Perhaps it’s too late to include them in a brochure for next year, but the ideas that one might derive by reviewing Booking.com’s latest report on what to expect of travelers next year might just might help provide last-minute product additions or, just as likely, some thought-starters for 2019. Facilitating reservations for more than 1,500,000 room nights each day, Booking.com combined customer insights from over 128 million real guest reviews with research from 19,000 travelers across 26 countries around the world to reveal the biggest travel predictions for 2018. Following is an INBOUND synopsis of their report.
- New Tech Frontiers: Taking the hard work and stress out of decision making, in 2018 technology will continue to guide travelers seamlessly to find the best stays and experiences for us. Immersive experiences will reach the next level in 2018, with travelers looking to technology to help better understand a destination or accommodation before they book. Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping consumers turn the corner when it comes to smart destination intuition, reshaping the way we research, book and experience travel.
—Twenty-nine percent of global travelers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history.
—Half (50 percent) don’t mind if they deal with a real person or computer, so long as any questions are answered.
—Over six in 10 (64 percent) of travelers say they would like to “try before they buy” with a virtual reality preview, while 50 percent find that personalized suggestions for destinations and things to do encourages them to book a trip.
- From Dream to Reality: Next year, 2018, is the year to dream big. Forty-five percent of travelers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82 percent) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. The yearning for experiences over material possessions continues and drives our desire for more incredible and memorable trips. With dwindling patience, instantaneous appetites and empowered by technology, travelers in 2018 will seize the moment like never before.
—Most likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travelers (47 percent) will look to tick this off in 2018.
—More than a third (35 percent) yearn to tantalize their taste buds by trying a local delicacy.
—Just over a third (34 percent want to head to an island paradise.
—Another 34 percent are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world famous theme park. Adrenalin junkies should consider Orlando, USA, The Gold Coast in Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which are the top destinations endorsed by Booking.com travelers for theme parks. —Of the other top travel activities to complete in 2018, 28 percent will try to experience a unique cultural event.
—28 percent will be learning a new skill.
—A quarter (25 percent) will go on an epic road or rail journey.
—Another 25 percent will visit a remote or challenging location.
- Retro Reboot: As well as new experiences, travelers will be revisiting their favorite childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. Blending the future with the past, they will be inspired to return to previously loved destinations and explore them in a whole new way. Travelers say that former family holidays recall the fondest memories, even more so than childhood sweethearts or family pets
—A third of travelers (34 percent) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.
—Millennials look set to be even more sentimental with 44 percent of 18-to-34 year olds keen to hark back to favorite family destinations.
—With 60 percent of travelers in 2018 intending to post on social media each day, we can expect to see these nostalgic places brought back to the future and captured for social posterity.
- Pop Culture Pilgrimage: In 2018, television shows, films, sport and social media in particular look set to have an increasingly significant sway over booking decisions, as travelers turn to pop culture for their travel inspiration.
—Reading blogs or watching YouTuber recommendations will spark ideas for four in ten (39 percent)
—Travelers and on-screen locations from television, film or music videos will win over 36 percent of travelers in the coming year.
—More than a fifth (22 percent) of travelers will be tempted by traveling for a major sporting event, with 43percent of those considering a summer of football in Russia.
—The top television program locations travelers most want to visit in 2018 are Croatia, Spain and Iceland inspired by “Game of Thrones” (29 percent), London as seen in “Sherlock and the Crown” (21 percent and 13 percent), New York and Manhattan from “Billions” (13 percent) and Los Angeles viewed in “Entourage” (10 percent).
- Walk your Way to Wellness: Compared to 2017, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and wellbeing trips in 2018—from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018.
—Walking will be the ultimate way to explore next year, with 56 percent of travelers saying they want to do walking or hiking trips in 2018.
—33 percent indicated that they intend to visiting a spa or receiving beauty treatments.
—24 percent plan to go cycling.
—22 percent will engage in water sport activities.
—17 percent will be taking a full body detox holiday.
—16 percent will be going on a yoga retreat.
—Another 16 percent said they will do some running.
—15 percent will be undertaking meditation/mindfulness vacation time.
—Altogether, 59 percent of travelers said they prioritize experiences over material items when on holiday.
—More than half (55 percent) said that going on holiday is a moment for them to reflect and make better lifestyle choices.
- Economic Intuition: Every year, travelers are becoming savvier, especially when it comes to getting the most for their money. With significant numbers basing their travelling decisions on finance-related matters, 2018 will see travelers looking to be even more economically intuitive.
—Nearly half (47 percent) will take currency exchange rates into consideration when planning their travels for the year, and almost the same amount (48 percent) will think about the economic climate of a destination before making the decision to travel.
—In what is good news for the retail industry, a third of travelers (30 percent) plan to make more purchases from airport duty free shops in 2018.
—One in four (26 percent) will even go on holiday specifically to buy goods such as fashion items because they are cheaper than in their home country.
—Travelers are less obliged to follow the herd, with over half (57 percent) wanting to do more independent travel in 2018, placing growing value on personalized endeavors.
—Almost half of travelers (44 percent) will use travel apps more in 2018, with technology continuously developing to make travel stress free. in 2018. This includes geo-location technology directing you to your accommodation, all within one click from your app, or
—41 percent of travelers will be planning activities while on holiday using apps on their smartphones.
- The Great Mate Escape: Next year gearing up to be all about the group get-away. When asked who their 2018 traveling companions were likely to be, the segment with the biggest increase when compared to 2017 was traveling with a group of friends—increasing from 21 percent to 25 percent.
—Friend based getaways also have financial advantages as four in 10 (42 percent) said that joint holidays with friends will allow them to stay in accommodation they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own.
- Live like a Local, not with One: Rental homes are going to be particularly popular next year– not just for travelers looking to stay in one, but also home owners who are thinking of inviting others to stay in their own abode.
—One in three travelers (33 percent) say they’d prefer to stay in a holiday rental (a holiday home or apartment) over a hotel.
—One in five (21 percent) would consider listing their home on a travel accommodation site.
—Travelers are keen to have a local experience and will look to hosts for their expertise, as a quarter of them (25 percent) say it will be important that their host has strong local knowledge about local food and places to visit.
—However, travelers will want the flexibility to interact with hosts on their own terms. In 2018, it will be important for travelers that their host is available but not too over-bearing (30 percent).
— One in 10 (12 percent) want a host who they don’t have to speak to at all.
Note on the Survey: Research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 18,509 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India, Singapore and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2017.