Smack in the middle

It’s hard to believe we’ve passed the halfway point of 2013! As we ramp up for the second half, it’s always worth taking a moment to reflect on what has emerged, what is emerging as well as the gaps in-between. Let’s take a look at five categories and the trends within each that have caught the attention of the hospitality industry.


Drip-irrigated vertical plant walls have become costly to maintain so many are converting into edible garden walls, and hotels are a great place to incorporate these fascinating pieces of culinary art.

Hand sketching or wall writing and individual “letters” have gone mainstream. Favorite quotes and words of wisdom elegantly written in halls or guestrooms or individual letters in concrete or wood randomly placed have popped up consistently in lobbies and at front desks.

Worthy mentions: Black-and-white, chevron patterns, reclaimed woods, industrial light fixtures, brass metals and geometrics are all strong design trends with plenty of life remaining.

Food and beverage

Cupcakes take a back seat to cronuts, a croissant fried like a doughnut. Hybrid dessert lovers can’t get enough. After its launch in May, cronut fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore making it the most viral dessert item to date.

Zip-code honeys take the lead in going, buying and offering all things local.

And forget stainless steel flatware or plain white porcelain. Increasingly, it’s stone or ceramic plates that are getting the attention.

Worthy mentions: Blondies are the new brownies. Ice cream. Duck eggs. Homemade yogurt. Bread as its own course. Stovetop smokers.


A wave of Chinese travelers is on the way, so check your search engines for social media platforms like Sina Weibo and Qzone, which assist in establishing the important basics like teaching your staff how to welcome and assist Chinese guests.


March 21, 2013, marked the seventh anniversary of the first tweet! For a service that was initially met with much skepticism, Twitter has steadily become a necessary PR tool, taking its place alongside — or in industries such as hospitality, ahead of — the traditional press release.

Is your property website mobile-friendly? Think mobile and assume guests are accessing your information on mobile devices so you can adjust accordingly. Mobile has become a game-changer in how people travel. 

More people are buying tablets versus PCs and notebooks — an interesting trend, since it’s less than three years after the introduction of the tablet!

Side notes: QR codes will not be going away, and an uptick in the wearable computer category is right around the corner.


Remember the days when a new fashion season meant a new must-have? Single items would dominate, but this has changed thanks to the popularity of street styles and e-commerce. With so many creating their own sense of style, dare I say we are trended out? And, will this transcend into hotel uniforms “going away,” allowing the staff to express their individual styles?

This list was meant to touch lightly on just a few of my personal favorites thus far for 2013. Now it’s your turn. Which trends are topping your list? And, do you have a prediction of what will earn “iconic trend of 2013” honors?