6 Tourism Trends That Will Shape the Travel Industry in 2018
20 years ago, travel agents were how most people went about booking a trip. But now, the traditional travel agent industry is on a steep decline and has been for years. The reason travel agents are becoming less important is due to the fact that they didn’t seize the opportunity of the internet and advancements in technology when they had the chance. They didn’t see upcoming tourism trends and failed to understand the internet was going to become mainstream. And now, they’ve been paying for it in the last decade.
The scary part is, this could happen to anyone if they fail to pay attention to the current tourism trends and where the industry is headed. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of tourism trends to capitalize on in 2018, to help you avoid the same fate of the travel agent.
Entering a New Reality
Studies show that once a person holds something, they’re more likely to buy it. This is why salespeople always try to have prospects hold an item when in the middle of a sale; because it’s a useful tactic to close a sale. And now, this sales tactic has been seeping into the travel industry as well, in the form of virtual reality. In 2017, companies leveraged virtual reality to help prospective travelers get a better feel for what it would be like to travel to their destination.
From touring a potential hotel for an exotic getaway to experiencing what skydiving would feel like, with the help of technology like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Daydream and others, prospective travelers are able to experience part of the trip from the comfort of their home.
When leveraged the correct way, virtual reality could help tour operators and activity providers sell more tours and activities. It also helps prospective travelers to check out potential travel destinations before they hit the road or hop on a plane. The good thing is, virtual reality brings an immersive experience and will likely convince more people to take that vacation and book your fun activity or tour, versus not.
Companies like YouVisit make this a piece of cake for hotels, DMO’s, or anyone looking to make a tour of their location more accessible to travelers.
Traveling Like A Local
Travel giant Airbnb made a lot of changes in 2017 and will continue to do so in 2018 to make travelers feel less like tourists and more like locals. As tourists, people are only able to see what is available as common knowledge, which puts them at a disadvantage by not being able to travel and experience a new location as a local would.
Airbnb started to tackle this challenge in 2016 by introducing experiences, which is a way for travelers to be shown around a new city by a local. This enables travelers to have a more authentic experience in a new location, and likely triggers a fond feeling of traveling, which will incentivize them to travel more in the future.
DMO’s or tour guides who are able to evoke this feeling of “traveling like a local” could spawn the same effect that Airbnb has had on its millions of users.
Musement also aims to help travelers have more unforgettable and local experiences. ‘’Local Wherever You Go’’ is the thought behind their activities and tours from local providers like you, located in over 450 cities around the world. Tour operators and activity providers wanting to keep with the times would be wise to distribute their offers where they’ll surely be seen by travelers from every corner of the globe. As a Regiondo customer, you can connect your shop to Musement in only a few minutes.
Having your offers listed on sales channels such as Expedia Local Expert, Viator and GetYourGuide can help you ensure you’re covering your bases and not missing any opportunities. Regiondo’s Channel Manager helps leisure providers distribute their offers on more channels and save time managing them. You can learn more about the Channel Manager here.
So, if you can make people feel local to a city, you’re likely to win over their traveling heart. 2018 is the year that people want to have local experiences in new locations.
Along with the rising consumer and industry interest in eco-tourism, tour operators and activity providers will need to incorporate ways to bring sustainability to the forefront of their offers. Many tourists are also choosing to visit destinations that will benefit the most from their tourist dollars.
Travelers and the tourism industry are expected now more than ever to respect the environment and its biodiversity, as well as the people, local traditions and the culture of a destination.
This is good news for tour and activity providers because some of the more sustainable components that stand out as significantly more important for travelers are: outdoor adventure programs, voluntourism programs, eco-friendly properties, and businesses that “do good” or give back to their local community. This idea of respecting and enjoying a destination draws away from all-night partying in big dance clubs and is more fixated on urging travelers to get outside and enjoy the natural environment.
Digital Nomads & Influencers
Just in the last decade, a whole slew of people known as Digital Nomads has been rising. Digital nomads are entrepreneurs who are able to support their lifestyle and make enough money simply from their computer and a backpack. Due to this, there is a giant movement of digital nomads who are traveling across the world in masses. This movement is only going to increase, so it’s best to try to win over the digital nomads.
With the rise of digital nomads, comes the trend of influencers on social media. Networking and maintaining a good relationship with these digital nomad influencers can benefit leisure providers in many ways.
With sites like Travel Massive and others, cities and locations within those cities can earn a good reputation among the digital nomad community and attract them. For tour providers, if a digital nomad likes your experience, they are likely going to tell other digital nomads and it will spread through the community. Some ways to accommodate for and capitalize on this growing trend are to:
- Make sure you have fast wifi in your space.
- Have plenty of outlets.
- Keep updated with the trends through sites like Travel Massive and stay connected to the tourism industry through their special events around the world.
- Be friendly to the nomads and they will be friendly to you.
Solo traveling is a wonderful and self-rewarding experience that forces you to grow and leaves you feeling stronger and more confident. And the new year is inviting individual adventurers of all genders to take part in this wonderful experience.
But more people are aiming to travel solo for different reasons. Some may want the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want, rather than be ‘’tied down’’ to a group of friends, family or a partner. And some may be traveling alone for their own personal growth, and seeking something deeper from their solo adventure.
More solo travelers are also opting for professionally guided tours, which is good news for tour and activity operators. Many travelers are wanting to maximize their ‘’me-time.’’ Take advantage of this by having special offers to cater to these solo adventurers. Maybe you can offer them a more personal experience with one-on-one tours, or one-on-one cooking classes.
Traveling solo can be uplifting, eye-opening, and fun, but sometimes lonely. You can also think of offers for two people where you have the opportunity to pair them with a stranger that may become their new best friend. These travelers also enjoy meeting new people and often make long-lasting friendships during their travels because approaching someone who is alone is much easier than approaching a group. Safety is also a high concern for solo travelers. Be sure to stress that your offers are trustworthy and reliable. The idea of being scammed or even much worse while on a trip is never fun for any type of traveler.
These are travelers looking for an enriching experience with the primary purpose of achieving, promoting or maintaining the best health and sense of well-being and balance in life.
But don’t think wellness travel is limited to resorts and spas. Almost any business can take advantage of this trend.
Think of how you can market your business offers as a way to contribute to wellness tourism by developing and promoting communities and show how both tourists and locals can benefit. For example, a helicopter tour, paragliding flight, or whatever fun adventure your company offers, is a chance for personal growth by conquering fears or expanding horizons. Or how about offering healthy cooking courses as a way to promote a healthier lifestyle. Your existing offers may give the chance for people to empower themselves by learning a new skill set which also encourages personal growth.
There you have it, our 2018 tourism trends for the travel industry. As innovation happens daily, 2018 will be another progressive year for tourism. With technology and digital marketing trends evolving daily, it’s a great time to be a leisure provider. From virtual tour experiences to living like a local, to swells of digital nomads traveling the world and influencing social media, make sure you stay on top of the trends to keep your customers happy by giving them the experience they are looking for.
You might also like:
- Experience Tourism and What It Means for the Leisure Industry
- The Rise of Bleisure Travel and How to Make the Most of it
- Travel Like a Local: How Tour Operators Can Make the Most of This Trend
- Health Tourism in the EU: Facts and Figures
- Virtual Reality for Activity Providers – Hype or Actual Business
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- How to Start a Tour Company with (Almost) No Money