Despite stagnant economic growth and emerging safety and health concerns, many people are surprised by the continued growth of the hotel industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism is the fasted growing industry. As a matter of fact, this industry accounts for almost 10 percent of the global GDP and almost 300 million jobs.

Where is the Hospitality Industry Growing?

There are different ways that the hospitality industry is growing. First, there is localized geographic growth. This is a result of limited personal finances and the economic slowdown. Travelers have shifted their focus from lavish international trips to affordable local excursions, or “staycations.” Therefore, the domestic hospitality market is experiencing a boom, especially in states with popular tourist hot spots. This domestic overcrowding has resulted in travelers exploring ordinary or even off the beaten path locations.

Second, there are certain hospitality industry specializations that are benefiting from localized tourism. This means that travel consumers are spending an equal amount of money on food on lodging. Travelers are using local restaurants as a way to not only experience a new cuisine, but a new American subculture.

Finally, there are demographic groups driving hospitality industry growth. Baby Boomers continue to retire and enjoy their free time and wealth through traveling. However, Millennials are also enjoying short-term, interstate leisure trips.

Projected Growth Trends

As mentioned above, Millennials are beginning to enter their prime earning years and thus will soon replace Baby Boomers as one of the primary consumer demographic. The hotel industry is making sweeping changes that are driving growth and innovation. For example, Millennials grow up being exposed to the world through technology and they tend to prefer a personalized experience, as opposed to Baby Boomers who tend to prefer a familiar experience with standard features. Hotels are experimenting with finding the right combination of design, technology and personalization to engage Millennial customers. Keep in mind that for Millennials, consumer engagement doesn’t begin when they walk through the hotel’s front door, but when they read online reviews and visit the hotel’s social media site.

The Impact of Casino Hotels

Despite the fact that gambling is legal under federal law, almost all states strictly prohibit or regulate gambling. Currently, Nevada and Louisiana are the only states where casino gambling is officially legal. The rest of the states tend to restrict casinos to certain geographic areas and to Native American reservations. In fact, many federally recognized Native America tribes have embraced casino hotels as a way to stimulate their local economies while rebuilding their cultures. Casino hotel competition is actually on the rise and fueling a welcoming buyer’s market.

Additionally, the casino hotel industry is taking advantage of changing social norms and perceptions about gambling. As a result, there are more family friendly hotel casinos that offer fun and excitement for all family members. For example, the Circus Circus hotel in Las Vegas is a mecca for parents with children who both want to enjoy themselves. Casino hotels are decreasing their focus on gambling and increasing their focus on expanding their services and functions.

Hotels are expanding and offering better entertainment, lower lodging prices and appealing restaurant chains. Industry experts anticipate that growth of the Hotel Industry will continue to grow through technology, globalization and consumer empowerment.