On the 26 November 2018, Flagship attended the annual launch of the ABTA Travel Trends Report 2019. Taking place at the Conrad St James in central London, we joined the great and the good from the industry to chat about some of ABTA’s learning which are likely to shape the travel industry in 2019.
Amongst these learnings that are detailed in the report which can be found online here, there are five trends which we see as key for brands to consider as they move forwards into the New Year:
- Responsible tourism goes mainstream
With environmental issues becoming more and more prevalent and an increased focus on saving the planet through travel, it’s not surprising that 45% of people said that sustainability is important to them when booking a holiday. This figure is up by 6% from last year and showcases the growing emphasis on responsible tourism and the need for travel companies to highlight how they are being more environmentally friendly.
In fact, 36% of people would choose one travel company over another if they have a better environmental record. This is significant and shows how being environmentally friendly can influence consumer booking behaviour.
- Resurgence of the trusted travel expert
Whilst other reports have indicated a rise in DIY travel, travel agents are not being forgotten. The latest ABTA findings show that 45% feel more confident when they book with a travel agent. At almost half, this shows that travel professionals continue to provide a highly valued service. The report also found that cruise companies are committing more to using travel agents to sell their products, showing that the trade is still very much highly regarded for their expertise, especially in an area of booking complexity like cruise.
- Wellness travel is on the rise
With an increased focus on wellness and wellbeing across consumer goods and services, it’s not surprising that wellness trips are up globally by 20% since 2015, with more people looking to escape everyday stress. This is likely to continue to increase in 2019 as more travel companies look to offer wellness packages. For example, G Adventures launched a brand new mindfulness and nourishment programme in October 2018 focusing on must-see destinations combined with a slower pace of travel. Similarly Exsus Travel now offer honeymoon breaks in Greece dedicated to experiencing a digital detox.
- The tailor made package
Consumers are still enjoying the benefits of package holidays, with increasing numbers of holidaymakers looking to book a package holiday for a good value break. In 2018, 60% booked a package holiday because of value for money, showing that people are still looking for cost effectiveness when planning their trips. Many travel companies such as Meraki Travel, Just You and TUI are now finding more ways to provide flexible and personalised holidays including offering online tailor-made packages and other ways to customise trips.
- Technology supports a seamless holiday experience
There’s an increased emphasis on technology and making travel experiences easier for holidaymakers. This starts from booking the trip all the way through to collecting suitcases at the end of the holiday. Service based technology to make people’s lives easier is ever increasing. For example holidaymakers now have the option to have their suitcases collected from home and taken to the airport, whilst Heathrow Airport is trialling a facial recognition technology replacing the need for passports.
The ABTA event was really insightful and showed that 2019 is going to be yet another exciting year for the travel industry. We’re looking forward to seeing how these trends will shape the future of the travel sector.