Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Dec 09, 2019
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The next decade of travel – what travel suppliers should expect

Forecast 2020

Rebecca Cregan
Director Market Management,
Travel Partners
GroupExpedia Group,

With the 2010’s in our rearview mirror, it’s time to reflect on the past decade and identify the opportunities ahead in 2020 and beyond. The 2010’s began with uncertainty as the travel and tourism industry was recovering from a global recession. Hotels were placing an emphasis on localizing the guest experience and there was a growing interest in offering unique experiences, such as “film tourism” and trips to new planets during the rise of “astrotourism.” And, of course, let’s not forget ABTA’s bold prediction that naked cruising – – would take off.

While many trends came to fruition, others did not (perhaps to all our benefits). Regardless travel always finds a way to elevate the guest experience, and as we enter the next decade of travel, there is a lot to look forward to.

What We’ve Seen: The Shifting Consumer Landscape

Generational trends

Younger generations (Millennials/Gen Z) make up a large segment of travel, and not to be overlooked is the rise of Generation Alpha. As Expedia Group Media Solutions research tells us, this segment of younger travellers crave unique experiences and adventure, and as Millennials are starting to have families, they are looking for destinations that cater to the needs of their entire family.

Changing landscape of work

The proliferation of technologies and collaboration tools has fostered a growing acceptance “work from anywhere” (WFA). By investing more resources into employees’ well-being and providing more flexible travel –
market – and WFA policies, companies are boosting employees’ satisfaction and productivity, increasing happiness and freedom in their personal lives and offering more opportunity to travel.

What We Anticipate: 2020 and Beyond

Diversity in lodging accommodations

Business travel, bleisure (extending a business trip for leisure), medical travel and family travel are key factors driving diversification among accommodation types. According to Vrbo, travel demand for houseboats, yachts, RVs and Airstreams is already up 30% year-over-year. While it’s important to have diverse accommodations to address the changing consumer landscape, chain and independent hotels will remain popular lodging options. Chains offer a more homogeneous experience, which plenty of travellers seek, while independents continue to provide unique and differentiated experiences.

Future proofing for what’s ahead

Technology solutions will be easier to use, making them even more accessible for all accommodation providers.

Getting the right tools and infrastructure in place can help travel suppliers be prepared for the unknown. Smart data means deeper insights into customer behaviour that will allow travel providers to build next-level personalized experiences for their guests, and a better future for their
business, as actionable insights combined with the right tools are helping suppliers grow their business. Technology and data help travel providers better understand their travellers, remove friction throughout the journey and ultimately deliver more personalized experiences.

What we must expect, deliver

There will always be areas that should be non-negotiable, regardless of the latest trends. Diversity and inclusion is one area that the industry must continue to deliver on. We need to prioritize inclusivity in order to meet the needs of all travellers. More women are traveling alone than ever before. LGBTQ+ travellers often fear – – having to travel to places that aren’t known for exclusionary laws or beliefs. We’re seeing steady progress with accessibility, but as an industry, it needs to be front-of-mind to provide positive and memorable experiences for all our guests. In general, travel suppliers today are expected to and should know more about what their travellers want and need and be able to meet those personalized needs.