Every industry has trends and innovations — the tourism industry is no exception. In a rapidly-evolving landscape, new trends are appearing and taking hold all the time. Changing demographics, advances in technology, shifting social mores: these influences and others all help give rise to important new tourism trends. To find out about 13 of the top tourism trends to watch, read on.
Keeping up with the Latest Tourism Trends: Why It Matters to Your Business
Whatever aspect of the tourism sector your business is involved in, you need to keep your finger on the pulse. Formerly beloved concepts and products go out of style, to be replaced by more modern elements that end up capturing more of the market. New destinations, new technologies and means of transport have caused major shifts in the industry. Early adoption of new trends is vital.
13 Tourism Trends to Watch Out For
Below you find thirteen of the most significant tourism trends right now and in the future.
1. Solo Travel
Leisure travel used to be a family affair or something that couples undertook together. While that’s still the case for many, more and more people are choosing to strike out on their own. Enjoying a solo trip is no longer so unusual and tourist trends increasingly reflect this. The needs of solo travellers are diverse. Some simply want to travel without the distraction of a companion. Others are young singles looking for social activities or to find a partner. Some widowed seniors even use long-term hotel stays or cruises as a luxurious alternative to conventional elder care. These tourism trends are set to grow and grow.
Video: Travel Solo Around the World
2. Eco Travel
Tourism trends are heavily influenced by the concerns and mores of the customer base. As a new generation becomes increasingly relevant in the marketplace, the ideals driving their purchasing decisions create new tourism trends. Eco travel is just one example of these tourism trends, reflecting a growing concern among today’s travellers for ethical and sustainable tourism options. Eco travel includes simple changes, such as the availability of carbon credits when booking a flight or the option to rent an electric instead of a conventional vehicle. More sophisticated examples might include tourism with a volunteer element, perhaps working on a nature reserve or engaging in conservation work.
Video: Ecotourism – A Sustainable Way To Travel
3. Local experience
Today’s tourists don’t want to be insulated from the places they visit inside a cultural bubble. They want to engage with and participate in the local culture. From enjoying local cuisine to celebrating regional festivals and holidays, local experiences are set to become some of the top tourist trends to watch. One example of a popular local experience would be visiting Japan during a major festival, renting formal Japanese clothes to wear, consuming regional delicacies and engaging in traditional games or cultural activities. Another might be a long stay with a host family in the destination country as a means to learn more about the local culture.
Video: A Local Travel Guide of Amsterdam
Video: Food Travel Vlog about Local Food in Hong Kong
You’re probably familiar with those ads that pop up on social media and certain other websites, ads related to things you’ve looked at or purchased online. This is just one example of personalisation. As well as in marketing tourism more effectively, personalisation can apply to every aspect of the tourist experience. Today’s consumers expect experiences that closely match their personal preferences, from destinations to accomodation and the kinds of activities they’ll engage in. The more closely an experience can be tailored to a client’s desires and expectations, the more likely they are to return and to use the same service again.
Video: Personalised Marketing by Nicole Martin
You can read more detailed information and examples about personalisation marketing in tourism in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing is Used in the Tourism Industry”.
5. Bleisure Travel: A Millennial Tourism Trend
The concept of combining leisure and tourism with travel for business is hardly new: “bizcations” have been popular for many decades. As the tourism sector attempts to woo a more frugal customer base, however, the concept of bleisure travel has become increasingly relevant among tourism trends. Bleisure travel tourism can take many forms. Sometimes a client who is travelling for work decides to engage in tourism on their downtime; in other cases, a company may arrange for tourist activities on work trips as a perk. Another increasingly popular set of tourism trends relate to the “digital nomad” phenomenon where online workers engage in travel.
Video: The State of Business Travel — Bleisure Benefits
6. Robots, chatbots and automation
One of the more eye-catching examples of these particular tourism trends is Connie, the Hilton Hotel chain’s robot concierge. Other hotels have also got in on the robot-staff trend, installing interactive robots to handle certain reception duties or even having them serve food and drink to visitors. This kind of novelty application, however, is far from the only one. Many customers now book their travel and accommodation with the help of internet chatbots, specifically tailored AI who can handle queries and assist customers with useful information when human operators are unavailable.
Video: Alibaba’s ‘Future Hotel’ Uses Robots
Video: Autonomous Security Robots for Airports
Find more detailed information about how to use robots in the tourism industry in the article “Robots in the Tourism Industry: 8 Real-World Examples”.
7. Artificial intelligence
As well as the aforementioned chatbots, artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important to the tourism industry. Machine learning technology is now firmly entrenched in the marketing of the tourism sector, with AI helping to personalise the experience of finding and booking tours and trips. AI is also increasingly valuable in contexts such as smart hotel rooms, identifying the likely needs of guests and fine-tuning the environment and services to fit the guest’s needs and preferences. Artificial intelligence is finding applications everywhere, from customer service to security. Future AI tourism trends to watch out for might include self-driving vehicles and virtual guides for tourism.
Video: AI for Marketing & Growth
Video: Example Hotel Chatbot
Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the tourism industry in the article “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Travel Industry”.
8. Recognition technology
Recognition technology is one of those increasingly important tourism trends that’s starting to creep into a multitude of different areas. One of the most familiar applications of recognition technology for a frequent traveller is the bank of automatic gates at some borders. The gates are capable of reading the data on the traveller’s passport or ID card and matching it to their face using a camera and facial recognition technology. Recognition technology is one of the big tourism trends in the hospitality industry too, with voice recognition becoming more and more popular as a method of control in smart hotel rooms.
Video: KLM’s smart pack assistant on Google Home
Video: Airports roll out facial recognition technology
Find more detailed information about Recognition technology in the tourism industry in the articles “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Tourism Industry?” and “4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry”.
9. Internet of things (IoT)
The IoT is relevant to many tourism trends. IoT devices are gadgets equipped with a microprocessor and some form of digital connectivity, allowing them to connect to, and be controlled from, the internet. IoT devices include heating and cooling systems, entertainment systems and other items often found in a hotel room, giving rise to “smart” hotel rooms. The IoT is also used to integrate services in a hospitality setting, for example by allowing guests to book activities (a session in the hotel’s spa, swimming in the pool, training in the gym etc) or request such things as room service or extra linen via a hub or a smartphone application.
Example: Iot for Airports
Video: IoT Monitoring for the Restaurant Industry
Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the tourism industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Tourism Industry”.
10. Virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) technology has many applications in the tourism industry. Tourism trends involving VR include high-end entertainment applications, some of them combining physical elements like controllers or movable seating and platforms. Sports simulators are increasingly popular, ranging from virtual baseball and other familiar sports to extreme sports such as skiing or snowboarding. Many extreme activities can also be simulated using VR, such as hang-gliding and other adventures. VR can also allow tourists to “visit” destination that are too fragile for physical tours, such as archeological sites: structures can be recreated in VR and tourists can enjoy the experience of walking around them unimpeded.
Video: A Guided Virtual Reality City Tour Through Rome
Video: Atlantis Dubai Virtual Hotel Tour
Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry”.
11. Augmented reality (AR)
Where VR simulates entire environments and experiences, augmented reality combines real-world experiences and virtual elements. A familiar example would be the smartphone game Pokémon Go, where imaginary creatures are superimposed on real-time footage of the player’s environment. In the tourist industry, this is obviously very useful: instead of fantasy monsters. AR smartphone apps can show tourists information about the area they’re exploring. This could be historical details about buildings and landmarks, or listings and menus for entertainment venues and local eateries. Museums make increasing use of AR, allowing visitors to view artefacts with their original appearance as a virtual overlay. Other augmented reality applications might include internet-enabled virtual maps.
Video: Menu AR – menu of restaurants in augmented reality
Video: Example Augmented Reality Within the Hotel Industry
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry”.
12. Healthy and organic food
Healthy food and the kind of fare consumed by tourists used to be antonyms in the minds of many travellers, with holidays traditionally representing a chance to break one’s diet and indulge in forbidden treats. Today’s travellers know that delicious and nutritious are not exclusive concepts. Demand for excellent cuisine with a view to better nutrition is driving new tourism trends. The modern tourist wants to know that the food they’re eating is as healthy as it is delicious. The organic food movement is also affecting tourism trends, with more eateries and hotels offering organic options. Other special diets are also represented.
Video: Organic Holiday in Italy
13. Customer Experience
Of course, the customer experience has always been central to the tourist industry. With new technologies and an ever-broadening array of options for tourists, enhancing the customer experience has never been more vital. In the final analysis, customer experience is what will make or break your business. Fine-tuning the experience can make the difference between creating a loyal repeat customer who boosts your business via word of mouth, and one who drops out at the booking stage. Everything from the web interface where your clients book their trips to the very last day of their journey needs to be as enjoyable as possible.
Video: Technology and Customer Experience Across the Travel Industry
Embracing the latest tourism trends is vital for success. Whether you’re adding IoT devices to a hotel’s rooms or creating an AR app to guide your customers around their destination city, it’s never too early to adopt these crucial trends for your business model.