Welcome to Trendline, a bi-monthly newsletter created in partnership between The Gettys Group Companies and TrendWatching. Here we examine TrendWatching’s global insights through a hospitality lens while considering the possible implications and applications to our industry.
Each issue focuses on TrendWatching’s Mega-Trends, a comprehensive list of the ways human needs and expectations are changing and defining modern consumerism. This post also discusses our Hotel of Tomorrow Project, specifically food and beverage innovation.
As we talked with Trend Guru and co-author Max Luthy, we discovered a pandemic-inspired paradigm shift. It’s an unleashing of pent-up for demand for interaction and celebration—as in the 1920s—and a return to 1960s ideals like love, idealism, freedom, exploration and justice.
The past year, time has slowed and accelerated—but perhaps this paradox signals a new era. Below, we explore trends that exhibit the markings of 20s recovery and prosperity, and reflect the cultural revolution of the 60s.
Many have provided equitable care for those in need throughout the pandemic. Haloed chefs like José Andrés and Massimo Bottura started movements to feed the hungry and save jobs (World Central Kitchen and Food for Soul respectively). Through inspiring acts of generosity and care, these chefs leveraged their influence to better the world one meal at a time.
For too long, we’ve witnessed the inequity and inequality of life in Black and minority communities. Recently, as in the 60s, these issues bubbled to a boil. And as Black-owned businesses found new and growing support, innovation followed with creative solutions like EatOkra, an app that helps users find local Black-owned restaurants.
The 2010s were all about catching up to the ever-evolving digital world, leading to explosive growth in energy drink options and sales. The trend continues into this decade with caffeinated products like Coca-Cola with Coffee.
However, the countertrend category—”slow drinks”—is also growing. One example is Driftwell, Pepsi’s enhanced still water beverage created to promote relaxation. If we hustled through the 2010s, the 2020s may be about appreciating life at a slower pace.
In the 60s, dining out was an extravagance, a luxury reserved for well-deserved celebrations and the well-to-do. Last year, the pandemic relegated dining’s social experience to takeout. We expect the restaurant industry to come roaring back (pun intended). With great food and drinks, attentive service and alluring atmosphere as the expectation, restaurateurs will compete to attract and retain diners with enhanced, surprising offerings.
How will our tech-infused reality enhance the pre-pandemic experience economy? The new X Pot at the Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Las Vegas offers a hint. The restaurant boasts projection-mapped, environment-shifting entertainment, robot servers and cook-it-yourself delicacies.
“Clean at any cost” single-use plastics and disposables gained new life during the pandemic, despite the growing movement towards sustainability and low-waste living. However, just as environmentalism became a rallying cry in the 60s, many consumers are now moving away from packaged products to cut down on shipping and plastic waste. Drink mix products like Plink, personal care products like Plus and eco-friendly laundry detergents are a few of the innovations redefining the category.
New approaches to cooking and dining came into vogue during quarantine: think budding home chef skills (and sourdough starters!) and restaurants streamlining carryout, curbside pickup, order tracking and delivery. Innovations include Sweetgreen Outpost, a food program that delivers orders to a location (i.e. company, hospital, residential building) during a daily time window. Even Michelin starred restaurants like Alinea have new pickup and shipping options that require assembly at home. Expect this DFY (done-for-you) + DIY (do-it-yourself) practice to remain.
The time glitch we’re living through has brought back 1960s ideals and the unbridled enthusiasm of the 1920s. We hope revisiting the benefits of justice, shared experiences, sustainability and creativity will enrich our hospitality experiences—and that we carry them with us as long as we can.
Our focus has been on applying many insights from those changing expectations to our Hotel of Tomorrow Project, adding them to the conversation about the future of our industry.