As the hospitality and foodservice sector continues to evolve in a post-pandemic world, it faces new economic challenges and opportunities. At Winnow, we're excited to present our predictions for the top seven trends set to shape the industry in 2024. These trends are a reflection of changing consumer preferences and the industry’s commitment to embracing technology, sustainability, and innovative business practices.
1. Cultural Experiences and Authenticity in Hospitality
In 2024, we anticipate a greater demand for authentic cultural experiences in hospitality. Travellers and diners are increasingly seeking immersive, culturally-rich experiences, shifting the focus towards local cuisines and traditions. This trend offers a unique opportunity for businesses to connect guests with their destination's heritage in a meaningful way.
Hilton’s 2024 trends report reports that as the world holds onto a renewed sense of wanderlust following the pandemic, 64% of global travellers say they aim to reduce other areas of their personal spending to prioritize leisure travel in 2024. This is especially true for Gen Z and Millennials.
Chris Nassetta, Hilton President and CEO adds “As we look to 2024, we are both confident and optimistic. We know people of all ages will continue to seek out travel experiences as an opportunity to gain new, life-defining moments“.
2. Personalised Nutrition and Responsible Choices
The rising health consciousness among consumers is driving the trend towards personalized nutrition and sustainable dining options. Advanced technology enables more tailored dietary recommendations, catering to individual health needs and preferences. Consumers are increasingly turning to products like ZOE who analyse consumers’ unique gut, blood fat, and blood sugar responses to provide personalised recommendations for health and nutrition.
This shift is accompanied by an increased focus on sustainable practices, like carbon tracking, to meet the expectations for responsible dining. Hospitality businesses are partnering with the likes of Klimato to analyse the supply chain data of their menus and provide consumers with farm to fork transparency.
3. Powering Productivity and Collective Learning
Forward thinking caterers have been arguing the case for foodservice as a driver of workforce productivity. Chris Sheppardson of EP writes, “There is a good reason why the one-hour lunch break played such a normal and central role in work cultures over many decades. However, the change now is how companies are bringing in creative arts to workspaces to allow employees the opportunity to “refresh” by tapping into their creativity – whether art, food, ceramics, pilates, yoga or music. Feedback and research suggest that such use of space is seeing higher productivity, retention, cultures, team interaction, energy and satisfaction. The business argument can easily be made but it does need to start by empowering employees to have the time to “refresh” during the day”.
Collaboration and collective intelligence are becoming key drivers of innovation in the hospitality industry more widely, too. The year 2024 will see enhanced collaboration within the industry, from sustainable sourcing partnerships to shared knowledge platforms, emphasizing the power of collective problem-solving and innovative thinking.
4. The Evolution of Business Travel
With business travel in 2024 predicted to surpass pre-Covid levels, we expect to see it evolving to incorporate more flexibility and leisure elements. Hospitality providers will adapt by offering enhanced workspaces and tech-equipped facilities, catering to the unique needs of modern business travellers and blending business with leisure to create a more holistic travel experience.
With the rise of distributed teams and remote working, travel to offices combined with leisure (i.e. “Bleisure) has been termed 'super commuting'. Unlike typical short-distance commutes by train or car, these longer journeys often warrant company sponsorship. A Deloitte survey reveals that relocated employees are increasingly traveling to company headquarters, with a notable 70% of these trips being fully or partially funded by the employer. This shift signifies an emerging, or perhaps intensified, category of business travel, necessitating adaptations in corporate travel policies.
5. Sustainability and Regenerative Practices
Sustainability remains a central focus, with the industry adopting regenerative practices and new circular business models. This trend encompasses local sourcing, waste reduction, and regenerative agriculture, reflecting a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable growth. At Winnow, we’re seeing users of our tools set increasingly ambitious targets for reducing their food waste.
One to watch in the workplace is NorNorm who provide office furniture as a subscription service. The Swedish scale up, backed by IKEA’s venture arm, says that “Adaptability is key to workspace success, fitting diverse requirements ranging from company expansions to office function refreshes”.
6. Robotics in Hospitality: The Rise of Collaborative Robots
A significant trend for 2024 is the integration of robotics into the hospitality sector. Companies like SoftBank Robotics are at the forefront, enhancing service and efficiency through AI-powered robots. These include autonomous vacuum cleaners and tray delivery machines, revolutionizing tasks like food delivery and room service in hotels.
By harnessing AI and IoT sensors these robots are becoming smarter, learning the most efficient routes and maintenance schedules to revolutionize operational efficiency in hospitality.
By 2025, it’s projected that robotics, fuelled by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), will have significantly reshaped various aspects of hotel operations.
Referred to as Cobots, Softbank Robotics predict that in the future hospitality businesses will be able to use their technology to automate repetitive, time consuming tasks. This will free up time for human team members to spend more time with customers thereby improving the customer experience. Trials with the likes of Compass Group and others in the restaurant and hotel space are already delivering positive results.
7. AI in Everything: Revolutionising the Customer Journey
In 2023 the world changed as OpenAI and ChatGPT became the fastest growing app ever gaining 100m users in just two months. Over a year on and ChatGPT has been adopted by 92% of Fortune 500 companies setting in motion fundamental changes to the way organisations are structured and operate day-to-day.
AI’s role in the hospitality sector is expanding beyond customer service to sophisticated applications like predictive analytics and AI-driven kitchen management. Winnow is leading this revolution with AI technologies such as Winnow Vision, significantly reducing food waste and enhancing operational efficiency.
Roam Around is a window into the future of travel. The app builds on the same technology underpinning ChatGPT to provide tailored travel itineraries, find and book attractions and can even make reservations at restaurants based on a customer’s preference.
Operations teams will increasingly look to various forms of AI to cut costs and improve productivity. Tools like Winnow which saved IKEA $37m globally will no doubt continue to capture the attention of industry leaders looking to drive efficiencies with proven solutions.
From cultural authenticity to the cutting-edge integration of AI and robotics, the sector is set for substantial growth and innovation. At Winnow, we are excited to be part of this journey, leading in sustainable practices and embracing new technologies to help our partners navigate these exciting developments. The resilience, adaptability, and forward-thinking approach of the industry promise a future of success and positive change.
These trends for 2024 highlight the dynamic evolution of the food and beverage industry. Whilst the breakneck speed of change can feel uncomfortable, embracing these new trends presents an opportunity to create a more robust, sustainable sector.