Miami’s hotel market sizzles

CREW-Miami hosted a luncheon panel earlier this month on Top New Trends for Miami’s Hospitality Market.”  Led by moderator Max Comess, director of HFF’s Hotel Group; Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, Thomas Mending, area vice president of the SLS Hotel South Beach, and Wendy Mendes, principal at RTKL, discussed the latest trends in hospitality in Miami’s sizzling market.

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Miami’s tourism industry has always been healthy, to say the least. We know the Miami Downtown Development Authority has been working hard to draw visitors to the urban core, and it’s working. But the panel shed light on some interesting facts we didn’t know, as well as statistics and upcoming trends that blew us out of the water. Here are our top five favorites:

1. New kinds of travelers: Millennials are different kinds of travelers. Unlike previous generations who liked consistency, new travelers seek unique experiences in each location they visit. Hotels should grant a sense of place, and provide local flare. What does this mean? Hotels no longer need to attach themselves to big brands to attract travelers.

2. Where are they coming from: most of Miami’s visitors are international – 51%, to be precise. More impressive? That translates into $22.8 billion dollars in spending and 14 million total visitors, according to Kallergis. Now that’s good business!

3. “It’s so Miami:” Over 30 offices worldwide are dedicated to promoting the “It’s so Miami” branding campaign. Kallergis says, “We’re not stuffy and we’re a lot of fun.” You can sail in the Grove, or race a speedboat on Biscayne Bay. You can race Nascar in Homestead, or join the cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway. You can just as easily party at Ultra, as you could sip champagne at Art Basel.

4. Technology and travel: People are looking for a memorable experience says RTKL’s Mendes, and as a designer, you have to look to create a memorable moment. Hotels are using tech to try and connect more and more with guests. From collecting your email address to asking you for Facebook likes, they want to connect with you to better serve you. The better they serve you, the more likely you are to stay there again. Moreover, hotels are incorporating technology in their actual design; for example, the InterContinental Hotel Miami is using an LED screen on the side of their building to add three iconic dancers to the Miami skyline.

5. Visitors from new places: Qatar Airlines is about to launch direct flights from Miami to Doha, Qatar, a major airline hub for the Middle East and Asia. Moreover, Abu Dhabi has purchased a hotel in Miami to develop – what? Miami is not a domestic capital, but an international capital—and it’s growing.

Bonus: Even hurricane season can’t get Miami down. Just check out this list on the Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Miami in Hurricane Season. Have any of your own? Be sure to add them in the comments!