Here’s looking at some of the trends for 2019. Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), speech recognition — these are the innovations that’ll slowly take over and simplify the way we holiday.
Virtual Reality: With the increase adoption of technology across travel industry, 2019 will see interest and rise for virtual travel and expect maximum engagement in travel and adventure from VR technology. Travel brands will digitally transport customers to a virtual recreation of the place, destination. Hotels can incorporate the same to showcase their rooms, recreational areas allowing encouragement in bookings
Artificial Intelligence: Travel industry will see a surge in the use of AI for customer service purposes. It will allow them to understand consumer search trends, respond to consumer queries on real time via chatbots. It will also learn from continuous interactions.
Curated experiences: Travel with experiences at its centre has been a major trend in 2018 and we will see this continue in 2019 even further. Consumer today value experiences more and seek authentic experiences from what to see, where to eat, sleep, shop.
Eco Tourism: Ecotourism/ sustainable travel is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people. It involves visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively untouched natural areas, with the intention to support conservation efforts. One observes the flora and fauna in their natural environment and cause as little impact as possible. It is often done on a small scale and is a great alternative to the mainstream commercial tourism.
Taste bud adventures: Food travel is a trend that’s only picking up fast and travellers are now going the distance to find authentic food experiences. Southeast Asia and Western Europe have always been popular foodie destinations, travellers are looking further afield to find something unique.
Short/long vacations: Spontaneous short and extended vacations are likely to pick up further in 2019. With Gen Z and millennials fuelling the travel segment, they will look at more short, extended weekend vacations to nearby unexplored destinations with their friends or even solo.
This is further corroborated by a generational study 2018 where 55% Gen Z and 48% millennials prefer to take short or extended vacation of three-five days.
The writer Manmeet Ahluwalia is Marketing head, Expedia India