The year 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for the tourism industry with the exciting developments and market shifts going on right now. However, with great opportunity comes some new challenges. According to the AARP, people spend on average of 7,000 dollars per person on travel. Travelers of all ages and interests are looking for a tour company to help them explore both local and exotic destinations.
Some of the big trends for 2018 include people relying on mobile devices for their searches, traveling in equal numbers to both domestic and newly opened international destinations, and seeking out environmentally friendly, sustainable vacations. To help you keep on top of the changing tourism landscape, we've created this guide of the top 8 upcoming travel trends.
1. Relaxation vs Adventure: the Market is Split
According to the AARP, about half of the Baby Boomer generation wants to relax and rejuvenate. The other half wants to go somewhere exotic and have an adventure. A smart tour operator will offer a wide variety of packages to cater to both of these interests. This is why it's so important to know what your demographics are. Don't fall into thinking that certain age groups only like certain things. As this AARP study shows, Baby Boomers are just as likely to enjoy a walking tour as they are a day on the beach.
2. Your Mobile Game is More Important Now Than Ever
The majority of bookings are now made online through a website, whether it's a tour company itself or an aggregator. However, the way that people access these sites is changing. Now, almost half of bookings are made through a mobile device. According to Trekksoft's Travel Report 2018, 49% of tour & activity bookings are on mobile. compared to 31% in 2016. With this growing trend, it's vital for tour companies to have a mobile-friendly website to stay competitive in this market. Keep in mind that the way you interact with clients and the way that they decide what service to go with is different on mobile devices than through a computer. Optimize your website to work well on both!
3. Online Reviews Have Never Been More Important
One of the first things a customer does when looking for a tour operator is check the company's online reviews. According to TrekkSoft, nearly 95% of travelers trust reviews on third party review sites. This is why managing your online reputation is critical. Some things you can do are:
respond immediately to reviews, both good and bad
apologize for customer bad experiences even if you don't personally agree with the opinion
make sure your company's customer service is on point
encourage your customers to leave a review after their tour
4. Some Areas of the Travel Market are Growing Fast
What's the fastest growing travel region in the world? You may be surprised to learn it's the Middle East. Countries such as Palestine and Egypt have seen a major increase in international visitors. Meanwhile, some areas in Asia such as China are a hot travel trend.
5. Don't Forget Your International Customers
This hot travel market goes both ways, too. A great method for your business to get an edge is through targeting customers in other countries. For instance, middle class to wealthy Indians may be interested in your travel services. Make sure that your website is culturally appealing and, if you can, have an option to switch it to another language to really target a certain international market.
6. Hotels and Motels Are Still Popular...
Many people (over 60%) prefer to stay in a hotel or motel while traveling. However, they don't all have cookie-cutter needs. Some visitors want a pet-friendly hotel. Others may want one with a functional kitchen, especially for longer stays. Finally, many are looking for amenities like a gym, swimming pool, or spa services. Offer a broad variety of options in your different vacation packages to help reach the largest audience.
7. ... but Other Accommodations Are Gaining Ground
From B&Bs to home stays to cruises, travelers' choices in accommodations are diverse. Bed and breakfasts are very popular in certain destinations, particularly in Europe or New England. However, short term private home rentals have real appeal for some people. Finally, cruises are a good fit for people who want relaxation and an all-in-one package.
8. Eco-Tourism is King as More People Go Green
More and more people are becoming eco-conscious, especially among the Millennial generation. This has led to soaring popularity in 'green' vacation packages and work-stay programs. For instance, people may do charity work or assist on a farm in exchange for a place to stay. Be sure to highlight your company's sustainable practices on your website.
Eight Ways to Slay 2018
Travel trends continue to evolve and 2018 is an exciting turning point in the market. New, exotic destinations have opened up and become more popular that ever. Meanwhile, tour businesses can access new audiences by creating mobile-friendly sites and crafting internationally-targeted ad campaigns. Hotels remain a mainstay but one rising trend is more exotic or eco-friendly accommodations. Finally, customization is the name of the game. Give people more options to help them build their own unique vacation experience.