The New Nomad: 5 Travel Trends According To A Modern Anthropologist
Trend forecaster, speaker and editor of the influential Trend Tablet, Cecile Poignant is a modern anthropologist who observes and reports about the world around her. Recently, she presented an inspiring and insightful lecture on "The Future of Travel & Hospitality" at The Murray, Hong Kong's first ever Niccolo Lecture in the region. From the movement towards minimalism to a growing affinity for all things nature, here's what Poignant's findings had to show:
Embracing new surroundings
Gone—somewhat—are the days when a holiday meant hiding away at a resort, removed from the culture and everyday life happening outside of its gates. “People no longer want to be passive, they want to be a part of something,” says Poignant, adding that hotels are increasingly bringing elements of their location into their design to create their own unique ecosystems.
A perfect example is 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York, which used reclaimed wood from trees felled during Hurricane Sandy from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to create tables for the hotel's restaurant, café, and lobby.
"There should be a feeling of history, of meaning and of soul," she says. "A sense of being rather than having."
A destination for both travellers and neighbours
As well as welcoming visitors, more hotels are targeting locals than ever before with programmes like cooking classes and wellness initiatives, along with destination restaurants and bars. For example, WooBar at W Hotel properties, and the consistently convivial lobbies at Ace Hotels around the world, have become hotspots in their respective cities.
More than just a clever business move, bringing visitors and locals together helps to make this big world feel a little smaller—and isn't that what travelling is all about?
Poignant emphasises the point that the definition of luxury has done a complete 180 from what it was just a few years ago. Hotels and villas are embracing a minimalistic look, but that minimalism shouldn't be confused with weak design. It's about quality over quantity, where items are chosen with purpose and intent.
“People with money know that time is something that can’t be bought. It is the ultimate luxury. Luxury now is about finding a certain quality of peace, going back to well-chosen essentials… it's about having more time and less stuff," she explains. "Luxury is not always shiny and glamorous."
"These young people are the reason we are all eating avocado toast," Poignant jokes. With the world becoming increasingly and collectively more health-conscious, it's important that hotels follow suit with healthy eating options—many hotels and resorts are even beginning to grow their own organic produce—and wellness programmes including yoga and meditation.
"As more people move into big cities, the more we look for nature—or at least some connection with nature. That said, people don’t want to go 100% rugged, they just want a taste," says Poignant. "Perhaps a hike, perhaps watersports, perhaps starting a bonfire and cooking on that fire… they just want a taste, a reminder, of what it's like to be close to nature."
This story originally appeared on Hong Kong Tatler.