One way to establish what Travel Offering, Tours, or Activities your Travel or Tour company should be marketing this year, is to take a look at the latest Travel Trends.
This will give you an idea of what travelers are interested in and help you to plan the content to use on your website that will make your Travel Business stand out from the rest.
We have collated some insights and statistics that were compiled by industry giants, surveys, and news reports to provide an overview of all the latest Travel Trends, Hot Travel Destinations, and Travel Styles to keep you abreast of what is happening in the industry at the moment.
The Latest Travel Trends
Hot Travel Destinations
We will start with the where. In their published survey AARP reported that their international travelers remained focused on the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe.
However, over-crowding and over-pricing in the main tourist hot spots have led to many Travel companies and Tour Operators adding and promoting lesser-known but incredibly exciting destinations to their offering in a bid to alleviate some of the capacity issues.
Intrepid Travel added Belarus, Cyprus, Moldova, and Poland to its latest tour offering in Europe.
Despite its challenges, the Middle East is also seeing tremendous traveler growth. According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO) Tourism Barometer, the Palestinian territories are leading the pack with an increase of 57.8% in international arrivals up from the previous year.
Jordan, Egypt, Iran, and Israel also score highly on the radar.
As marketing focus shifts away from the traditional and over-crowded tourist sports, it is apparent that more travelers are interested in a mindful travel experience this year.
Travel companies, Tour Operators, and Activity Providers are faced with bigger expectations to create a unique and personal experience for the traveler from the start.
Technology has certainly changed how people interact with travel. Booking a hotel or a flight, or ordering a taxi is now just an in-app button push away.
People are reveling in their newfound ability to control their travel themselves and businesses that are mobile friendly and offer seamless online payment options have an advantage over those that don’t.
Booking.com.com found that 80% of their customers prefer to self-serve in order to get the information that they need (Techradar 2018). The trick now is to balance the travelers need to self-serve with the Travel Company’s ability to offer a personalized travel experience.
Destinations are not the only things that Travel Companies and Tour and Activity Operators are tailoring in order to keep up with the latest travel trends.
Travel Styles are also evolving and the demand for something out of the ordinary, specifically something with a greater social or cultural connection, is on the rise.
Traditionally, Adventure Travel would include activities such as bungee jumping or snowboarding. Today, however, travelers tend to associate Adventure Travel less with high adrenaline activities and more with getting active and exploring new landscapes.
Adventure Travel Trends indicate that watersport activities are the most popular this year with Kayaking, sunset cruises, and boat tours top of travelers booking lists. Biking tours are also very popular, as are walking tours.
The key takeaway is that the traveler wants to be taken out of their comfort zone and experience something out of the ordinary.
It is also important for travel companies to make sure that their travel offering can be tailored to suit all ages and fitness levels as more people are looking to be active whilst on holiday.
Experiential Travel is closely related to Adventure Travel, but more focus is placed on having a new and immersive experience than being outdoors and active.
TripAdvisor reported a 50% increase in the number of experiences added onto their booking site last year by local guides and tour operators. Popular travel trends in this category include cooking classes with a local chef, culinary tasting experiences, and guided walks with a local knowledgeable guide through a historical town.
Essentially the traveler is looking for an authentic cultural or social experience that allows them to connect with the people around them. Experiential travel trends reflect a distancing from traditional packaged tours and favor more personalized and immersive tours.
Traveling with family members can be an enriching and bonding experience where lifelong memories are made. It is no surprise then that tour operators are including an increasing number of family tours in their offerings.
The tourism industry is also realizing that dynamics have changed and family travel is not always necessarily made up of two parents traveling with children. The reality is, often there is only one parent traveling with the kids and this needs to be accommodated in a company’s travel offering.
According to Solo Traveler, more people are planning to travel solo with 1 in 4 survey takers indicating that they will travel alone in 2018.
Intrepid Travel shared a similar sentiment and reported that they experienced a 40% increase in solo travelers on group trips over the past 5 years and as a result, have introduced a solo tour range.
Transat has also introduced a solo offering. They market Solo Benefits including no single supplement policy and a communal table for shared meals.
Booking.com reports that 1 in 5 people plan to take health and wellness trip this year. This is double the figures from last year.
Being active and mindful has become a bigger priority when traveling and travel trends indicate that activities such as hiking, walking, visiting a spa, partaking in water activities and going on yoga retreats are what travelers are interested in.
Similarly, Responsible Travel is at the forefront of travelers minds as they wish to eliminate their impact on the destination, both socially and environmentally. Pinterest confirms this travel trend as it says that searches for eco-friendly hotels are up by 125% in 2018.
Travel companies should take eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives such as partnering with local guides to lead their tours, as well as be mindful of their impact their travel offering has on the local community.
With the focus being on creating meaning, traveling responsibly, and having a positive impact on the destination and its surrounding community, Volunteer Travel encompasses many of the aspects that travelers are looking to fulfill on their journey.
A Marriott Rewards Credit Card survey agreed with this sentiment as 84% of their millennial respondents indicated that they would travel internationally to participate in volunteer activities.
Technology has the ability to compile data on what people search for and book online, and luckily because so much of the travel process happens here, travel companies are able to analyze this information to identify what is on demand in the travel industry and structure their marketing strategies accordingly.
From a marketing perspective, the latest travel trends serve as an indication of what is popular and a travel company can use this information to plan their content and craft an offering that will capture a travelers interest and encourage them to purchase their travel product.