Insights from booking habits and an online survey of nearly 19,000 travelers across the world revealed predictions for what travel trends will stand out in 2018. The research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted as an online survey among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months or plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. Booking.com combined its customer insights with the survey results to highlight what trends to expect next year.
Comfort with Tech and AI
Almost a third (29 percent) of travelers reported comfort with letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history and half (50 percent) don’t mind if they deal with a real person or computer, so long as any questions are answered.
Bucket List Travel
Next year, travelers plan to dream big—45 percent have a travel bucket list and the majority (82 percent) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in 2018.
Pop Culture Destinations
In 2018, television shows, films, sport, and social media, in particular, will likely have more of an influence on travelers’ booking decisions. In the survey, 26 percent of travelers said that they will look to pop culture for travel inspiration, namely, screen locations from television, film, and music videos.
Booking.com says that travelers will be exploring destinations from their childhood as adults. About a third of travelers (34 percent) reported considering taking a trip in the coming year that they had experienced as a child. Millennials are the largest group that reported this sentiment—44 percent of 18 to 24 year olds are interested in returning to childhood family destinations.
In 2018, the number of travelers considering taking wellness vacations will almost double from this year—from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018, Booking.com says. More than half (56 percent) of travelers plan to walk or hike on their trips next year. Other health and wellness activities include visiting a spa or seeking out beauty treatments (17 percent), yoga (16 percent), running, (16 percent), and meditation/mindfulness (15 percent). A majority of travelers (59 percent) support the idea that vacation is time for them to reflect and make better lifestyle choices.
Travelers will continue to take their finances into consideration when planning trips next year, Booking.com says. Nearly half will consider currency exchange rates and the same amount will take into account the economic climate of a destination before booking travel. A majority (57 percent) said that they plan to travel independently, and 44 percent will use travel apps more in 2018. Travelers may be choosing not just to personalize their trips, but also to find the best deals and string together their own packages to save money.
Traveling with Friends
Slightly more travelers plan to go on adventures with their friends in 2018—25 percent compared to 21 percent last year. Part of the reason for the increase in group friend travel may be the financial benefits—42 percent said that these getaways give them the opportunity to stay in an accommodation that would otherwise be out of their price range as a single traveler.
Local Experiences—with Independence
The trend of travelers seeking out local experiences will continue in 2018, with a quarter of travelers saying that they are looking for hosts with a strong local knowledge about food and sightseeing, but one who will still give them space—12 percent said they want a host who they don’t have to talk to and 30 percent said it’s important that a host isn’t too over-bearing.