Technology has transformed travel, shrinking the world with thousands of destinations only a click away. However, new research by Booking.com reveals that two thirds (63 percent) of today’s travelers don’t believe they are making the most of their travel opportunities. The online travel agent conducted research across 20,500 global travelers to uncover the barriers and anxieties which prevent people from making the most of every trip.
Despite having so many travel opportunities available today, one in five people reported that they have never felt limitless during a trip. And there is a strong desire among travelers to feel limitless on their trips—almost half (44 percent) of people worldwide said they aspired to be someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different, and who is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to traveling. More than three-quarters (78 percent) said they wanted to make the most of every travel experience and travel with no regrets.
When it comes to what types of experiences people wanted, 62 percent want to experience new cultures, over half (51 percent) want to taste local delicacies, over a third (39 percent) are keen to experience staying somewhere new, and a third (33 percent) want to embrace meeting new people.
Overcoming Travel Trepidations
A common worry that 28 percent of people said would hold them pack from planning a trip is a language barrier, and 20 percent said are nervous about getting lost without speaking the local language. Others (34 percent) said that struggling to find accommodation is a barrier and 26 percent feel anxious about unfamiliar situations when traveling.
When asked what would remove travel barriers and anxieties for future trips, the top factors were great accommodation options (37 percent), positive reviews from other travelers (35 percent), being able to ask questions and directions in the local language (26 percent and 23 percent, respectively), and being able to order their favorite food (22 percent).
Helping Hand from Technology
More than half of travelers say they use technology frequently while traveling. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbots are increasingly common in booking travel and accommodations and can empower guests to get the support they need before and during travel.
Hotels that have rolled out their own chatbot programs include The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, which recently introduced a chatbot concierge, and Red Roof, which has launched a “skill” for Amazon’s Alexa that allows guests to ask Alexa about Red Roof properties to assist them in making travel plans. Booking.com has also recently rolled out its own AI-powered chatbot, which can access over 147 million real guest reviews on its site so that guests can learn about a destination and ask questions in their own language.
The OTA is also piloting a partnership in the United States, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia with ili, an offline translation device.
Pushing the Limits
Fifty-five percent of travelers think the best thing about travel is getting outside their comfort zone, confirming that they want more unique travel experiences to push their travel limits. The top getaways which travelers haven’t done before, but would love to try one day include: a volunteering trip (39 percent); a gourmet adventure (38 percent); a mystery trip (38 percent); a sabbatical trip (36 percent); and an ancestry trip to find out about their heritage (36 percent).
In addition, the top five trips that people have already been on and would like to go on again are road trips (54 percent); a last minute trip (38 percent); a solo trip (34 percent); a long distance train journey (32 percent); and a backpacking or hiking trip (30 percent).
Adventurers of All Ages
More than a quarter of Generation Z (18- to 24-year-olds) intend to take a road trip, but Baby Boomers (55- to 64-year-olds) are also looking to get more adventurous with the trips they take—20 percent intend to go on a backpacking or hiking trip and 18 percent are planning a road trip. There is also a surge in solo travel to push limits—40 percent of Baby Boomers have taken a solo trip in the last year, and 21 percent planning to take one in the future.