5 Travel Trends You Should Know About in 2019
2019 is already here so it’s a good time to review your business priorities and plan for the year ahead.
To make things easier, we decided to look at the most recent data on the travel market and summarize the key travel industry trends so you can make better business decisions and prepare for the new year.
Apart from examining market trends, we’ll also provide some concrete recommendations based on our analysis.
Upon reading this article, you should expect to have a good understanding of the key trends within the market and how to make the most of them in 2019.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Travelers increasingly prefer self-service
A survey by SITA concluded that 37% of travelers who responded used automated ID control on their last flight and 57% plan to use biometrics for their next trip.
In addition, nearly half of all passengers took advantage of a self-service tagging option on their most recent trip, which is a considerable increase from 31% in 2016.
But airlines are not the only industry affected.
According to KPS, more than 91% of travel agent customers would use a self-service knowledge base, provided it met their needs.
And self-service is not all about bookings.
The data shows people want to manage their trip after they’ve made a booking without contacting customer support. This makes self-service a streamlined way to improve customer satisfaction rather than just a way to boost online sales.
This is why we’d recommend introducing dedicated self-service capabilities to your website (if you haven’t already). Not just when it comes to sales, but also for managing a booking post-purchase.
2. Mobile bookings continue to rise
As of November 2018, almost half of all internet traffic is mobile.
Asia and Africa lead the way in terms of mobile usage as a percentage of total web traffic, while the rest of the world is at a minimum of 30%.
In addition, Google reports that more than 31% of leisure travelers have booked travel using a smartphone compared to 53% of business travelers.
In 2019, you simply can’t neglect offering a solid mobile experience – either through your own app, mobile-optimized website or a partner platform that invests in mobile heavily.
When looking at the tours and activities industry, our internal data also shows a steady increase over the last 3 years when it comes to the share of mobile bookings.
Please note: The data for 2018 consists of the first 3 quarters only.
So while desktop and tablet bookings gradually decrease, this is offset by the increase in mobile bookings, showing a trend that people prefer booking tours and activities on their smartphones.
Some of the quick and easy ways to establish a mobile presence are cost-effective mobile app builders. In addition, you can check if your website is optimized for mobile phones in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
3. Off-season travel is getting more popular
With cheaper airline tickets and considerable benefits to traveling off-peak, we expect to see a steady increase in both winter travel and traditionally quiet months like March and October.
Apart from the prices, some of the reasons people choose to travel off season include:
- Fewer tourists mean more booking availability and no queues.
- There’s a chance to encounter different experiences compared to in-demand times.
- People can experience more of the local culture.
The last point is important because of the increasing interest in having authentic, local travel experiences.
Interest over time for the search term “travel with a local” (Google Trends).
To take advantage of this trend, make sure you plan your resources for more tourists during traditionally slow months and try to incorporate aspects of the local culture into your offers.
4. Mini-trips are going mainstream
More than half of global travelers (53%) report that they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019.
Spontaneous decisions, flash sales, and increasing job flexibility all contribute toward this trend.
But what does this mean to your business?
Introducing offers with a lower duration (if applicable) can be a good way to accommodate for travelers on a mini-trip.
These people will be looking to make the most of their short stay so it’s crucial to highlight the duration of things like tours and activities.
Detailed itineraries are also important to help people plan their trip and know exactly what they’ll do.
5. Lodging preferences are changing
It’s no longer the big hotel chains that dominate lodging.
Small, individual merchants are on the rise, as indicated by the growth in Airbnb’s revenue.
With figures for 2017 at $2.8 billion, the platform is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by 2020.
Of course, Airbnb is not the only example of this.
The rise in ECO hotels, like treehouse hotels, is also an indication of changing traveler preferences when it comes to lodging.
Even if you’re not part of these industries, this trend makes alternative hotels and short-term letting hosts great referral partners that can drive revenue your way.
In this article, we looked at 5 travel industry trends that will shape the tourism market in 2019.
For each of the key trends, we recommended a course of action to meet demand in the best possible way. To summarize, our recommendations include:
- Prioritize the development of self-service capabilities in the period after a booking was made to maximize customer satisfaction.
- Establish or solidify your existing mobile presence to meet the growing demand on smartphones.
- Plan resources in accordance with higher expected demand during off-peak times for your industry.
- Introduce and promote appropriate offers in terms of duration and itinerary to fit short-term travelers who want to utilize their time in the best possible way.
- Consider partnering with individual short-term letting hosts and alternative hotels to maximize referrals.
While the specific actions you take will depend on your business context, we hope this article has contributed to your understanding of the travel industry in general and has made it easier to plan for the new year.