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6 Tourism Industry Trends

The tourism industry, reflecting wider societal evolution, has seen noticeable change in recent years. The dynamic has changed with increasing disposable income, rising life expectancy and technological developments empowering customers, who quite literally have the power to plan and book their travel in the palm of their hand. But which specific trends are most notably influencing traveler decisions to hop on a plane, jump in the car or board a train to their next destination?

1 - Growing Appetite for Travel

Firstly, global wanderlust is on the rise and is reflected in 2018 international tourist arrivals, which grew 6% as a result of increases in all world regions. The good news for accommodation providers and other tourism businesses is that this growth has been accompanied by a growing intent to spend, across both short breaks and longer holidays. The chart below highlights the proportion of consumers prepared to spend less, the same or more on their 2019 travels.

Intent of tourists to spend 2018 vs 2019

2 - Convenience Booking

Convenience is king for today’s consumer, and technology has been a great facilitator in this area. In our 2018 Consumer Travel Insights Survey, 69% of respondents cited convenience as the most important aspect when booking their holiday. Whether booking via an accommodation provider directly or an online travel agency (OTA), ease of booking is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. 

Those booking via OTAs cited viewing all available options as a major influence, enabling them to find and book the best property and price for their trip. Technology has created seamless customer booking experiences and comprehensive research tools, resulting in the culture of convenience booking.

Consumer motivation when booking accommodation

3 - Experiential Tourism

The experience economy is growing! Consumers are no longer happy to simply receive generic messaging and services from brands, they want an experience that’s enriching and authentic. In the tourism industry this translates to experiencing new places and cultures, with travelers citing this as the fourth most influential factor in their decision to holiday.

Key holiday drivers in tourist decision making

4 – Affordable Luxury

Technology has not only made booking trips a less stressful process, it has disrupted the traditional marketplace. The growing pool of accommodation and agents available to travelers, coupled with increased spending power, has empowered consumers to ‘trade up’ to steep but affordable prices. This is the democratisation of luxury, and it has empowered consumers to decide when the luxury options are worth splashing that extra cash—remember, we are entering the age of experience. 

In tourism, this can be seen in the rise of glamping, low-cost carriers and their pay-for-what-you-use business models, and personalised/exclusive experiences in destination. 

5 – Personalization in Travel

Travelers aren’t content to simply plan and book holidays for themselves, they want to experience the destinations at their own pace too. So, the holidays they purchase need to be flexible and tailored to their desires. There is still a reliance on travel agents and accommodation providers, but tourists want messaging that’s personalised to their wants and needs. Approximately 43% of respondents in our Traveler Trends Survey agreed with the statement “personalised holiday adverts or notifications make my travel planning easier”. 

Consumer preferences when discovering destinations

6 - Responsible Tourism

The growing conscience of travelers has presented another new opportunity to operators, who can tap into their growing interest and awareness in the environmental, social and economic impact of their travel. As the below image highlights, this impacts the destinations they choose, when they visit and the products they purchase when traveling. 

The impact of responsible tourism

An understanding of consumer behaviour and destination performance is key to effective planning and decision-making. Discover our tourism solutions, news and resources here

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