Six travel trends to watch in 2014 & beyond
Travel agents ? along with suppliers, destinations and marketers ? would be wise to take note, as the trends represent both opportunities and challenges.
Resonance Consultancy president Chris Fair detailed the top trends his firm expects to shape travel in 2014 and beyond in a webinar earlier this week. The firm researches lifestyle and tourism trends and formulates branding and development strategies for destinations.
Among its leading travel trends are:
Trend #1. Impact of millennials
Millennials ? 18- to 30-year-olds ? are of ?obvious and growing importance? to the travel industry, said Fair. They also have distinct characteristics.
?Millennials are a much more ethnically diverse group than other generations and so are more interested in international travel,? he said.
Other characteristics of millennials:
??? ?They?re more interested in urban than resort destinations.
??? ?They?re more likely to travel in pursuit of favorite interests or activities.
??? ?They?re more likely to travel with friends in organized groups.
Trend #2. Seniors are unstoppable
What Fair called the ?unstoppable elders? are estimated to comprise 1.3 billion to 1.6 billion people worldwide.
Customer service is crucial to this group, and they ?show higher levels of frustration that result in zero tolerance for poor service,? he added.
?Seniors are not only the world?s wealthiest group, they are also the most demanding of travelers,? said Fair.
This group travels primarily for rest and relaxation on either short- or long-stay trips, and they favor quieter, less congested destinations, according to Fair.
Trend #3. Rise of conspicuous leisure
Another key trend is what Fair called ?conspicuous leisure,? which he defined as ?the signaling of social status through consumption of experience rather than through consumer goods.?
?Unique experiences, and not just for the affluent, are social currency,? he said. The preponderance of social media ? and with it the widespread sharing of vacation photos with friends, families and colleagues ? has fostered the trend.
Fair said the top five goods and experiences desired by the affluent are:
??? ?owning a smartphone
??? ?owning a vacation home
??? ?having the freedom to work from home
??? ?taking vacations to exotic destinations
??? ?taking extended time off from work
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