hotel would sell Christmas ornaments and decorations, as well as local wines, products and delicacies that are usually sold at the hotel, dressed up as Christmas gifts. "
  • "At the same time, the Bazaar’s charity character would emphasize the Hotel’s high level of social responsibility, increasing its reputation to old and new customers."
  • "Popular holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day have heavy competition. Promotions are everywhere, but you could boost occupancy rates during those slow periods by celebrating some more unusual dates."
  • "Create a whole day around the event with custom menus, activities, decorations and costumes to encourage locals and guests to attend."
  • "A few dates to consider are: Remembrance Sunday, St Patrick’s Day, St Andrew’s Day or the Queen’s Birthday. You could celebrate the anniversary of a celebrity’s death or create a theme around a local hero."
  • "Another way to increase the banquet check average is to sell and wrap gifts that can be given to guests at the party. Gifts with your venue's logo can also increase brand awareness. "
  • "Gift exchanges are notorious for extending the end time of an event. To alleviate this problem, invent a fun game with easy directions that can be played in a short amount of time."
  • "Nikos is the person behind successful tourism startups like Travel by Interest, Destsetters & Hotelier Academy. "
  • "With his important experience in the Hospitality Industry, he helps both hotels & companies to succeed in the tourism market while at the same time he loves sharing his knowledge with professionals around the world. "
  • "Co-founder of & The Booking Factory, Hotel Tech Entrepreneur. Mum of one, Living life on a startup rollercoaster!"
From Part 04
  • "Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) has been ranked at the top position in the 2019 QS World University ranking for Hospitality & Leisure Management Universities, after celebrating its 125th anniversary and earning the extremely sought-after Michelin star."