2019: The shape of trends to come

Trav­ellers are com­ing of age

Hotelier Middle East - - COMMENT & OPINION -

This year, we shall see sig­nif­i­cant changes to how, why and where peo­ple hol­i­day. Let’s get an in­sight on the shape of things to come.

Max­imis­ing the mi­cro trip

2019 will be the year of ‘bite sized travel’ – squeez­ing in more cu­rated travel itin­er­ar­ies into shorter time frames. Thanks to im­prove­ments in flight routes, trans­port, cheap flights, on-de­mand car rentals and ac­com­mo­da­tion, mi­cro trips will be­come in­creas­ingly more pop­u­lar and var­ied. The chance to stay in unique and re­mark­able types of ac­com­mo­da­tion dur­ing short get­aways will also re­port­edly be­come trendier.

Con­scious travel

2019 is the year of the con­scious trav­eler; is­sues from hu­man rights and equal­ity, to work­ing con­di­tions and en­vi­ron­ment is­sues in­flu­ence peo­ple’s de­ci­sions about po­ten­tial des­ti­na­tions. Al­most half of trav­ellers told Book­ing.com that they feel so­cial is­sues are of sig­nif­i­cant im­por­tance when choos­ing where to go.

Mean­while, more than half choose not to go to a des­ti­na­tion if they feel it will neg­a­tively im­pact the peo­ple who live there. Safety, re­gard­less of gen­der or eth­nic­ity, are also of great im­por­tance to ex­plor­ers. Des­ti­na­tions and or­gan­i­sa­tions will in­creas­ingly step up their sup­port for women trav­el­ling alone.

Anti-con­sumerism

Credit card debt, un­wanted presents and over-the-top mar­ket­ing from re­tail­ers will drive more peo­ple out of the coun­try for Christ­mas 2019. This year, fam­ily trips over the fes­tive sea­son have dou­bled and 29% are solo trav­ellers. In a real break from tra­di­tion, hol­i­day­mak­ers are choos­ing trendy des­ti­na­tions in Mid­dle East, In­dia, Cam­bo­dia and Cen­tral Amer­ica, in­stead of a white Christ­mas.

Women’s em­pow­er­ment

Travel will be­come a tan­gi­ble way to em­power women in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. With 2018 all about the ‘me too’ move­ment, trav­ellers will look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a real dif­fer­ence. More women will travel to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to sup­port lo­cal women, with the launch of women’s only ex­pe­di­tions to ex­pe­ri­ence life in select des­ti­na­tions.

Easy does it

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, vir­tual re­al­ity, speech recog­ni­tion – these are the in­no­va­tions that will slowly take over and sim­plify the way we hol­i­day in 2019.

As Book­ing.com says, think key­less room-ac­cess with your phone, per­son­alised travel tips or a ro­botic concierge who can com­mu­ni­cate with guests in their mother tongue. Trav­ellers are re­port­edly now more en­thu­si­as­tic about real-time lug­gage track­ing through a mo­bile app and hav­ing a sin­gle app for all their plan­ning, book­ing and travel needs (57%) than the prospect of us­ing self-driv­ing trans­porta­tion in their des­ti­na­tion (40%). 2019 will also see more tech de­vel­oped for use pre-trip at re­search stage. Al­most a third (31%) of global trav­ellers ad­mit to lik­ing the idea of a ‘vir­tual travel agent’ in their home, and one in five want to see tech­nol­ogy, such as aug­mented re­al­ity, help­ing to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with a des­ti­na­tion be­fore they ar­rive.

Up close and per­sonal

This year is the year to se­ri­ously look at how your travel in­for­ma­tion is con­sumed and used. A third of trav­ellers (34%) ad­mit to want­ing some­one or some­thing to do the hard work for them, and make travel rec­om­men­da­tions. Mean­while, around 41% want travel brands to use tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to make travel sug­ges­tions based on past travel ex­pe­ri­ence. Over half (52%) say they would be ex­cited to use a dig­i­tal tour guide, bring­ing them a truly be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ence, so next year is def­i­nitely a time to watch out for com­pa­nies us­ing bet­ter ways to cu­rate and de­liver pic­ture-per­fect hol­i­days at the click of a mouse but­ton.

Un­charted ter­ri­to­ries

NASA will start con­struct­ing its Lu­nar Space Sta­tion in 2019 (launch­ing in 2022), with con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment in or­bital space­flight in 2019. Four in 10 trav­ellers ad­mit to be­ing ex­cited about the prospect of space travel in the fu­ture and are open to con­sid­er­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence them­selves (38%). Un­til space travel be­comes a re­al­ity (2019 isn’t the year for that, just yet), peo­ple will still be want­ing to ex­plore un­charted ter­ri­to­ries here on Earth in the com­ing year. For ex­am­ple, 60% of trav­ellers say they want to stay in an ac­com­mo­da­tion un­der the sea.

Pass­ports be­come cook­books

It is no longer enough to buy a cook­book. Trav­ellers want to learn lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and as­sem­ble it all in the kitchen of a lo­cal to be repli­cated back home to din­ner party guests. Sri Lanka is tipped to be the hottest place for a food tour in 2019 – quite lit­er­ally with its spicy cur­ries, fresh seafood and sweet desserts on of­fer.

Plas­tic not-so fan­tas­tic

A stag­ger­ing 86% of global trav­ellers said they would be will­ing to spend time to off­set the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of their stay, with over 37% will­ing to clear plas­tic and lit­ter from a beach or other tourist at­trac­tion. Ex­pect to see a num­ber of new travel start-ups and in­di­vid­ual en­ter­prises com­mit­ted to eco-friendly travel come to the fore­front in 2019, with tech­nol­ogy at the core of their so­lu­tions.

ABOUT THE AU­THOR:

With more than 28 years of hos­pi­tal­ity ex­pe­ri­ence glob­ally, Naim Maadad is the found­ing CEO of Gates Hos­pi­tal­ity, which owns and op­er­ates hos­pi­tal­ity con­cepts in­clud­ing Ul­tra Brasserie, The Black Lion Pub­lic House & Din­ing, Bistro des Arts, Re­form So­cial & Grill, Publique, and Folly by Nick & Scott. It also has own­er­ship of Six Senses Zighy Bay.

Email: [email protected]­pi­tal­ity.com

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