What New Tech Investments Are Revealing About The Future Of Hospitality

By Jordi Lippe-McGraw Jordi Lippe-McGraw has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on November 2, 2021

While nearly every industry was affected by the pandemic, one, in particular, was hit hard: travel. Airlines, hotels, and more were forced to shut their doors for months and are now finding new ways to function in a post-COVID world. What are those changes? Well, experts can certainly give their opinions. Or, we can take a look at where venture funds are investing. 

Recently, hotel payment software startup Selfbook raised $25 million in a Series A round of funding led by Tiger Global Management. In addition, Thayer Ventures Acquisition Corp. invested in the management arm of Life House independent hotels and hotel revenue-management software firm Duetto. And Agya Ventures–a real estate technology fund investing in early-stage tech and founders–already backed two companies in the industry this year. These include Stayflexi–a proprietary first-of-its-kind software system to automate and integrate hotel and vacation stay processes and operations end to end–and Kift, which uses a van as their mobile bedroom and access to a network of clubhouses across the West Coast.

Generally, what’s happening is the “decentralization” or “unbundling” of hospitality options. For example, gone are the days when the primary option was to stay in a one-bedroom hotel room. Instead, people now have a wide range of options to choose from, such as Airbnb, short-term rentals, glamping, special stay packages that are beauty-focused, pet-focused, etc. 

“What’s driving this trend is the realization many people have gone through that there isn’t much of a point in staying in a room or a facility that looks the same anywhere,” said Nobu Iguchi at Agya Ventures. “People want special experiences that make their time and stay count.”

So, what can we expect in the hospitality world moving forward?

More Workcations

The pandemic has fueled the rise of workcations–visits to extended-stay properties for work and leisure. These stays often happen at fully-serviced locations with dedicated workspaces, strong WiFi, and multiple meeting spaces to accommodate both couples and families. In response to this new demand, new workcation packages have emerged across the hospitality industry, including major incumbents, boutiques, and alternative hospitality providers. Examples include: Work from Hyatt, WorkSpaces by Hilton, Umaya Village, Kift, etc.

Glamping Will Grow

Yes, glamping became a buzzword in hospitality pre-pandemic. But it’s not going anywhere. In fact, glamping is one of the most prominent verticals of alternative hospitality. It consists of luxury cabins, yurts, and treehouses often owned and operated by a glamping company. Notably, glamping has taken off with Millennial and Gen Z audiences, who account for 60% of total demand in the U.S. Just look at Getaway, Bubble Hotel, etc.

Focus On Wellness

Again, wellness travel was steadily rising before the spread of COVID-19. But, the pandemic has placed renewed emphasis on wellness in both one’s professional and personal life. One rising sector in this space is wellness tourism, where travel is associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being. This trend presents an opportunity to equip a curated group of assets with wellness services and amenities, creating target destinations for the growing segment of wellness tourists. Just take a look at Six Senses, Miraval Resorts, Vacayou, and more. 

By Jordi Lippe-McGraw Jordi Lippe-McGraw has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a News Columnist at Grit Daily. A multi-faceted NYC-based journalist, her work on topics from travel to finance have been featured in the New York Times, WSJ Magazine, TODAY, Conde Nast Traveler, and she has appeared on TODAY and MSNBC for her expertise. Jordi has also traveled to more than 30 countries on all 7 continents and is a certified coach teaching people how to leave the 9-to-5 behind.

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