Travel Trends in 2017
If you’ve been trolling the inevitable barrage of ‘best of 2017’ round-ups which tend to flood our screens this time of year, here’s one that may pique your interest.
Cape Town-based travel marketing consultancy, Big Ambitions, has put together this rather interesting round-up of what happened in travel in 2017 and what they believe will continue to trend in the world of travel during 2018.
Blame Amazon if you must. Today’s travellers are no longer content with being just another face on a passport. The trend towards personalisation extends not only to what airlines, hotels and attractions can do to tailor what they offer their customers. It also means that travel companies need to personalise how they communicate with travellers. Today’s travellers want to receive information and deals that are built on their specific preferences to the device of their choice. Say goodbye to mass mailers, and hello to streaming city travel guides based on your interests via your mobile.
Those of us who regularly brave the Monday-morning red-eye between Johannesburg and Cape Town will be well aware of the “wear and tear” that road warriors eventually feel. Turns out too much travel can hurt business and so the concept of traveller friction has emerged as something that companies need to reduce if they want to hang on to their staff.
If you’ve queued to climb up Kilimanjaro, or haven’t been able to see the ‘square’ in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, you’ll know all about overtourism. Destinations like Venice, Dubrovnik and Machu Picchu are putting their foot down by trying to reduce the negative impact of mass tourism by limiting the number of tourists and instituting tourist taxes.
Who says you need to buy a house and have 2.2 kids by 30? In 2017, we saw a massive rise in the number of young professionals who leveraged technology to work remotely and live a nomadic lifestyle. There are even companies that help them do this and spaces that focus on third-place working so that digital nomads can come together and foster social interactions with like-minded people who’re not necessarily work colleagues.
Just when you’d gotten used to the world being a global village, someone tries to build a wall to keep people out. Enter the travel ban controversy initiated by US president Donald Trump. Millions of dollars were lost when the Trump Presidency first introduced this controversial travel ban against citizens from certain countries and laptop equipment in carry-on luggage. Expect these kinds of initiatives to continue as the world grapples with terrorist threats.
Ask Siri where you should spend the December holidays or Mildred, Lufthansa’s friendly chatbot, for the best rates on your next flight. Chatbots and virtual assistants have become all the rage in business and leisure travel. Using Artificial Intelligence, these chatbots can track flights, help you pack and even book your next beach holiday. Airlines, hoteliers and travel agencies are all dabbling in combining chatbots with the expertise of their human consultants. You’ll likely see more chatbots make an appearance in travel during 2018.
When cash isn’t king anymore
The new norm sees travellers booking their Uber ride from an App, buying souvenirs with Zapper and settling their supper bills by Snapchat or card. People have a variety of options with which to pay these days, with alternative payment methods like mPesa, cryptocurrencies and tokenisation emerging within the travel space. Although in the case of Blockchain, it’s still early days, airlines for example are looking at distribution platforms that incorporate this technology.
Multi-generational travel has been hot on our radar over the past few years. Now we have a new variant – skip-gen trips. Baby Boomer grandparents are taking their grandchildren on epic holidays, leaving the parents behind to celebrate big milestones like a special birthday or graduation. Boomers are being a new nomad generation, less likely to be tied to a budget or time constraints than other generations.
The rise of influencers
If you’re living vicariously through a famous Instagrammer, you’ll know the yearning you feel when you scroll through their images of tropical beaches and piña coladas. Enter the influencer – a blogger, Instagrammer, man or woman about town who knows their way around the world and loves to share it through social media. Influencer marketing has been fuelled by the tendency of consumers to rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions and trust peer recommendations. You simply cannot put a price to the emotional connection influencers have with their audiences, and how this influences travel behaviour.
The Internet of Things
If you can imagine that by next year, the number of IoT connected devices will surpass mobile devices, you’ll understand the far-reaching impact this trend will have on travel. We are already seeing travel providers embark on the IoT road. From Virgin Hotels which offers guests an App that allows them to interface with their room’s TV, to Disney World’s “Magic Band” initiative that simplifies everything from guest transport to dining reservations. Next stop, a single biometrics scan that acts as a Travel ID – goodbye airport queues!
And that’s not all. If you’re interested in seeing what’s trending in 2017 and a snapshot of things to come, you can download the full trends report here.
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