The beat goes on

Some trends just won’t go away for whatever reason — a state of mind, a sign of the times or some weird cultural obsession — for better or worse. 

Let’s take a look at five hospitality trends that appear to be here to stay!

Long live the password

For decades, passwords have been the standard for digital security, but managing them seems to be getting more and more difficult. Even the concept of “multi-factor authentication” (relying on something you have or know) can present a challenge.

In hospitality, biometric information (fingerprint, voice, facial or iris recognition) has tempted many, but will it ever go truly mainstream? Most of the new security resolutions work well in isolated uses, but when all is said and done, they have yet to prove themselves in mainstream consumer use.

Adore the s’more

Just when you thought the gooey temptation of s’mores had run its course, someone came up with the idea of “salting and styling” the campfire snacks, and voila, a new audience was found!

There is no longer an unspoken age limit to enjoy a trio of marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker as adults are enjoying the sophisticated version. From fine dining to room service and afternoon dessert service, the adult version gets gourmet-ish with the use of lavender marshmallows and dark instead of milk chocolate! 

Chalkboard anything

Moving from residential to commercial venues boosted the life expectancy of the trend wave of chalkboard finishes, which has gone rampant. A chalkboard finish is being applied to lobby walls, furniture and front desks, and I expect it to appear upstairs in guestrooms any day!

With restaurants in major refresh mode, coating a wall with chalkboard or incorporating it as a menu backdrop are the most popular uses. And although the color options of black, green or blue are available, regardless of your design scheme, most opt for black.

One noteworthy example that isn’t as dramatic is upcycling an average or ordinary plate into a guest-friendly piece of décor. As restaurants continue to use itemized menus for wine, food and desserts, this simple approach not only adds flair and creativity to the tabletop and overall restaurant experience, it may even increase your dessert sales. The font can be written with a contemporary, classic or whimsical approach, making it work in most settings. Long live the chalkboard!

Flavor-injected benefits

First it was the brand expansion of the popular Girl Scout Cookie as it was launched in the grocery channel as a creamer option for coffee. (Who wouldn’t want to start their day with a Thin Mint-, Tagalong- or Samoa-flavored brew?)

Soon thereafter, beverage companies started boosting their lineups of water and soda with expanded lines of flavor shots. On the opposite side of the spectrum, meat connoisseurs became intrigued by seasoning injections being shot directly into the cut for better absorption during the cooking process.

The next flavor spike trend is something relatively disturbing: flavored cigars such as pineapple, da bomb blueberry or chocolate, often displayed near or in the candy section. Although I get the flavor trend in other products, I have a personal issue with the whole flavored nicotine trend, which I share for general knowledge purposes as many hotels witness young guests smoking up a flavored storm over the summer months.

App mania

By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads from app stores. Affecting each and every one of our daily routines, in hotels and out, the app development world is expanding beyond what most can comprehend.

The Poncho app is intriguing many in New York where it’s currently available, and its ability to send an email or text message to help plan your day is simply amazing. With alerts about topics ranging from weather, commuting and alternate parking options to allergy forecast information, a few other new app launches aren’t nearly as comprehensive.

Take Paranormal State, a free app from Apple that enables iPhones to detect electromagnetic fields that apparently indicate the presence of either a spirit from beyond or a nearby power line. Or, if you happen to be in need of a restroom, AT&T’s Have2P app will search for the nearest one and provide information such as whether or not the restroom is for patrons only, whether it has a changing table and how clean it is!

With hotels being a great source for locating new trends, I am sure you’ve witnessed trends in your own life you’d prefer to end. But what about the trends you don’t want to end? Are there any you’ve observed at your property that either you, your staff or guests can’t get enough of?