Booking.com has delved into insights from over 163 million verified guest reviews, and research from 21,500 travelers across 29 countries, to reveal eight travel predictions. Here’s my take:
Learning and Doing Good
Over half (56%) of global travelers agree traveling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 sees a rise in desire to learn something new while away, and an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations across generations.
Three-quarters (68%) of global travelers would consider participating in cultural exchanges to learn a new skill, followed by a volunteering trip (54%) and international work placements (52%).
Winning innovations offer technologies as a practical solution: Think keyless room-access with your phone, personalized travel tips or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue.
Travelers are enthusiastic about real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (57%) and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (57%); even more than using self-driving transportation in their destination (40%).
Almost a third (31%) of global travelers like the idea of a ‘virtual travel agent’ in their home, using voice-activated assistants to answer travel queries. One in five want to see technology such as augmented reality helping to familiarize themselves with a destination before they arrive.
NASA starts construction of its Lunar Space Station this year (launching in 2022), and we’ll continue to see considerable investment in orbital spaceflight. Four in ten travelers (40%) are excited about the prospect of space travel, and would consider the experience themselves (38%),
There’s also a desire to explore uncharted territories here on Earth. Six in ten travelers (60%) confirm they want to stay in accommodation under the sea, with unique types of holiday home and hotels emerging.
A third of travelers (34%) want someone (or something) to do the hard work and make travel recommendations for them. Around two fifths (41%) want travel brands to use technologies such as AI to make suggestions based on past travel experience. Over half (52%) would be excited about tech travel innovations such as a digital tour guide.
Almost half (49%) feel social issues in possible travel destinations are important. Over half (58%) choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there.
Platforms such as Destination Pride are harnessing the power of multiple data sources to provide rankings of how LGBT+ friendly their chosen travel destination is. Destinations and organizations will increasingly step up their support for women traveling alone.
Almost one in five (19%) travelers plan to travel to attend a Pride festival in 2019, with almost a third (30%) of them 18-to-34 year olds.
Millennials and Gen Z travelers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination. An overwhelming majority of global travelers (86%) say they would be willing to spend time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay. Over a third (37%) are willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.
For almost two thirds of travelers (60%) experiences are valued higher than material possessions. Two fifths of travelers (42%) plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a kid again. We’ll see properties looking to add more childlike and playful touches, such as ball pits and bouncy castles for adults, to cater for a Millennial and Gen Z audience.
Over half of global travelers (53%) plan to take more weekend trips, with made-to-measure, bite-sized travel with more curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames.
With more flight routes, keenly priced airlines, on-demand car rentals, and real-time, easy public transport, the micro trip will become more varied and tailored, making shorter trips more personal and rewarding. We’ll also see a continued surge in desire to stay in unique and remarkable types of accommodation, even on the shortest of getaways.