The global travel industry is expected to grow 3.3% year on year, estimated to top almost USD 3 trillion by 2024. Euromonitor International highlights the six megatrends impacting the future of travel.
Change in the air
There is a change in the air as climate activism leads to a greater awareness of climate change and the need for sustainable development.
In Europe, the issue has become so pronounced that new words such as ‘flygskam’ have been created to flight-shame people in Sweden. New digital tools are emerging to encourage consumers to choose sustainable alternatives. Klimatsmart Semester is a digital tool that calculates the carbon footprint of a trip based on the level of CO² emissions produced and provides greener alternatives. Doconomy’s new credit card – Do Black, measures and caps consumers’ spending based on the amount of CO2 emissions caused by consumption.
2019 is riding a wave of inclusion where travel brands are leveraging new technology to become accessible for all visitors regardless of age and ability. For example, Be My Eyes is a community app for people with low-vision providing real-time help with navigation and information across 150 countries, in 180 languages. Similarly, Eurostar has launched a virtual guide to help travellers with autism spectrum disorder, to give them certainty about each step of the journey.
With majority of the world’s 4 billion internet users on social media, consumers are seeking travel inspiration from mainstream social media channels like Instagram and YouTube. This has led to the emergence of social commerce. EasyJet and Six Travel launched a new function for consumers to book hotels directly from influencers’ Instagram stories. Influencers such as Traveling Jackie and Black Girls Travel Too in the US have transitioned to travel operators. Domestic tourism in Africa is being promoted by influencers within the region through storytelling and content from platforms such as Naija Nomads and TVP Adventures in Nigeria.
Innovative at large
Asia is emerging as a major innovation hub going through a digital transformation. The start-up community, with investors like Soft Bank, provide a good steer for where the next round of industry growth will come from such as Oyo digitalising budget hotels and Klook bringing activities online.
Super apps go for lifestyle
Super apps are a major phenomenon in Asia Pacific, thanks to high smartphone penetration and consumers seeking ultimate convenience. Brands such as Meituan Dianping and Go-Jek have transformed from their original roots to offer multiple services on one platform integrated seamlessly with payments.
Tech hubs take travel to the next level
In the Middle East, most travel searches and booking activity still happens offline. However, online travel activity is growing exponentially and there are substantial opportunities for technical innovation – in back-end systems, payment platforms, mobile booking interfaces and personalised travel. The UAE amongst others is investing in tech hub infrastructure and incentivising start-ups in the travel space to help move the region’s tourism industry into the digital age and offer distinct travel experiences.
These six megatrends are significantly impacting the future of the travel industry and pushing businesses to be more innovative in their approach. For more information on the latest innovation in travel, download the ‘Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel: 2019 Edition’.