What will travel be like in 2016? How will it change, and how will the major trends affect our choices and experiences? How will these travelers decide what to do and where to stay? Will they spend more or less than they did in 2015? And what impact are their choices having on the travel industry as a whole? The world of travel is moving incredibly fast these days. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. Based on the study conducted by TripBarometer, the following trends will be the main factors that will drive the travel industry in 2016.
Seeking new experiences
According to TripAdvisor’s latest TripBarometer study, travelers are more than ever keen to discover new destinations, try new modes of transportation and live new experiences. In fact, 69% of respondents said they wanted to experiment something new, 20% will go on a cruise, 17% want to try solo travel while 15% will try some adventure travel in 2016.
“Experiential” Over “Sightseeing-Based” Travel
People, especially young people, appreciate and prefer experiential travel, having a unique experience rather than just going to the landmarks, experiencing a destination like a local, or seeking a secondary city as a destination.
According to Paul Jacobs of Student Universe feels that the reason behind this shift is partially economic: “Employers are more into candidates who have global experiences,” he notes. “You need a certain understanding of other cultures to get many jobs nowadays and students are taking that into account when they travel.”
Spending more because it’s “worth it”
Is it because recent tragedies and events make us realize how fragile life is? Or perhaps because we work more than ever, taking less vacations than we are entitled to? Nevertheless, there is a growing sense of consumers wanting to travel more, and spend more doing so, because “we are worth it”. In fact, according to the most recent TripBarometer, 49% of travelers intending to spend more in 2016 say they will do so because they or their family deserve it. In fact, 31% of them will up their travel budgets because they feel it is important for their health and well-being.
Managing reputations online
Online reputation management is still apparently the biggest area of investment for hoteliers worldwide, as 93% of them saying it is important for the future of their business. But online reputation is not just for hoteliers, even though 77% of TripAdvisor users say they consult the platform to research and validate their choice of accommodations. In fact, 50% of TripAdvisor users research restaurants while 44% use it to search or validate their choice in attractions, things to see or do at a destination. And these stats vary per country, for example in Italy it’s as much as 74% of users that actually go to TripAdvisor to research restaurants!
Thus, we can expect another challenging year where travel brands should invest in properly managing their presence on social media and user-generated review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp or Zomato.
Choosing destinations based on culture, special offers
Today’s travelers choose destinations for a number of reasons, including special offers from accommodations. Globally, 47% of travelers say they have visited a destination because of the culture and people of the specific country. Out of 1 in 5 travelers (21%) have chosen a destination because a hotel had a special offer or package. Currently “TV tourism” is on the rise: 1 in 5 global travelers have visited a destination because they saw it on a TV show.
Rising room rates (and optimism)
Many accommodations plan to raise their room rates next year, while the majority of hoteliers say they’re optimistic about profitability in 2016. 3 out of 4 business owners are optimistic about profits in 2016. Nearly half of hoteliers globally plan to increase room rates in 2016 (47%). Most accommodations are increasing rates to compensate for increased overhead costs (65%), although more than a third are increasing rates because of recently completed renovations (37%) or because of increased demand (35%). 3 in 4 business owners are optimistic about profitability in 2016. The majority of those who are optimistic say it’s because of local events and conferences taking place in their markets next year (65%). 91% of hoteliers see increasing direct bookings as key for the future of their business.
Staying cool and connected
As most property managers would know, amenities play a major role in a traveller’s decision on whether or not to book at a certain property. When researching a particular property, travellers will look for air conditioning and Wi-Fi to be among the amenities. A staggering 63% of travellers said air-conditioning is a must when choosing a property to stay and 46% of travellers will look somewhere else if Wi-Fi isn’t available.