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Traditionally, hotels have had to go through the painstaking and paperwork-heavy process of applying to banks and large-scale investors for funding for new projects. On one hand, this has helped ensure that only those projects with definite potential for success get the green light, but on the other hand, it doesn’t really leave much room for out-of-the-box thinking and bold new ideas.

But according to the latest World Travel Market (WTM) Global Trends Report, this model is fast becoming outdated, as an increasing number of hotel developers turn to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to get their properties financed.

What this means is that hoteliers are inviting the public to pitch their ideas via social media and are integrating this feedback into their concept. Following this, they then turn to the same contributors for funding, offering to give away benefits such as free stays in return.

This is an extension of the “personalisation” trend that is so prevalent throughout travel – and it’s easy to see how a hotel “created by you, designed by you and funded by you” would appeal to today’s travellers who really value experiences tailored to their own preferences.

According to experts, the luxury hotel segment is ideal for this new approach to hotel design and financing, given that the planning times tend to be longer and that the concept is best suited to hotels that incorporate unique features. And it’s not just new hotels that are following this trend – Marriott International used digital crowdsourcing to create brand innovations from towel design to vending machines, and rolled out these concepts at some of their properties.

Although this trend has its roots in the US and Europe, it is likely to spread globally in the coming years, particularly as internet access grows.