It’s been a year dominated by Brexit, Thomas Cook and another General Election. Yet despite the drama and uncertainty that has inevitably ensued, travel is still a spending priority for most of us as we approach 2020.
With 70% of Brits planning to go on holiday abroad next year – and scores more intent on enjoying a staycation break – it’s time to explore ABTA’s 5 travel trends for the year ahead.
Life in the digital age barely gives us time to actually appreciate it. Cue the rise of slow travel. Defined by a desire to avoid a busy checklist of activities and sightseeing spots in favour of a more leisurely tempo, slow travel allows holiday-goers to immerse themselves on a deeper level in local cultures and experiences.
Spending more time in one place allows tourists to truly release the pressure valve. Instead of hurtling around popular hotspots collecting photos for social media, we’re now demonstrating a growing desire to fully take in the sights, sounds and smells of our destination. What’s more, 62% of people now want travel companies to support local businesses, economies and communities: is this the year when the backlash against overtourism truly come to the fore?
We live in uncertain times; consequently, we want to be certain that the holiday we’re booking is the right one.
This desire to be sure of our purchasing decisions has seen a rise in demand for online support from agents, with many travel companies responding in kind with the adoption of a multichannel approach that personalises their service. From live chat to social media and messenger apps, being available at key touchpoints improves the customer experience and elevates that crucial sense of trust. Yet, as ABTA is keen to stress, it’s about delivering real value, not gimmicks.
This year’s Paris Airshow saw the grand unveiling of Alice, the world’s first all-electric commercial passenger aircraft. Big news indeed. Though we have to wait until 2022 for the full release of what is only a six-seater.
That said, we can expect to see some progress towards larger electric-powered aircraft in 2020, with both EasyJet and Ryanair proclaiming their ambitions to go fully green within the next decade. Alternative fuel sources that will greatly improve the sustainability of air travel are also being explored, and it is hoped that next year will see huge strides made in reducing the industry’s carbon emissions.
Touring holidays are in – and they’re about to receive the personalisation treatment.
Emboldened by the ever-increasing popularity of solo and women-only group holidays, travel companies are poised to roll out a new suite of flexible and immersive products that facilitate ‘guided independent’ touring. Vacationers increasingly want all the preparations for their holiday taken care of by an operator – but they also want the freedom to explore their destination at a pace that suits them.
Individually tailored itineraries that cater for specific interests are also in demand, with 50% of solo travellers citing specialist expertise as a key factor in who they choose to book a holiday with.
According to ABTA, an unprecedented 50% of holiday-goers now say that a travel company’s environmental record has a big impact on their purchasing considerations.
Climate change, animal welfare and plastic pollution have all seeped into the realms of public awareness in recent years, creating a new breed of consumer who thinks more about the social and environmental cost their holiday brings.
Travel companies are therefore expected to invest greater time and money into implementing policies that benefit local communities and safeguard against any damage to local habitats or communities; this in turn will form the basis of large amounts of marketing material.