Travel Booking Trends 2021
In 2019, travel and tourism experienced steady growth of 3.5%.
But every travel industry professional knows that 2020 and partly 2021 were unlike anything ever before.
Which aspects are likely to change, and which will remain the same?
The following six trends will drive the travel industry in the coming years.
During the pandemic, working remotely has irreversibly entered the mainstream, leading to a trend towards longer vacations with a closer combination of work and fun. Working from home (WFH) no longer confines us to our desks five days a week, as more and more travelers will extend their travels by working remotely during a vacation or factor their vacation around remote working. Almost a third (37%) of travelers have already considered booking a hotel to work from somewhere else, and 40% are willing to quarantine to work remotely. To attract this new generation of digital nomads, travel platforms and accommodation providers will prioritize showcasing home office facilities and fast Wi-Fi speeds.
As travel restrictions, cancellations, and travel hiatuses have increased, our innate impulse for travel has not been dampened. With more time spent at home, people are hankering after the outside world more than ever. After recent lockdowns, two-thirds (65%) of travelers declared that they were eager to travel again, with 42% wanting to travel more in the future to make up for the lost time in 2020 (increasing to 51% for Gen Z and 49% for Millennials). It is for this reason that the tourism industry will innovate in 2021 to attract more tourists, as it is one of the businesses most impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, over a third of respondents plan to take a trip to compensate for a celebration missed due to the Coronavirus (such as a milestone birthday or wedding), as well as two-fifths of respondents (40%) intend to rebook a previously canceled trip.
Next year and beyond, travelers will be more eco-aware, with over half (53%) seeking to travel more sustainably. The result is that more than two-thirds of travelers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options and that they will work toward finding alternative destinations to avoid overcrowding.
As the Coronavirus spreads, local travel gains more popularity as it remains more convenient, safer, and often more sustainable. In the near future, staying close to home and becoming familiarists rather than tourists will remain on the travel agenda. In the medium term (7-12 months), 47% of people intend to travel within their own country. 38% of people intend to do so in the longer term (more than a year in the future). Fourteen percent of travelers plan to discover a new destination within their home region/country, and forty-six percent plan to appreciate the natural beauty of their home country, while fifty percent (50%) plan to visit a place that is familiar to them for reasons of comfort and familiarity.
In the wake of the pandemic in 2021 and other years ahead, travelers will be looking for a new and more casual way to travel. The tourism industry is enjoying seemingly limitless options thanks to technology, just like practically every other industry. Based on a McKinsey survey, “companies have expedited the digitalization of their customer and supply-chain interactions, as well as their internal operations, by three to four years” as a result of COVID-19. Operators report that 2 out of 5 online bookings originate from mobile devices.
You can also gain more value from these smartphone shoppers by considering these factors:
- Allowing customers to book reservations by themselves makes the chances of them showing up higher, which reduces no-shows to a minimum.
- Their chances of leaving an online review are twice as high.
- When customers use an online booking system, they can prepay for activities and bookings. Money will be in your pocket sooner.
Mobile phone booking accounts for 49% of tour and activity reservations. An online booking system means you can access it from any device. Booking will be easy to make through a mobile-friendly process that is ready wherever your customers are.
Tech will allow us to rediscover the inspiration, confidence, and ease of times past, while at the same time helping people travel safely and responsibly. According to 64% of travelers, technology will play an important role in reducing health risks while they travel, and 63% say accommodations should use the latest technologies to make travelers feel safe when they travel. The majority of respondents will use technology to make last-minute restaurant reservations, and almost a quarter will replace ticket counters with self-service machines. More than half of them are also eager for future technologies to further personalize their travel experiences. As technology becomes more and more incorporated into our travel experiences, our reliance on it will only increase.
These are some of the many travel booking trends in 2021 that will help you plan for your next vacation.