Two trends changing travel as we know it
Pictured above: Nathalie Boyer, General Manager
Transat Distribution Canada
Because the travel industry is comprised of so many moving parts and can be subject to so many different factors, you could argue that disruption in travel is almost a given.
Our industry and our business is challenged frequently by many unpredictable events and influences such as extreme weather, political unrest, economic downturns, health scares, fuel prices, currency fluctuations, and technology.
But it is also influenced by the ever-changing trends and demands of our customers. At TDC, we have been witnessing two consumer trends that are changing what we sell and how we sell it.
Today, personalization is key to serving your customer. Whether he or she is a millennial or a baby boomer, travellers are more educated and informed than ever before, and they want their travel experiences suited to their personal tastes and desires.
These travellers have usually travelled a lot, have access to a lot of information on the Internet and are seeking more authentic “experiences” now when they travel.
Make it real
The Authentic Travel trend will change the way people travel. For one thing, seasonality will no longer be as finite. People will take more trips off-season to avoid the congestion and waiting times they experience in high season at iconic attractions. They will also be more willing to go off-the-beaten path to try new destinations, to get away from crowds and have a more authentic experience.
Authentic Travel is about people wanting to have “real” experiences and not just experience the traditional tourist areas and regions. This is a big disruptor in how we sell travel, as it is moving away from the traditional into more customized experiences.
This does two things: it requires our travel professionals to become more knowledgeable about building customized itineraries, and at the same time, it makes the customer more likely to require the services of a travel agent.
What’s your bleisure?
The other trend that we see as a disruptor today is the phenomenon of “Bleisure travel” – combining business and leisure. We see this continuing to grow, as companies turn more and more to virtual work environments.
With technology today, you can work from anywhere. The idea that a “holiday is once a year” will fade as people have the option to travel more frequently and work at the same time or to even live in their tourism destination, while still keeping up with the day-to-day work demands.
People also combine business travel with leisure more frequently by adding on a weekend or few days to a business trip and bringing their partner along. The lines between business and leisure have become blurred and with technology allowing us to work from anywhere, this will surely continue.
To be successful in travel today, you have to be able to adapt quickly to deal with any disruption. The one thing you can count on is that there will be disruption—it is the nature of our business.