It’s an exciting time for the travel and tourism industry. Change and evolution are more fast-paced than ever, with shifting demographics and developing technology giving way to new trends.
Here are seven of the most notable trends that I feel will impact the travel industry in 2020:
1. ‘Bleisure’ travel
The walls separating business and leisure are coming down. With worldwide business travel spend set to reach US$1.4 trillion ($2.1 trillion) by 2020, another trend gaining momentum is ‘bleisure’ travel – the blurring of lines between business and leisure.
Millennials account for a quickly growing portion of the business world, and their love of travel and new experiences will leave an indelible mark on the business travel experience in 2020.
2. Purpose-driven travel
As people come to terms with the rapidly changing and hectic world around us, they are turning to travel as a way to make a positive personal impact with their time and money.
Today, people want to travel with a greater sense of purpose; they want to go somewhere and really make a difference. That can be seen in a variety of ways, from choosing a specific destination because there’s a timely need to support its local economy, to taking a volunteer vacation – a travel segment that continues to grow in popularity.
Purpose-driven travel can also be simple like choosing a specific hotel, product or brand because your money will go to support certain values or causes.
3. Environmental travel
All green travel trends – from sustainable travel methods and locations to volunteer vacations – are on the rise.
Today’s consumer is more environmentally conscious than ever before, and current trends reflect that. Businesses across the travel industry have embraced this trend, which is only set to become more ubiquitous in years to come.
Sustainable tourism specifically has become paramount today, with one in three people looking for a company that is sustainable.
People love sharing their vacation pictures on their social media, and one of the biggest platforms to share pictures with your friends is on Instagram.
Arguably one of the most influential social media platforms out there right now, Instagram is having a huge impact on the travel industry. In fact, according to a survey conducted by UK company Schofields, more than 40 per cent of respondents under 33 consider “Instagrammability” the most important factor in choosing their holiday destination.
5. DNA trips
Ancestral tourism is on the rise, with companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com taking a hold on the travel market with their DNA-based travel opportunities.
The desire to track down our background is overwhelming today. This type of travel is so popular that a recent poll stated that 23 per cent of ‘long-haul- Scotland guests are visiting based upon ancestry alone.
6. Cashless travel
The time when we travelled with wads of cash, traveller’s cheques or exchanged cash at crazy rates isn’t a thing of our too-distant past. And while that is still the case in some countries, technology has facilitated the landscape to change rapidly.
As a society, we no longer need cash in our pockets, especially as we move forward with technologies such as mobile and touch payments.
This is all the rage right now. As travel brands and destinations have become more sophisticated in the ways they can collect data about their guests, the key to differentiation is personalisation.
Many forward-thinking brands are going above and beyond in order to convert customer data into actual personalised experiences. We can continue to expect to see that into 2020 and beyond because the sky is the limit when it comes to personalisation.
Mike Flaskey is CEO of a timeshare company Diamond Resorts, and has over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles within the travel industry.