By The Nation
Looking for inspiration for 2018 travel? Facilitating reservations for more than 1.5 million room nights each day, the experts at the leading travel website Booking.com have combined customer insights from over 128 million real guest reviews with research from 19,000 travellers across 26 countries around the world to reveal the biggest travel predictions for 2018.
Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months surveyed 18,509 respondents from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India, Singapore and Russia plus smaller numbers from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan. Respondents completed an online survey last August.
Here are eight travel predictions for the year 2018;
New tech frontiers
Immersive experiences will reach the next level in 2018, with travellers looking to technology to help better understand a destination or accommodation before they book. Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping consumers turn the corner when it comes to smart destination intuition, reshaping the way we research, book and experience travel. Almost a third (29 per cent) of global travellers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history. Over six in 10 (64 per cent) of travellers say they would like to “try before they buy” with a virtual reality preview. Taking all the hard work and stress out of decision making, in 2018 technology will continue to guide us seamlessly to find the best stays and experiences for us.
From dream to reality
The year 2018 is the year to dream big as 45 per cent of travellers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82 per cent) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. The yearning for experiences over material possessions continues and drives our desire for more incredible and memorable trips.
Most likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travellers (47 per cent) will look to tick this off in 2018. Over a third (35 per cent) yearn to tantalise their taste buds by trying a local delicacy, 34 per cent want to head to an island paradise and 34 per cent are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world-famous theme park.
As well as new experiences, travellers will be revisiting their favourite childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. Blending the future with the past, next year’s travellers will be inspired to return to previously loved destinations and explore them in a whole new way. A third of travellers (34 per cent) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.
These popularity of these vintage vacations stems from the feelings of nostalgia and happiness the destinations evoke. Travellers say that former family holidays recall the fondest memories, even more so than childhood sweethearts or family pets.
Pop culture pilgrimage
In 2018, television shows, films, sport and social media in particular look set to have an increasingly significant sway over booking decisions, as travellers turn to pop culture for their travel inspiration. Reading blogs or watching YouTuber recommendations will spark ideas for four in ten (39 per cent) travellers and on screen locations from television, film or music videos will win over 36 per cent of travellers in the coming year.
The top television programme locations travellers most want to visit in 2018 are Croatia, Spain and Iceland inspired by “Game of Thrones” (29 per cent), London as seen in “Sherlock” and “The Crown” (21 per cent and 13 per cent), New York and Manhattan from “Billions” (13 per cent) and Los Angeles viewed in “Entourage” (10 per cent).
Walk your way to wellness
The trend for wellness getaways isn’t slowing down for 2018, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and wellbeing trips in 2018 compared to 2017 (from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018).
Health and wellness inspired activities high on the travel agenda in 2018 include visiting a spa or receiving beauty treatments (33 per cent), cycling (24 per cent), water sport activities (22 per cent), taking a full body detox holiday (17 per cent), going on a yoga retreat (16 per cent), running (16 per cent) and undertaking meditation/mindfulness (15 per cent). Embracing such experiences is popular with travellers, with 59 per cent saying they prioritise experiences over material items when on holiday.
Every year, travellers are becoming savvier, especially when it comes to getting the most for their money. With significant numbers basing their travelling decisions on finance-related matters, 2018 will see travellers looking to be even more economically intuitive. Nearly half (47 per cent) will take currency exchange rates into consideration when planning their travels for the year, and almost the same amount (48 per cent) will think about the economic climate of a destination before making the decision to travel.
More confident to follow their own intuition, travellers are less obliged to follow the herd, with over half (57 per cent) wanting to do more independent travel in 2018, placing growing value on personalised endeavours, looking for the best deals and putting together their own packages – all with the help of apps and technology.
The great mate escape
The year 2018 is gearing up to be all about the group getaway. When asked who their 2018 travelling companions were likely to be, the segment with the biggest increase when compared to 2017, was travelling with a group of friends, increasing from 21 per cent to 25 per cent.
Mate’s escapes are the ultimate social time away from our everyday pressures, reducing stress and building connections with your friends. With the world only a click away it’s never been easier to find the perfect place to stay and explore with a large group of friends looking for adventure across every corner of the globe.
Friend-based getaways also have financial advantages as four in 10 (42 per cent) said that joint holidays with friends will allow them to stay in accommodation they wouldn't be able to afford on their own.
Live like a local, not with one
In 2018, rental homes are going to be particularly popular – not just for travellers looking to stay in one, but also home owners who are thinking of inviting others to stay in their own abode. One in three travellers (33 per cent) say they’d prefer to stay in a holiday rental (a holiday home or apartment) over a hotel and one in five (21 per cent) would consider listing their home on a travel accommodation site.
When it comes to playing the role of a host, travellers reveal that it isn’t about having them there all the time. Travellers are keen to have a local experience and will look to hosts for their expertise, as a quarter of travellers say it will be important that their host has strong local knowledge about local food and places to visit (25 per cent), but travellers will want the flexibility to interact with hosts on their own terms.