WTM news: is no-tech the new hi-tech?

WTM news: is no-tech the new hi-tech?

Offering wi-fi is standard for many hotels – yet others are heading in the opposite direction and helping guests to check in and switch off.

According to the WTM Global Trends Report 2012 released on the first day of the exhibition, more hotels are offering ‘digital detox’ holidays to help stressed consumers to relax and unwind, without texts and emails. As far back as 2008, the term “nomophobia” was used to indicate a fear of being without a mobile phone.

Now in 2012, the seemingly ubiquitous nature of smartphones, tablets and laptops means consumers are even more addicted to their devices.

The WTM Global Trends Report 2012 – in association with Euromonitor International – said this has prompted a rise in the number of hotel “technology-free” packages, with the chance to relinquish devices and indulge in treatments such as massages.

The report cites Hotel Monaco in Chicago which has a “tranquillity suite” and a “technology break” package; the Quincy in Washington DC which has a “Be Unplugged” package; and the UK’s Lifehouse Country Spa Resort, which offers the “BlackBerry Creche”.

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Kristina Bush, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel – which offers a Zen and the Art of Detox package – said: “Digital detox packages have to be offered as part of an overall experience rather than just aiming to keep customers away from their devices.”

Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman World Travel Market, Fiona Jeffery, added: “This is another great example of how hotels are bucking the gloomy trends in travel by tapping into the zeitgeist and providing an escape for busy travellers. This digital detox theme is part of the greater trend for hotels to offer innovative wellness packages.”

Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research, said: “Hotels are expected to experience positive growth in 2013, outperforming other travel accommodation, driven by rising disposable incomes, despite the world’s economic woes.”

“Offering a relaxing alternative for consumers to step off the relentless ‘digital’ treadmill is another example of how hotels are filling a gap in the market and helping to boost their bottom line at a difficult economic time.”