With the growing interest in travel, the entire tourism industry is continuously expanding. Increasingly high demands are met by new solutions in technology and management. Different market segments go above and beyond to meet the needs of their consumers. 2017 has been a very good year for the travel industry. Many trends will continue to show in 2018. Let’s have a look at the most significant predictions for the travel industry in the upcoming year.
Political turmoil may affect the travel industry
Recent years have brought many conflicts and political shocks around the world. Local uprisings, Brexit, US presidential elections, conflict with North Korea and the spectre of terrorism will have a continuous impact on the tourism market. More specifically, the choice of travel destinations.
A good example of such behaviour may be the Paris area, which experienced a significant drop in visitors after the terrorist attacks. The number of tourists from Japan has fallen by as much as 40%, and from China by 21%. Even though they are slowly returning to France, over the past year, the country lost 1.5 million potential visitors.
Similarly, locations such as Egypt or Tunisia lost many tourists in favour of Spain. It does not mean that their tourism died though. They adapted to the new conditions, lowered their prices and now have many visitors come for all-inclusive one or two weeks long vacations.
The political situation will keep on affecting the travel industry. Some countries will experience a significant drop in numbers as well as prices while others may become more attractive.
Speaking of prices, there are few important subjects to discuss. Firstly, in 2018 the demand for hotel rooms will be higher than the capacity. Therefore the prices will go up. And although it will not be a significant growth, it will be visible.
Each year more people decide to travel abroad. According to the analysis made by Google, for 60% of people, travels were their biggest discretionary purchase. Many people plan their trips very carefully. Hence comes the problem with the rate availability, mostly in the corporate travel. Companies often cannot find the hotel rooms at the prices that would fit their budget. This trend will continue in 2018. Luckily, new solutions for this problem appear. Our founders already noticed this issue when they’ve decided to start a new booking platform. That’s why Bidroom offers lower prices than other OTAs.
Another important factor, this time in terms of flights, will be the oil prices. While they may be lower at the end of the next year, they will grow in the first months of 2018, bringing higher rates for air travel.
While computers remain an important engine for both researching destinations as well as making the final bookings, mobile devices are slowly yet continuously taking over. Over 50 % of the travellers booking digitally do so by using their mobile device, with nearly 80 % of them using smartphones. And those numbers will only grow in the upcoming years.
Firstly, because using a smartphone or an iPad becomes easier and more intuitive, making it available for people of all ages. Secondly, because now one of the biggest target groups in the travel industry is the millennials, who prefer going mobile. They want to be able to find a flight, book a hotel, and rent a car anywhere they go. Having a mobile version of their website became one of the most important goals for most OTAs and airlines.
It is also important to state, that the popularity of the OTAs will keep on rising, making them the most popular source of hotel bookings. Booking activities are still typically handled in a traditional way, although the trends suggest that it would be smart to go digital also in this case. Mobility is going to be one of the most important criteria for customers.
Related to the topic of going mobile is the topic of the technology. In this regard, customer requirements are increasing. The technology is evolving at an extremely fast rate, making it more capable of meeting the needs of even the most demanding clients.
The hotel rooms are equipped with new amenities such as temperature control, smart light, and even window opening times, all depending on customer preferences.
Same goes for managing reservations. Channel managers will be crucial in the next years, as new reservation channels appear.
Leisure and Business Travel
Lately, a very peculiar word with a very interesting meaning became popular. Bleisure, is a new form of travelling, connecting business and leisure. In the past year, nearly half of all the business trips has been extended for the leisure purposes. In a recent survey, 81% of respondents claimed that they take trips that combine the two.
It is an important new segment of travel that should be investigated. The industry should look into the needs of bleisure travellers and search for new ways to meet those needs. For many that will be the goal for 2018.
In 2017 the most commonly used social media outlets have been Facebook and Instagram. Youtube has been used for advertising through banners and clips at the beginning of the videos. Linkedin is also very important in terms of both growing a network of contacts as well as proving one’s professionalism.
Visual and digital marketing are becoming crucial for the growth of the company. Creativity is now a key to good advertising. Customers are exposed to all types of commercials. In order to catch their eye, a company has to be clever and think outside the box. And there is no better way to do it than through social media outlets.
This trend will only grow, as online media become more popular and outperform traditional sources.
Flexibility is the key
The travel market changes at a rapid pace. For all its segments it is important to learn how to keep up. Being up to date with the technology, adjusting your prices, understanding the changes and adapting to them is unavoidable if you want your business to work. 2018 will not vary drastically from 2017, but you have to remember to be flexible, as some changes will come, some that we cannot predict today, and you will have to act accordingly.