Travel is booming, with international trips expected to grow by 5 percent in 2018. We live, however, in an ever-changing world, and the travel industry needs to adapt continuously. Euromonitor International is delighted to announce the latest findings from the Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel report, unveiled at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, to help the industry make sense of future demands and expectations.
The report contains trends for four regions: Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East and Africa.
Deconstructing the Customer Journey: Breaking down existing silos and engaging with travellers outside the traditionally engagement phases, is becoming increasingly important. In a world where brand loyalty is fragile, being omnipresent, and being able to interact with customers in more than one stage of the customer journey could make the difference.
Plastic Waste: High-profile coverage such as BBC’s Blue Planet II series, which brought images of the destruction that plastic waste brings to the worlds’ oceans, and the launch of the Ocean Cleanup attempt to reduce the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, have greatly increased awareness amongst consumers on plastic’s negative attributes. A host of travel companies have since pledged to reduce or ban the use of plastic.
The Joy of Missing Out (#JOMO): While many could no longer live without connectivity, there is also a tangible countertrend where consumers are resisting the always-on mentality. Counter to the FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) trend, JOMO corresponds to concerns regarding the impact of constant connectivity on consumers’ lives. It is about taking back control from your smartphone and the companies that take your data through it.
Conservation China: The modernisation of China over the past decades has been mostly done with disregard of conserving the country’s natural environment or its heritage. However, China is rapidly shifting to a more conscious approach by taking a leading role in global climate change negotiations, and putting environmental stewardship high on the agenda. Through the launch of the “all-for-one” tourism programme, the country is looking at conservation, diversity of cultures, and the natural environment as important aspects of a cohesive tourism offering.
Blurring Industry Lines: Many travel brands know a thing or two about great products and services which consumers would want to access beyond their journeys. Meanwhile, there is a growing number of retail brands which are looking at the travel industry to increase touchpoints with their customers. The blurring of industry lines sees travel companies opening restaurants or retail spaces, whilst retailers are opening hotels.
Access Economy Taking Flight: The access economy, where consumers are moving away from ownership and instead pay to access goods or services for a limited time, is booming. Especially mobility is an area with plenty of innovation. Bike-sharing programmes were the big trend over the past years, but the next big thing coming from the west coast of the US is scooter-sharing. Additionally, in Latin America our understanding of what constitutes urban mobility is being challenged, as flight-sharing becomes an alternative mode for urban transport.
Middle East and Africa
Seamless Experiences: The Middle East region has been at the centre of innovation in an effort to make the travel journey completely frictionless. Biometrics and facial recognition are becoming increasingly common in airports, arguably the travel space with the most friction. Seamlessness in the destination is also of utmost importance, whether facial recognition cameras in hotels, online check-in and keyless entry, holistic mobility solutions and other smart city initiatives, or frictionless payment facilities.
Trading Down: In Africa, the tourism industry has historically catered to the wealthy international traveller, resulting in a strong focus on inter-regional flight networks and high-end lodging. Today, a shift in demand and improving infrastructure means a strong increase in low-cost carrier flights, and a drive to increase hotel segmentation. This demand comes increasingly from the continent itself, as the middle class is booming.
The full report, with further discussion of the travel performance for these regions, and how industry frontrunners are already anticipating and adapting to these trends, can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/eurotravel2018.