The Travel Trends You Should Look Out For

While everyone was busy making new year resolutions or adding to their bucket list of places to explore, whether it be for work, pleasure or "bleisure", the travel scene continued its morphing into a complete seamless package for the traveler.  The big players were eating up competition, flying solo is no longer the exception and the umbilical cord of staying connected is more paramount than ever.

1. Business + Leisure = Bleisure

The Millennial travelers are definitely influencing the work and play theory where mixing it up is now the norm. Gone are the days when a business traveler was locked into a flight, then meetings, then a flight back home without putting a foot on the local soil.  Now leisure days are tacked on either end of the wheeling and dealing.

2. Gobbling Up

The big boys want to get bigger as in the case of Marriott buying Starwood and Accor Hotel Groups. They then went one step further and bought Fastbooking for their own digital booking market. Expedia has bought Orbitz and HomeAway and is in the market for anything that has to do with online bookings.  Trip Advisor took over Viator.

3. The Feeding Chain

The lines will blur between flights, hotel bookings, car hire, restaurant and activities where it will be a seamless exercise for the consumer to do it all in one hit.  So far there is certain synergy between some of these holiday aspects but not all of them.
This is where the client will be totally "owned" for the duration of their trip once they click those buttons and they will, because it is "easy".

4. Shaking Up the Hotels

With the decline in direct hotel website bookings, the hotels are receiving little or no information on the guest apart from the obvious of the dates required.  Strategy has to be put in place for hotels to get "up close and personal" to their guests without stepping over the intrusive barrier.  This is where the hotels have to go outside of the box and differentiate their services available and are focusing on "unique and authentic" experiences with the introduction of keyless rooms, eco friendly environments, a mobile concierge and self check-in.

5. Bed Alternatives

Hotels are quacking in their boots as Airbnb is currently selling more "nights" than the chain hotels put together.  Despite the odd news story of some horrendous experience staying at an Airbnb property, it does not seem to deter their following horde looking for a more "local" experience.

6. Data Collection

In the need to get "personal" with patrons, there needs to be more communication between the traveler and the provider of the service on offer, whether it is a hotel or a flight.  The extraction of personal preferences will become an integral part of this fishing expedition to gather personal information. He, who holds the most personal data on patrons, will be able to deliver the most personal experience.

7. Pretty Pictures Aren't Enough

Experiential travel marketing is exploding with virtual reality travel experiences on-line to give the consumer a taste of where he or she is going.  The real life holiday scenarios are fast becoming de rigueur on many travel sites.  The old saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is now not enough for the impatient traveler.

8. The Necessary Umbilical Cord

Staying connected through technology is more important than ever for some travelers as it is their passport to maps, flights, hotels and the list goes on.  Then throw in social media platforms to put up "look at what I am doing" pics for their friends to envy, is all par for the course these days.  So as much as holidaymakers want to escape technology, it is only the work intrusion they wish to obliterate during their holiday.

9. Holiday Helicopter Parenting

Catering to the needs of kids in a hotel is becoming more focused on "wellness" as much as for the adults.  Once upon a time Kids' clubs were a drop-off center for stressed out parents. Now the old fashioned kindergarten of coloring pencils and Mickey Mouse approach has gone into overdrive with eco friendly playground environments, children spa times and learning about environmental responsibility and culture.

10. Flying Solo

The number of people taking off sans partners, friends or kids is on the increase.  The New York Times stated this demographic has grown from 15% to 24% during the years of 2013 to 2015.  This isn't just flights, but cruises have made a come back as well for the lone traveler.

11. Adventurous Spirits

Just as there is an increase in solo travel, there is also an increase in travelers being more adventurous and bolder in where they are going.  This is attributed to the umbilical cord of GPS technology and travel guide apps that are making remote destinations more accessible.

In a nut shell, you will be asked more personal questions when you book on-line, you will be more likely to run away on an adventure in remote mountains somewhere "alone" and your newly acquired friend courtesy of an Airbnb rental will be able to direct the mercy dash to your rescue via the GPS on your mobile, whilst you contemplate what nasty pic to put on Facebook.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.