Booking.com has revealed eight travel predictions for 2019 based on 163 million verified guest reviews and research from 21,500 travelers across 29 countries.
“2019 is set to be an exciting year for travel,” said Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer at Booking.com. “With technological advancements, an ever more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for groundbreaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights.”
1. Learning and Serving
More than half (56 percent) of travelers said that traveling has taught them invaluable life skills. Next year, the data indicates that more people will look to learn something new during their travels and the industry could also see an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations.
2. Seamless Travel
In 2019, tech travel will be judged based on ease and seamlessness. Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and speech recognition have been buzzwords in previous years but in 2019, successful innovations will offer practical solutions.
3. Space Tourism
Booking.com’s data shows that in the future and next year, advances in space technology will fuel more interest in space travel. As it is, 40 percent of travelers expressed excitement at the idea of leaving the planet and 38 percent are open to considering space travel.
4. Personalized Travel Guides
Just as the hotel experience is becoming more personalized, travel content will move in that direction as well. Generic travel guides will be replaced by short-form, hyper-relevant, and individualized content in travelers’ personal feed. According to Booking.com, 34 percent of travelers want “someone or something” to give them travel recommendations and 41 percent want travel brands to use technologies such as AI to make suggestions based on their past travel experience. More than half supported the idea of digital tour guides.
5. Conscious travel
Travelers are expected to increasingly factor their values into their decisions on where to visit. Nearly half said that social issues in possible travel destinations are important when choosing where to travel and 58 percent said that they would choose not to visit a place if it would negatively that community.
6. Reducing Plastic Waste
Single-use plastics will continue to be a topic of discussion and the industry can expect to see more action in 2019. Millennials and Gen Z travelers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will continue reducing their plastic usage and increase sustainable efforts. According to Booking.com, 86 percent of travelers said they would be willing to participate in activities that lower or offset the footprint of their stay and 37 percent were willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or tourist attraction.
‘Experience’ is a buzzword that won’t go away anytime soon. Almost two-thirds of travelers (60 percent) now value experiences more than material possessions. Next year, travelers will continue looking to eat, sleep, and shop in ways that will create lasting memories. Nostalgia will also come into play, with 42 percent of travelers planning a trip that makes them feel like a kid again, so expect to see more ball pits and bouncy castles for adults.
8. Weekend Trips
More than half of global travelers plan to take more weekend trips next year while fitting a packed itinerary into a short time frame. To make the most of these micro-trips, travelers will continue seeking unique and experiential accommodations.