December 22, 2021
We have all seen travel change drastically over the last decade, with the last few years the industry transforming at a rapid rate. These changes are driven by an ever-evolving society and its shifting values. The more people become educated about how travel not only impacts themselves but the world around them, the more thoughtful people are becoming with their choices.
In order to look at trends in travel, we must look at trends in general lifestyle and behavior. After all, the things we do in our day to day lives often drive us to want to explore these things further. For example, if the pandemic restrictions lead someone to pick up a hobby in their downtime (such as bread-making) they might be drawn to visit a destination where bread-making is deeply engrained into the culture. They will likely want to learn special techniques and the history of how baking played a role in shaping the destination.
This means it’s important for the tourism industry to look at what interests and pursuits are on the rise and consider ways to integrate them into their experience. Of course, it’s not about chasing every single trend… only the trends that make sense for you. And sometimes it’s about looking at a trend and asking: what does this trend tell us about the way society is changing?
Back to our bread example, it’s not necessarily just about the bread. There was a rise in bread-making because of what it symbolizes and represents: slow, simple, rustic living. Some might say bread-making is a meditative and empowering pursuit. So let’s look at what’s trending right now in both lifestyle and travel.
According to an Ipsos survey commissioned by Google, more than half (56 percent) of Americans are likely to participate in a life moment such as a wedding, a move or new job at some point in the next two years. What's more, of that group, 78 percent are considering travel related to those moments. How can you tie your experience to these important life moments? Consider creating packages that are tailored for them!
When dolphins returned to the Venice canals, the world began to realize how overtourism was taking a toll on the places they love. Overtourism is what happens when too many people visit a destination. The streets and businesses become overwhelmingly crowded, to the point where many do not enjoy their travels. “Off the beaten path” is a trend that has been building for many years, and as travel behaviors start to return to normal, we’ll see more people opt for less crowded destinations. This is likely for concern not just for the environment, but also for their own wellbeing.
The travel industry has slowly but surely been integrating itself with the wellness industry over the last few decades. Unfortunately, the focus has been mostly on physical wellness, with experiences such as yoga and spa treatments. Mental and emotional wellbeing is the next pandemic our world faces, as mental health crises are soaring worldwide. This means tourism hosts and leaders need to consider how their experience impacts people on an emotional level and even consider how the tour or activity helps someone flourish in their day-to-day life.
While physical adventure has always been at the forefront of travel and tourism, travelers are becoming more culturally curious. In the coming years, guests may want more than just a thrill. A report from Google/Storyline Strategies reveals that as travel becomes more inclusive, travelers tend to value cultural engagement as a key factor when deciding on a destination, with 86 percent of travelers of color having traveled abroad for this reason.
Every year, Pinterest reviews the most popular pins from their platform and analyzes what people are searching for. People use Pinterest for travel planning and dreaming, so it’s a great tool to evaluate what’s trending. This year, Pinterest saw an increase in some interesting searches. Feel free to explore these trends yourself, but here’s what we took notice of:
What trends are YOU seeing out in the world right now? Take time to reflect on the societal shifts and also their symbolic, deeper meaning as you prepare for big things in 2022.