Megatrends Defining Travel in 2018
2018 will be another exciting year for the travel & tourism industry, as brands adapt to changing customer expectations, technological advancements, geopolitical changes and even fundamental changes in travel & tourism’s role in the global economy. This year, we’ve brought Skift to present the top MegaTrends Defining Travel in 2018. Megatrends were presented on January 19th in Palma de Mallorca by JSF Travel & Tourism, Skift CEO Rafat Ali and President Carolyn Kremins, and with leading travel companies such as Barcelo, Riu, Deloitte, Jumbo Tours, Hotelbeds, Silversea, SM2 and Puro Group.
Here are our top picks for the 10 mega travel trends that will impact 2018.
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#1. Travel Brands Will Continue To Diversify
CEO Brian Chesky said that by 2020, he expects more than half of Airbnb’s revenue to come from businesses that the company currently isn’t operating in.
#2. Hotels Need To Re-Think Their Roles
The Hotel industry has been shaken up in the past few years by companies such as Airbnb, and they’re finally starting to understand why travellers might choose to stay in someone’s apartment instead of a standard hotel room. Consumers desires for mixed lodgings reflect the changing nature of travel, the realities of multitasking and the effects of technology.
The standard idea of spaces, such as couches organized around a tv screen, no longer reflects how travellers expect their space to be laid out. Much more important is a fluidity of spaces and multiple services that hotels are in a position to offer in order to stand out.
Hotels are in an incredible position to be able to provide sleeping, eating, drinking, socializing, entertainment, working and even retail spaces.
For example, at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, guests can send a message through the hotels’ app to request their own hand-selected outfits brought straight to their room. It’s personalized room-service for fashion. Co-working spaces are also starting to pop up in lobbies as hotels start to capitalize on changing lifestyles.
#3. Personal Fulfillment Is The New Luxury
#4. European Travellers Return To Seek Sun In Once Disrupted Destinations
24 hour news and access to information via social media magnifies these events like never before. Today's travel consumer is ultra-informed.
#5. Airlines Race To Catch Up To E-Commerce
While airlines had previously been solely focused on core business activities, e-commerce was not top of mind. Of more concern was safety practices and filling seats with passengers no matter where they purchased their tickets.
Airlines are now starting to realize the huge opportunity - and also threat - that e-commerce and the digital world can bring.
Selling additional services via e-commerce such as hotels, car rentals and other upgrades present a huge opportunity for airlines to multiply revenues. But investing in e-commerce is not just a revenue booster - it will also be a protective measure to keep sales and brand loyalty on their own channels. Losing out on customers who choose to purchase their tickets on more advanced and user friendly platforms is a real threat to airlines.
Some airlines have started to realize this, such as Sun Express, who has started selling tickets via WhatsApp to woo customers back to purchasing from them.
#6. Extreme Weather Will Impact Tourism Destinations Like Never Before
In 2018 we'll continue to see big storms and warmer temperatures impacting the tourism & travel industry. Harsh climate events in the United States and Caribbean made some travel impossible in 2017 and severely impacted tourism spending in these regions.
Governments also need to consider tourism infrastructure and safety. In 2017 Peru suffered unprecedented heavy rain and flooding which caused government officials to put in place future plans in the case of extreme weather events.
Cities need to be proactive about planning and emergency measures for tourism.
In 2018 we can also expect more travel brands to enter the fight against climate change.
#7. Mobile Devices To Become The Ultimate Predictive Travel Companion
Mobile devices and the internet have completely overhauled the travel experience - and this trend will only continue as technology improves and becomes even more accessible.
Currently a new shift is underway. Instead of mobile phones solving already existing problems, technology will begin to advance so that needs are anticipated in advance before a traveller knows that there is a problem.
What might this look like in action? Imagine a scenario where a flight is delayed, and a mobile service will automatically inform the hotel. A meeting is cancelled last minute? Your new mobile travel service sees your calendar change and provides you with options that will be coordinated for you at the touch of a button.
#8. Africa Woos Millennial Travellers
2018 will see African countries increasing their appeal to millennial travellers. With rising marketing budgets, and the inclusion of features like in-house DJs, high-speed Wi-fi and Insta-worthy swimming pools, milennials are expected to consider these destinations more than ever before.
Safari operators are also targeting the millennial market - although it’s likely parents that are paying for the high costs - with remote-location wifi, and eco-tourism options.
#9. Asian Luxury Travel Continues To Gain Steam
The Asian luxury travel market has been on the rise for several years, with travel brands jumping in to try and serve their unique needs. Increasingly these consumers' tastes are moving beyond 5-star hotels as they seek a mix of experiences - although most travel will still remain in Asia where prices are lower. Luxury pool villa one night and street food the next? This is what new Asian luxury travel is all about.
Specially catered brands such as Destination Asia are popping up to serve these VIP customers.
#10. Latin America Will Take Nation Branding And Marketing To New Extremes
Travellers are consistently looking for more out of their travel experiences and seeing more images of travel in their daily lives due to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google. These platforms have helped fueled the growth of the travel industry and have made it easier for brands to reach new customers.
Government agencies have been slower to hop onto this trend. However, marketing budgets in Latin America are expected to grow significantly with countries competing and promoting what makes them unique.
The focus for 2018 will be the emergence of local culture and unique experiences that these countries can provide.
Governments will focus more on tourism as an economic driver, but will also need to match visitor expectations, fueling investments in infrastructure and political safety.
Do you agree with our list? What tourism trends are you currently seeing?
Don’t forget to download the entire Skift report, including even more 2018 trends below!