Inspired by a wealth of data, travel endorsements, reviews, preferences and insights as well as an unparalleled understanding of the industry, tourism heavyweight and Traveltek partner, Booking.com, has revealed their eight travel predictions for 2019. Let’s take a look at what they forecast:
1. The Appren-trip
2019 will see a rise in travellers’ desire to embrace new life skills while on holiday, as well as an increase in volunteering vacations across generations. In particular, Generation Z will increasingly scrutinise the value of expensive university degrees over and against the life skills and practical learning that can be gained from travel. This is in light of the fact that experiences beyond the classroom and office cubicle continue to make for attractive potential employees in many companies’ eyes.
2. Easy does it
In 2019, ‘ease’ will be the gold standard by which tech travel innovations will be judged. The winning innovations will be those that can seamlessly offer these technologies as a practical solution to travellers.
Think keyless room-access with your phone, personalised travel tips or a robotic concierge which can communicate with guests in their mother tongue. One hotel in the USA, YOTEL Boston, already has a robot as a member of staff.
The innovations that most travellers are enthusiastic about though are not the most cutting-edge or avant garde. The majority are looking forward to real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (50%) and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (50%).
2019 will also see more tech developed for use pre-trip at the research stage. Almost a third (28%) of travellers like the idea of a ‘virtual travel agent’ in their home, using voice-activated assistants to answer travel queries.
3. Uncharted territories
In 2019 and beyond, Booking.com anticipates that we will continue to push the extreme limits of where travel will take us and as space technology advances, even the prospect of space tourism won’t seem such a giant leap anymore.
Three in ten travellers (32%) confirm they are excited about the prospect of space travel in the future and are open to considering the experience themselves. Until space travel becomes a reality, this bold new mentality will also translate to travel slightly closer to home with a desire to explore uncharted territories here on Earth. 63% of travellers, for example, confirmed that they would consider staying in an accommodation under the sea.
4. Up close and personal
2019 looks set to see rapid developments in the way travel information is consumed and used. A third of travellers (34%) want someone or something to do the hard work and make travel recommendations for them and 52% are excited about the prospect of travel tech modernisation, such as a digital tour guide to bring them a truly bespoke travel experience.
As importance deepens on personal, individual recommendations that unlock the most out of every trip, Booking.com expects producers of rich and professional travel content to find even better ways of distributing this through the use of artificial intelligence.
5. Conscious travel
Reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions, 2019 will see a more conscious traveller become evident, with even more questions being asked around social, political and environmental issues in potential travel destinations before deciding on where to visit.
As travellers increasingly seek new and authentic experiences, they also want to ensure that they can travel in safety, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride are harnessing the power of multiple data sources to provide travellers with a ranking of how LGBT+ friendly their chosen travel destination is, while destinations and organisations will increasingly step up their support for women travelling alone.
6. Plastic not-so fantastic
Millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials.
An overwhelming majority of global travellers (87%) say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with one fifth (21%) willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.
Booking.com foresees a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises emerge in the coming year who are committed to shaping a new future for our planet, with intriguing technology at the core of their solutions.
7. The experience curator
Travel with experiences at its core was one of 2018’s major travel trends but 2019 will take it even further. More than half of travellers (51%) value experiences higher than material possessions and 2019 will see travellers packing in many different and authentic experiences, with an emphasis on creating moments that will bring us joy and comfort long after the trip is over.
In 2019, 40% of travellers plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a kid again to ease the onus of a stressful adult life. Booking.com predicts that properties will add more childlike and playful touches, such as ball pits and bouncy castles for adults.
8. Maximising the micro
Almost half of travellers (48%) report they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019. It’s a year that’s predicted to be all about made-to-measure, bite-sized travel with more curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames. Less is most definitely more as travellers are offered a more bespoke experience.
Booking.com predicts a continued surge in the desire to stay in unique and remarkable types of accommodation, which offer the chance to make a serious travel statement – even on the shortest of getaways.