With not just a new year but a new decade looming, our travel needs, behaviours and wants are always evolving. The world today, like the explorers themselves, does not sit still. Booking.com predicts that 2020 will be a year of travel exploration like never before, fuelled by technology as well as a growing sense of responsibility and deeper connection with the people and places we visit. Drawing on research among more than 22,000 travellers across 29 markets and insights from over 180 million verified guest reviews, here are the travel trends they expect to see come to life in the year ahead - and beyond.
The rise of the ‘second city’ traveller
Second-city travel, meaning the exploration of lesser known destinations in a bid to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take a leap forward in the year ahead. Over half (54%) of global travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 51% would swap their original destination for a lesser known but similar alternative if they knew it’d leave less of an environmental impact. And to pique their interest, 60% of global travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.
Tech-spect the unexpected
2020 will see travellers put key aspects of their decision-making process even more firmly in the hands of technology. It can be overwhelming to decide which corners of our incredible planet to visit or what excursions to choose, but the coming year will see inventive tech inspiring and enabling us to overcome this hurdle with ease. Smart, trusted tech-led recommendations will connect us to a myriad of new experiences that might not otherwise have crossed our path, while also saving time (as well as screen-time) and enabling us to max out every minute of ‘now’ while on vacation.
Slo-Mo is the new #FOMO
Instead of experiencing the constant fear of missing out (FOMO) and trying to speed through as much as possible, travel in 2020 will be all about taking it slow. In 2020, almost half (48%) of travellers plan to take slower modes of transport to reduce their environmental impact and six in 10 (61%) would prefer to take a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. Types of transport that play into our desire to take the pace down a notch will also come into their own - from peddle bikes to trams, sleds and boats, as well as our own two feet. In fact, over half (57%) of travellers already don't mind spending more time traveling to reach their destination if they’re taking a unique mode of transport. Likewise, 64% would be interested in feeling as if they are going back in time by taking a historical train journey (e.g. Flying Scotsman, Orient Express). Look forward to a year of slow and special travel.
Discovering the all-amusive escape
A fast-paced world means that most of us are often time poor – a notion that doesn’t start or stop with vacations. Travelers will want to be as time-efficient as possible on vacation, so instead of settling into one theme for the entire vacation, 2020 will see a rise in travellers exploring the ‘all-amusive’, by visiting destinations that offer an array of enriching experiences and attractions. Over half (54%) of global travellers say they want to go on one long trip to a place that has all of their favourite activities and sights close together, and 62% agree that they would choose a destination that offers all of their favourite activities and sights near each other to save travel time.
Pets in the priority lane
With more than half (55%) of global pet owners saying that their pet is as important to them as their child/ren, it’s no surprise that 2020 looks set to herald a new era in pet-centric vacations. We’ll see travellers putting the needs of their beloved pets well before their own when it comes to selecting where to go, where to stay and what to do. 42% of global pet owners agree that in the coming year they would choose holiday destinations based on whether they can take their pets and 49% would be willing to pay more to stay at an accommodation that's pet-friendly. Reflecting this trend, the number of pet-friendly properties continues to rise on Booking.com while savvy to this appetite, accommodations around the world will continue to look for innovative ways to up the ante when it comes to pet-tailored offerings.
Making great memories with ‘grand’ getaways
2020 will be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents will take epic vacations with just their grandkids, leaving the middle generation behind. Almost three-quarters (72%) of grandparents agree that spending time with their grandkids keeps them feeling young and 71% believe that parents need alone time without their children. Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.
Race to the reservation
The coming year will see travellers put culinary ambitions at the forefront of their travel decision making, with the race to snag that all important restaurant reservation truly on. For many, where and when they travel will start with - and depend on - whether they can reserve a table to enjoy highly coveted cuisine, in many cases at places whose waiting lists stretch months long. And with appetites whetted by an abundance of social media content and recommendations, it won’t just be the big name restaurants at which travellers are desperate to nab a seat.
8. Fast track to long-term travel
As retirement looks set to become less and less about reaching a certain age and leaving the workforce, and with increasing numbers actively planning to retire earlier, we’ll see this moment become surprisingly synonymous with ‘adventure travel planning’. Nearly one quarter (23%) of 18 to 25 year olds are planning to retire before they turn 55 and what they plan to do is also changing. 2020 will see travellers shift their mindset and start to plan big for their future golden years, with nearly two thirds (65%) of global travellers seeing travel as the perfect way to spend that free time. To delve deeper into Booking.com’s travel trends for 2020, visit http://TravelPredictions2020.com