The year is just starting but people are already planning their next vacation trips. From the destination to the budget, to accommodation—it is daunting to keep track of all the factors that go into any individual travel plan. Doing a little market research for your business is a great step towards bringing your business up the scale. Check out these seven travel trends for this year to help figure out the best strategy to attract the holiday crowd.
1. Uncharted Territories
People have been getting more and more experimental with their travel itineraries. Younger generations are more spontaneous when traveling. They often opt for more “off the beaten path” destinations. Uncharted territories like these attract travelers with the unknown, bringing foot traffic to less touristy destinations.
Climate change has also raised a newfound awareness among this generation regarding their itineraries. Rising ocean temperatures have caused bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef with half the living corals already lost. Venice is now expecting to flood due to rising sea levels. Global temperatures have started melting Glacier National Park. “Last Chance Tourism,” has boomed as a result and many local businesses have started to offer other services in order to attract off-season tourists.
The number of freelancers is growing. It is estimated that 50% of the UK and the American workforce will be freelancers. Around 1/3 of the Australian workforce is freelance as well. This setup leads to more flexible working hours or the ability to take their work anywhere they go. ‘Digital Nomads’ is a term used to describe remote workers like these. People are traveling more than ever and short weekend getaways are starting to become popular.
Innovations in technology led to last minute booking apps, cheap short-haul flights, and shorter waiting times. One can book a trip to Sydney on Thursday, fly on Friday evening, and be back on Sunday night. For those who work in the corporate setting, there is almost no need to file for holidays or vacation leaves.
These bite-sized trips will increase in 2019, indicating more consistent opportunities for small, local businesses.
3. Technology-enhanced travel
Fancy a dinosaur greeting you in fluent English at the hotel check-in? Such a sight is not out of place in Japan’s Henn na Hotel. Henn na, or ‘Weird’ Hotel in Japanese, is staffed primarily by robots. They manage a lot of the hotel’s services from the dinosaur at the check-in to the mechanical arm manning the locker. The innovations highlighted at the Henn na Hotel is just an example of how technology is shaping the travel experience for customers and the industry for business owners.
Physical robots are not the only indicator of this trend. Booking through smartphones with apps like Airbnb or Skyscanner have made it easier to plan last-minute flights and accommodations. Top hotels like Mariott have launched its own booking app as well. There is also a rise in keyless room access thanks to facial recognition software. Biometrically enabled products are being tested at airports to reduce long manual checks on boarding and immigration. Over 77% of airports are planning more programmes like this over the next five years.
4. Responsible tourism
2019 is the year of the conscious traveller. These travellers take into account many factors when choosing their next destination. From gender equality, working conditions, and social-environmental issues as a result of too much tourism, people are now evaluating whether their visit may cause more harm than good to a particular place. With the rise of solo travelers, safety has also become more important.
It extends to the environment as well. Most cruise ships have banned single-use plastics like plastic spoons and forks. People now expect guests to clean up after themselves on the beach. Research from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has shown that a better environmental record could be the edge a travel business needs in order to attract holidaymakers.
5. Volunteering and Skill-based Holidays
This travel trend was a major point of discussion in 2018 and continues on in this year. With the current generation moving away from collecting material possessions, the focus has shifted to experiences. Destinations with tactile exercises like rock climbing or diving are popular avenues for this reason. Activities like these teach valuable skills and build rapport with local communities.
Furthermore, generations have longed questioned the merits of an expensive university degree versus skills gained from traveling. These purpose-driven trips are now making a significant impact on tourists’ lives with 56% agreeing that their travels have taught them valuable life lessons according to Booking.com.
More and more travelers are now traveling with a cause. They want to make a positive impact on the environment and the community. Skills-based holidays, therefore, will be expected to rise in popularity.
6. Solo Travels
Everyone loves their independence. As part of the social shift on how we perceive independence, research from Jules Verne reported that over a quarter of people travel solo more than once in a year. Social media, the popularity of micro-trips, and the fact that people are staying single for longer make this travel trend more and more popular.
For many people, travel is an opportunity to reflect. These breaks allow them to take small nostalgia trips and spend some time with nature. They may even volunteer by themselves in local communities, meeting new people along the way.
7. “Bleisure” Travel
As more and more entrepreneurs become digital nomads or hosts, the lines between business and leisure travel will continue to blur. Taking into account the previous trends, even corporate travelers stop rushing when visiting places. Instead of heading home immediately after a business conference, these types may opt to explore the location in much detail. They’ll set aside time to visit local food stops and attractions they did not check out earlier. This is a trend called ‘Bleisure Travel.’
Understandably, companies may be adamant about funding the “leisure” part of this trend. However, this trend does pave the path for more startups to carve a niche for themselves and address this growing audience. This type of tourism can help bring attention to countries ripe for business expansion.
Taking your business to the next level
With these emerging trends in the travel and tourism industry, 2019 is the perfect year to take your business to the next level. The competition is without a doubt tough, requiring businesses to always be on the lookout for innovation. Still, the basics of providing value for customers and giving them a sense of fulfillment will always remain the same no matter the trend.
Don’t know where to start? Talk to us today.