An erosion of trust in public and private sector institutions is highlighted as a key trend in a new study by InterContinental Hotels Group.

The hotel giant’s 2015 trends report – published to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos – focuses on how organisations can build ‘trust capital,’ unveiling a blueprint that organisations can follow to build trust with different demographics and across different geographies.

The insight is based on a series of related studies spanning three years involving nearly 40,000 interviews with international travellers worldwide.

Companies should aim to build both brand and organisational trust, according to the report – the third in a series focusing on consumer insights impacting the hospitality industry and business in general.

IHG

One key trend is that consumers are getting older and younger all at the same time but not in all the same places. The demographic picture shows a large group of Boomers (born 1946-1964) and a large group of Millennials (born 1982-2000).

These two groups have very different mind-sets, world-views, different desires when travelling, and different approaches to brands and trust.

The real opportunity for brands is strategically managing both of these groups at the same time, according to the research.

  • Millennials prefer close, experiential relationships with brands whereas Boomers look for brand relationships that go smoothly, with no hitches or glitches. 23% of Millennials say they want to stay in hotels that say something about them, versus 11% of Boomers
  • Millennials are more apt to be ‘invisible travellers’ than Boomers – people who can move through the guest journey without caring for people-enabled contact. 67% of Boomers say they would prefer to call a hotel and speak with ‘real’ people on-site for information, versus 56% of Millennials
  • Millennials and Boomers have different desires when travelling as a family. Millennials look for places that have family-centric activities where their children will be well taken care of and will have fun. Boomers prefer everyone to be together in a multi-generational way.

The report argues that the changing nature of the family is also impacting how the consumer builds trust.

It reveals that the ‘kinship economy’ now has two kinds of kinship – those who are our true family, and kindred spirits. Appealing to a person’s two “networks” in relevant and differentiating manners is a positive and cost-effective way to gain and retain consumers.

IHG chief executive Richard Solomons said: “As we look around us, there are so many shifts taking place. In a digital, 24/7 world, where personalisation is increasing and consumers have a new definition of value, the trust that people have in both brands and the organisation behind them is more important than ever.

“Our research has shown that building ‘trust capital’ plays a critical role in delivering sustainable, high quality revenue growth.

“To build trust, organisations must ensure they adopt a trust agenda, focus on personalisation whilst being aware of the boundaries and develop a deep understanding of how guest needs are changing by demographic and by geography.

“For IHG, maintaining our focus in these areas will help us to continue to build genuine guest loyalty and rewarding relationships between our guests and our brands, now and into the future.”