Booking.com predicts that 2020 will be a year of travel exploration like never before, fuelled by technology as well as a growing sense of responsibility and deeper connection with the people and places we visit. With research among more than 22,000 travellers across 29 markets and insights from over 180 million verified guest reviews, here are the travel trends they predict to come to life in the year ahead.
- The rise of the ‘second city’ traveller
Second-city travel, meaning the exploration of lesser known destinations in a bid to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take a leap forward in the year ahead. Over half (54%) of global travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 51% would swap their original destination for a lesser known but similar alternative if they knew it’d leave less of an environmental impact. And to pique their interest, 60% of global travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.
2. Tech-spect the unexpected
2020 will see travellers put key aspects of their decision-making process even more firmly in the hands of technology. It can be overwhelming to decide which corners of our incredible planet to visit or what excursions to choose, but the coming year will see inventive tech inspiring and enabling us to overcome this hurdle with ease. Smart, trusted tech-led recommendations will connect us to a myriad of new experiences that might not otherwise have crossed our path, while also saving time (as well as screen-time) and enabling us to max out every minute of ‘now’ while on vacation.
This will be music to the ears of the almost six in 10 (59%) people who say they want tech to offer them ‘wildcard’ and surprise options that would introduce them to something entirely new in the coming year. Additionally, almost half (46%) of global traveller’s state they will use an app that makes it fast and easy to explore and book activities in real time while travelling, and a similar number (44%) plan to use an app that allows them to pre-plan activities, so they always have the answers in one place. Meeting that demand, 2020 will see even more applications of Artificial Intelligence offering tailored suggestions of destinations to visit, places to stay and things to do based on your current preferences, previous trips and key contextual factors such as weather and popularity.
3. Slo-Mo is the new #FOMO
Instead of experiencing the constant fear of missing out (FOMO) and trying to speed through as much as possible, travel in 2020 will be all about taking it slow. In 2020, almost half (48%) of traveller’s plan to take slower modes of transport to reduce their environmental impact and six in 10 (61%) would prefer to take a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. Types of transport that play into our desire to take the pace down a notch will also come into their own – from peddle bikes to trams, sleds and boats, as well as our own two feet. In fact, over half (57%) of travellers already don’t mind spending more time travelling to reach their destination if they’re taking a unique mode of transport. Likewise, 64% would be interested in feeling as if they are going back in time by taking a historical train journey (e.g. Flying Scotsman, Orient Express). Look forward to a year of slow and special travel.
4. Pets in the priority lane
With more than half (55%) of global pet owners saying that their pet is as important to them as their child/ren, it’s no surprise that 2020 looks set to herald a new era in pet-centric vacations. We’ll see travellers putting the needs of their beloved pets well before their own when it comes to selecting where to go, where to stay and what to do.
42% of global pet owners agree that in the coming year they would choose holiday destinations based on whether they can take their pets and 49% would be willing to pay more to stay at an accommodation that’s pet-friendly. Reflecting this trend, the number of pet-friendly properties continues to rise on Booking.com while savvy to this appetite, accommodations around the world will continue to look for innovative ways to up the ante when it comes to pet-tailored offerings and amenities, such as complementary dog day beds, pet spas, dedicated room service menus and even specially designed pet restaurants. Animals on vacation can definitely expect a five-star experience.
5. Making great memories with ‘grand’ getaways
2020 will be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents will take epic vacations with just their grandkids, leaving the middle generation behind. Almost three-quarters (72%) of grandparents agree that spending time with their grandkids keeps them feeling young and 71% believe that parents need alone time without their children. Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.