Leisure & Travel Market Trends - What Lies Ahead in 2020?
As the holiday season comes to an end and the new year's celebrations are behind us, we go back to our desks full of energy and ready to delve into 2020. We project positively and internalize a determination to make it happen. 2020... here we come!
Technology as a tourism catalyst, responsible tourism and travelling with grandchildren - are only three of the six most influential trends, according to booking.com data, that will shape travel this year. Here are the details:
▪ Discovering lesser-known destinations – 51% of people are willing to turn an initially selected destination into a less popular one if it helps protect the environment. 54% want to reduce the negative impact of over-tourism. Consider what's happened in Bali, Phuket and the Great Barrier Reef.
▪ Decisions based on recommendations from digital tools - tourists will rely even more on data provided by digital tools when making travel decisions. 59% are expected to choose from unobvious ideas and try new ones. Also, 46% expect to use applications that will make it easy and quick for them to see and book additional attractions. 44% plan to use a solution that will help them plan their activities in advance.
▪ Responsible travel - 48% of those questioned declare that they will use a slower mode of transport, which will reduce any negative impact on the environment - this mostly applies to sightseeing. Among these modes of transportation, respondents mention bicycles, trams, boats or even walking/trekking. On the other hand, 61% intend to travel longer to do more sightseeing. 64% would like to go on an old train, such as the infamous Orient Express, to experience the magic of the olden days.
▪ “Richness of experience" - there are directions in the trend that guarantee diverse and intense experiences. 54 % of those questioned say they prefer to go on one long trip to a place where there are various monuments and attractions. In 2020, holidays are to revolve around travelling with animals! Simply because, for many people, their pets are an integral part of the family. 42% of pet owners confirm they will go where they can take their pets, and 49% are even willing to pay more to make it happen.
▪ Culinary journeys - for many travellers, the possibility of booking a table in a chosen restaurant will be the basis for deciding where and when to start the journey. What's interesting is that it's not at all about the restaurants signed with the names of famous chefs, but instead often restaurants recommended by the locals. 71% admit that local food is an essential aspect of their holiday.
▪ The trips of grandparents with their grandchildren are to be a hit - 72% of elderly people admit that spending time with children has a rejuvenating effect. Importantly, Booking has also focused on seniors in a broader context. More and more pensioners want to extend their trips - 19% of respondents want to go on an annual trip. Young people were also asked about their plans for old age - 47% of people who are still of working age declare that they will travel more courageously during retirement.
Challenges in 2020?
Looking ahead, we evolve past the existing stratosphere of travel-based platforms, tools and buying habits. With technology at the helm, people and corporations make use of previously nonexistent tools and services. We buy travel differently and experience it differently.
▪ Millennials and Generation Z - purchasing power is now in the hands of millennials and Generation Z, who will make up nearly 60% of the world's workforce in 2020. Millennials are focused on experience and individual action. They spend 70% more on experience than on material goods. The Z-generation is a fully digital one that hasn't experienced the world without the internet and mobile phones. They are constantly online and always up to date, and they are used to immediate results and instant feedback. Generation Z needs fast and uncomplicated solutions because the time they are able to stay focused is shorter than that of previous generations. ADD at its finest.
Hotels, among other travel providers, have recognized this, and some manage to hit the nail squarely on the head, providing the right information for the Generation Zs to consume in the amount of time they can stay focused; the information that pushes one to decide and finally make a purchase.
To grow margins through direct sales, it is up to hotel brands to establish the right relationships with their customer base, starting at the time of booking and extending through to the experience itself. As consumers become more aware and look to shorten the purchase chain, hotels will have better opportunities to increase their direct sales and create brand loyalty.
▪ Faster mobile Internet - the speed of data transmission will soon be 10 to 20 times that of the current ones. 5G Internet will significantly impact the behaviour, experience and expectations of internet users. Everything will soon be connected. Your appliances, house, car, traffic grids, shopping stores, and accessories. We will end up doing less and getting more. Putting in less effort and achieving the same results or having time to achieve more. Technology is growing our efficiency. And that affects our expectations. We've evolved to be super picky.
▪ Augmented, and Virtual Reality - the ongoing developments in the field of augmented and virtual reality will no doubt have a huge impact on the travel buying cycle. Instead of browsing through customer reviews and photos, we'll be thrust into virtual versions of our desired destinations. Walk around New York City, gaze down the walls of the Grand Canyon or trek through the South American jungle all from the comfort of your own home. Once you're sure you like what you experience, you can book it and actually go there. Or not. Right? Perhaps that'll be the cheaper option. If you can't afford the real deal, then you can opt for the virtual holiday. Or maybe mix and match?
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) opportunities are increasing with the spread of 5G networks. VR requires additional technology, such as VR headsets. AR consists of introducing additional digital components available on the smartphone level. Some hotels already use AR to make their content more attractive. Maps with AR functionality allow you to see the surroundings of a hotel. Some hotels also use AR to make the hotel browsing experience more real for the shopper.
▪ Video dominance - video is by far the favourite format of millennials and generation Z. Currently, most people prefer watching to reading, especially on mobile devices. This comes from the laziness that technology invites. Why put effort into reading when I can passively watch and retain the same information? Think of how people used to read books for fun before television and how they shifted simply because it took less effort to consume the information. However, we all know that the book is always better than its movie counterpart. Your imagination is limitless, while movie production is limited. But laziness wins.
It is worth mentioning that in terms of volume, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world today. Thinking ahead, travel companies need to invest in engaging, informative content and interactive ads in video format. Google estimates that by 2021, video will account for 80% of all consumed media. Video content is more expensive to produce but is becoming necessary to reach today's consumers.
▪ Chatbots and artificial intelligence - chatbots are the most common form of artificial intelligence (AI) we have today. For example, many hotels have live chat help on their sites, driven by chatbots that are cheaper and more efficient than real people.
Chatbots are used to solve simple problems and respond via instant messaging to popular questions. Intelligent chatbots have built-in machine learning. That means they use the knowledge gained from previous customer interactions to formulate answers to the current questions. Most chatbots use written text, but we can expect evolution to voice.
▪ Digital Voice Assistants (DVA) - hotels are increasingly using DVA to make their guests' stays more pleasant. The popularity of voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana is growing rapidly. Voice assistants and the Internet of Things (IoT) are used to make your stay more comfortable. Using voice input, hotel guests can now customize their room equipment to their needs, such as adjusting lighting and temperature. Voice commands are also useful for setting wake-up calls, playing your favourite music, ordering meals, or calling the cleaners, as well as reporting. Hyper-personalization of services is the name of the game.
▪ Voice Search - the statistics are surprising. The Comscore study shows that by 2020, more than half of travel searches will be made by voice. Analysts estimate that by 2020 about 30% of all searches will not need a display. The era of text search is slowly passing. The focus on voice search must imply changes in the e-marketing approach, SEO strategy and content management compatibility of travel companies.
▪ Visual search - is also gaining popularity, especially since the appearance of tools such as Pinterest Lens and Google Lens. Users place their smartphones on a given item/object and are able to obtain information or identify similar objects. Hotels need to analyze their visual content in response to this trend. The key aspects are high-quality materials and images, imagination, relative uniqueness, consistent style on different platforms and presence on the most important databases like Instagram and Pinterest.
It's about the creation and management of graphic content to meet your audience's search criteria. You can appear in a visual search by adding attractive photos of tourist landmarks from the surrounding area and thus reach tourists planning looking to do some sightseeing during a city trip.
Travel destinations in 2020?
According to research and estimations of seeker.io portal, the hottest and most desirable destinations will be:
▪ Dongchuan District, China .
▪ Nuuk, Greenland .
▪ The Mediterranean Coast, Albania .
▪ Chittagong, Bangladesh .
▪ Chernobyl, Ukraine .
▪ Medellin, Colombia .
▪ Kakheti Wine Region, Georgia .
▪ Skeleton Coast, Namibia .
▪ Tasmania, Australia
Is that what 2020 will look like? At this point, all factors point to it. We will see how things unfold...
(sources: travelweekly.com, booking.com, comscore.com, seeker.io)