Brighter Thinking

Travel trends show a thirst for experiences and off the beaten path destinations in 2018

As you would expect for the start of a year many travel brands and experts have stepped forward to give their views on what will be the leading travel trends for the coming year – and 2018, it seems will see some very interesting trends regarding where consumers will travel to and what they will be buying.

For leading accommodation provider Airbnb, it will be their “Experiences” option that everyone will be talking about in 2018, connecting visitors not just with places to stay, but with new offline experiences to try out, led by local experts. If the trends of 2017 continue then non-traditional homes, which saw the largest increase in bookings for the brand, will lead the trend with travellers targeting off-the-beaten-path-type places rather than typical city homes.

Based on Airbnb data, more travellers are looking to experience nature first hand in 2018 with bookings for yurts already up 155% over 2017.

However, the most popular Experience (local activities lead by locals) for 2017 was dining-related — with food and drink accounting for 29% of total Experience bookings.  Total weekly ‘Experience’ guests have already increased 20% over the corresponding period last year, and it is set to grow steadily.

Based on Airbnb’s forecast, under-the-radar outdoor excursions and live concerts will lead the market for Experiences in 2018. Unsurprisingly, millennials are leading the charge, with two-thirds of ‘Experience’ bookers aged 35 and under.

Meanwhile, according to 2018 is the year consumers will dream big as 45% of travellers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82%) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year.

Again, like Airbnb their prediction is around consumers wanting experiences over material possessions which will continue to drive a desire for more incredible and memorable trips.

According to the most likely destinations to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travellers (47%) will look to tick this off in 2018. Over a third (35%) will yearn to tantalize their taste buds by trying a local delicacy, 34% will want to head to an island paradise and 34% are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world famous theme park.

On the other hand strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory is predicting that hospitality and travel providers in 2018 and beyond will have to create even more products that cater for global One World citizens seeking to maximise their time in transit. Innovations in products and services will ensure that travellers are getting the best quality sleep that they can while on the move.

However, the biggest changes in the sector according to The Future Laboratory will come from the new consumers who will spend their increasingly disposable income on travel.

Hospitality and travel brands in 2018 and beyond will have to consider how to cater for new travellers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. And markets that have remained restricted to date, such as Saudi Arabia, will attract new consumers and offer new opportunities to shape travel experiences in these yet-to-be explored regions.


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