Leveraging its unique position as a travel and technology leader, Booking.com, is a global leader in connecting travelers with incredible places to stay. It has delved into its unprecedented insights from over 163 million verified guest reviews and research from 21,500 travelers across 29 countries, to reveal eight travel predictions for 2019, giving an exclusive peek into the crystal ball of what we can expect in the year ahead.
Representing a new type of currency and means of personal fulfillment, 2019 will see travelers focus more on adding purpose to their trips. Almost half (47%) of Canadian travelers agree traveling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 will see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new on their trips, as well as an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations.
In particular, Generation Z will see less value in expensive college degrees over and against the life skills and practical learning that can be gained from travel, especially as experiences beyond the classroom and office continue to make for attractive potential employees. When looking at the most popular kinds of trips with purpose, 55% of Canadian travelers would consider participating in cultural exchanges to learn a new skill, followed by a volunteer trip (53%) and international work placements (44%).
Easy Does It
In 2019, “ease” will be the gold standard by which tech travel innovations will be judged. In past years, travelers have heard a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. In the coming year, the winning innovations will be those that seamlessly offer these technologies as a practical solution for travelers. Think key-less room-access with your phone, or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in any language.
The innovations that will have us truly excited won’t be the most futuristic or exotic, with travelers being most enthusiastic for innovations like real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs.
Watch This Space – Uncharted Territories
NASA will start construction of its Lunar Space Station in 2019 (launching in 2022) and we’ll continue to see considerable investment in orbital spaceflight. In 2019, we will continue to push the limits of where travel will take us. Travel and other companies will be investing in tests on earth to prepare for a future in space and meet consumer appetite for braving the new frontier.
Until space travel becomes a reality, this brave new mentality will also translate to travel slightly closer to home with a desire to explore uncharted territories here on Earth. Of most interest is under terra firma, with over six in ten travelers (63%) confirming they want to stay in accommodation under the sea. 2019 will likely see new, seemingly impossible types of holiday homes and hotels emerge before our eyes.
Up Close and Personal
2019 looks set to see rapid developments in the way travel information is consumed and used. Generic, comprehensive travel guides of the past will make way for increasingly short-form, hyper relevant and individualized content, which can be neatly integrated in travellers’ feeds. As importance deepens on personal, individual recommendations that unlock the most out of every trip, expect producers of rich and professional travel content to find even better ways of distributing this through the use of AI as we move through the coming year, reaching us exactly when we need it most.
Reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions, 2019 will see a more conscious traveler, with even more questions being asked around social, political and environmental issues in potential destinations before making a decision on where to visit. Currently, many Canadian travelers (38%) feel social issues in possible travel destinations are of real importance when choosing where to go and half (50%) choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there.
As travelers increasingly seek new and authentic experiences, they also want to ensure that they can travel in safety, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride are harnessing the power of multiple data sources to provide travelers with a ranking of how LGBT+ friendly their chosen travel destination is, while destinations and organizations will increasingly step up their support for women traveling alone.
Plastic Not-So Fantastic
The issue of single-use plastic will continue to be a hot topic, but in 2019 environmental concerns will turn into greater environmental action. Millennials and Gen Z travelers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials. An overwhelming majority of travelers (78%) say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay. Expect to see a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to shaping a new future for our planet in the coming year.
The Experience Curator
Travel with experiences at its core was one of 2018’s major travel trends, but 2019 will take it even further. ‘Doing’ will weigh equally with ‘going’, if not more, when it comes to travel reflection. For more than half of travelers (52%), experiences are now valued higher than material possessions.
As we continue to lead busy lives, experiences will help to ease the burden of stressful adult life. In 2019, 31% of travelers plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a kid again. We’ll see properties looking to add more childlike and playful touches such as ball pits and bouncy castles for adults to cater for a Millennial and Gen Z audience, who are the biggest groups who travel to feel like a child again.
Maximizing The Micro
Over a third of Canadian travelers (38%) report they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019. It’s a year that’s predicted to be all about made-to-measure, bite sized travel with more curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames. Less is most definitely more as travelers are offered a more bespoke experience.
“2019 is set to be an exciting year for travel. With technological advancements, a more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for groundbreaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights,” Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments. “With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com continues to innovate and learn, and we’ve never been more excited to be at the epicenter of this thrilling industry.”