People love to travel, and there are many ways and reasons why they step out of their regular every day to go to a place that isn’t home.
Local, international, group travel, solo travel, travel with friends, travel with family, retreats, active holidays, religious trips, MBA getaways. They fly, they drive, they take a train or a boat. They organize the trip themselves, an agent organizes it for them. The list is practically endless.
As a tour operator or travel provider, it is always good to know what the latest travel statistics and trends are in the industry. Having an overview of how, why and where people are traveling, will give you an idea of what is currently in demand in terms of services and products.
The Latest Travel Statistics and Trends To Know
We will start at the same point travelers generally do, that is with the destination. Conde Nast Traveller has several insights to share on this topic, and top of their list is the Turkish Riviera. Runners up include Egypt, The Peloponnese in Greece, Matera in Italy, and Perth in Australia. Let’s take a closer look at a number of them.
Arles in France is expected to see a lot of visitors drawn in by a major new arts venue which honors Vincent Van Gogh. In addition to the already established foundation, the recently opened arts campus is set to establish the city as an important art destination.
Closer to home, Patagonia is drawing in increased numbers of nature loving travelers looking to experience the open skies. There is a total eclipse to be seen in July, and the world’s longest hiking trail, the 1,700 mile Route of Parks, has just opened up to the public.
In neighboring continents, Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago is going through a revival with travelers booking stays at the high-end hotels located across the islands. Similarly, well-known safari operators are opening up camps in the country, and outside investors are helping to introduce wildlife back into a well known national park, Gorongosa.
Tour and Activity Insights
Deloitte recently shared some insights which indicate that consumers in the US are now more interested in purchasing travel experiences than they are things. E-commerce travel platform, Booking.com, agreed with this sentiment as 60% of their respondents place a higher value on experiences than possessions.
This is, of course, good news for tour operators who provide the kind of activities that travelers are looking for. Estimates from Phocuswright put the global marketplace for tours and activities at an impressive US$183 billion by 2020.
Travelers are using mobile to book tours and activities, and nearly half of them, 48%, are leaving it last minute to do in destination. Furthermore, just over half of them, 54%, are doing it on their mobile according to Google.
Interestingly, in the same report, Google also shared that “mobile searches for “things to do/activities” + “near me” have seen a 6X increase over the last two years”. This can be interpreted in two ways.
Firstly, it supports the previous sentiment that travelers are increasingly searching for activities once in destination. Basically, this means you need to offer real-time and last minute bookings to access this section of the market.
Secondly, it suggests that your potential clients could be closer to home than you think. It may be worthwhile focusing some of your marketing efforts on reaching out to your local community in addition to the wider travel community you typically target. Even when people are not traveling, they are searching online for activities to do close to home on weekends and in their spare time.
Travelers Are Looking For Sustainable Options
Booking.com released a 2019 sustainable travel report ahead of earth day in April earlier this year.
Interestingly some of their key findings reflect that sustainable travel options are very much forefront in people’s minds. Nearly 72% of their respondents agreed that people need to make sustainable travel choices now in order to guarantee the future of our planet for the generations to come.
However, despite the fact that people recognize the importance of traveling mindfully, there are still a number of barriers to be overcome. Here are some of the indicators from Booking.com as to what these were.
Year on year, an increasing number of travelers indicate awareness of how beneficial it is to travel sustainably. Whether giving back to the community through booking local experiences and supporting local providers, or being more mindful of how they move around and eat, they realize how important it is if we want future generations to see the planet as we have.
The take away that tour operators and travel organizers can get from this is that offering travelers sustainable options within your portfolio, and making these readily accessible and highlighting them as such, is now more important than ever.
Solo Travel Is Evolving
Solo travel is going strong, and Conde Nast Traveller suggests that co-living is the latest on the horizon here. As an affordable option that allows travelers to connect with like-minded people at a particular destination, it seems that they are onto something as several co-living complexes and companies have opened up spaces in popular solo travel destinations.
According to Solo Traveler World, 46% of their survey respondents travel three or more times a year. Tour operators are responding to this demand by offering various incentives to make solo travel more friendly and affordable. Across the board, these include reduced single supplements, specific solo tour range as seen with Intrepid Travel, and increased flexibility to accommodate those who plan their travel at the last minute.
Data taken from our digital footprint left online gives us access to a wealth of travel statistics and trends which we can use to join the dots and make better sense of how travelers are undertaking their experience.
At the end of the day, monitoring travel statistics and trends from year to year helps tour operators and those in the industry to put together the best experience for their clients as well as get a share of the business.