14 Travel Trends To Track in 2017
It’s a mobile and agile travel market these days. To stay on course, brands must be tech-savvy, quick, and creative—without sacrificing old-fashioned chivalry.
“In an age of digital overload, simple human spaces, great service, and great food and drink will be even more relevant,” said Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, a travel research company that released the latest trends for 2017 and beyond. “The travel and hospitality industry can be a huge beneficiary of where the world is culturally right now. And it should double down.”
Keep your sight on these 14 travel trends:
HUMANITY RETURNS TO TRAVEL IN AN AGE OF DIGITAL OVERLOAD
Travelers have the world at their fingertips, literally. But long after the bags are unpacked and photos downloaded, modern voyagers will remember this: how brands made them feel. “Hospitality is all about the very human trait of empathy,” said Ali. “And businesses need to remember that humans should remain front and center to create incredible experiences, helped — but in no way supplanted—by modern technology.”
DIGITAL PLATFORM DISRUPTION IS HERE TO STAY
Get social or sit on the tarmac. Today’s hospitality brands must cross the traditional communications line and get the word out through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
DINING OUT IS THE MAIN EVENT
Gastropubs and hip restaurant concept make for picture-perfect social media experiences. Your eclectic menu and wacky chandeliers are just a post away from Instagram likes and new followers.
FESTIVALIZATION OF MEETINGS & EVENTS
What do Coachella or Bonnaroo have to do with corporate travel? They intersect real- and work-life experiences. Take your business event outdoors in a hot town to drum up the crowd.
THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE MODERN FEMALE TRAVELER
Women rule when it comes to buying decisions and online sales. Pitch your campaigns to the female traveler to take off in this market. And look for more female leadership in travel companies in 2017.
LOW-COST CARRIERS REINVEST THE TRANSATLANTIC MARKET
Expect to see more bare-bones airlines offering sweet deals to cross the Pond. Then, watch as legacy carriers respond with competitive offers of their own.
THE FIFTIES ARE THE NEW TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC FOR TRAVEL BRANDS
Sandwiched between Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, the Fifties are an audience to pay attention to. Nielsen estimates that in 2017, nearly half of the U.S. adult population will be age 50 plus and control most of the country’s disposable income. They’re tech savvy, too.
OVERTOURISM GOES MAINSTREAM, DESTINATIONS GET SMARTER ABOUT SOLVING IT
Tourists continue to saturate hot spots like Manhattan and Barcelona, where overbooking is their middle name. Smart travel companies are getting creative and promoting off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods for sleeping quarters.
A YEAR OF RECKONING FOR EUROPE, THE WORLD’S BIGGEST TOURISM DESTINATION
Europe still dominates the world’s tourism market, but its slice of the pie is shrinking. Travelers are booking elsewhere, due to recent terrorist acts, the Brexit vote and upcoming elections. Don’t be surprised to the wanderlust who soul search elsewhere this year.
CRUISE LINES PLAY THE LONG GAME WITH NEW MARKETS & NEW AUDIENCES
Insiders predict China will one day have the largest cruise market, and cruise giants will sail into the industry with new ships in the next few years. By 2020, according to the Morningstar forecast, the number of cruise passengers in China may reach 4.3 million, up from roughly a million in 2015.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN TRAVEL IS FINALLY BECOMING REALITY
Travel and hospitality companies are catching up with Google and embedding artificial intelligence technology in their online booking processes. Look for more labels to latch onto this trend in 2017.
TOURS & ACTIVITIES ARE FINALLY COMING INTO THEIR OWN
Consumers want to book their own tours and activities on demand and with ease. Pitching the right promo at the right time is critical in capturing their attention.
CORPORATE TRAVEL TECH IS IN UPHEAVAL
Business folks are booking their own trips on mobile devices so they expect solid booking tools. Brands centered on improving their traveler-facing technology will have the upper hand here.