When Travel Agent learned that Scott Hodgetts was tapped as the new general manager at the five-star Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa in Vietnam, we reached out to get his insights on travel trends in the region. Here, he shares his thoughts.
As we prepare the Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa for opening this summer, we’re cognizant of a number of trends at large within the world of travel.
One of the issues we’re responding to at the Sheraton is the technologically savvy traveler. It used to be that a traveler’s technological dependencies went as far as the telephone and a television - one of which he tended not to use in a far-flung place like Vietnam, the other of which he used a lot, especially when satellite channels brought familiar channels into his or her room.
But now, our traveler is in constant contact, whether by mobile phone or Internet. In any hotel, he expects that these services will be readily available and of the very best sophistication.
That’s why the Sheraton in general has rolled out the [email protected] environment. Our guests need WiFi access, and they want this to be as free as the multitude of channels we offer on television. We’ll provide free WiFi access and Internet-enabled work stations in our [email protected] café concept. In this way, our guests can stay connected with friends and family while they’re away.
Free Internet is definitely on trend, and so is the fusion of the work and leisure traveler. The Internet means that you’re never out of touch. The days of being on vacation alone are over for many people. We’ve recognized that, and that’s why we’re planning to open as the most technologically sophisticated hotel in Vietnam. Our guests need to be able to bounce from the beach to the boardroom in a moment’s notice, and [email protected] enables that.
These same technologically savvy people are also booking travel on their own. Online they book their flights, they make arrangements for accommodation - all beyond traditional booking channels.
The costs of travel in recent years have become incredibly transparent, again thanks to the Internet. They know what things cost now in a way they did not 10 years ago. We need to be as lean and sharp as their expectations. We’re seeing more low-cost airlines coming into prominence, and people taking advantage of these opportunities. As this Recession heats up, I expect there’ll be greater demand for the hotels that understand the smarter consumer.