The world went through a true revolution in the past 20 years and it is continuing to change in a rhythm that was previously believed impossible. This is not only affecting the way we lead our everyday lives but also, it’s affecting all the industries from the economic sectors. Since Blueliner began working with clients from the travel and tourism industry more than 15 years ago, we decided to take a closer look at the trends that are shifting the way this industry operates. Here are 7 trends that are driving the travel and tourism industry forward in 2019:1. LUXURY TRAVEL The luxury travel market has witnessed substantial growth recently with vacationers having more disposable income and the tendency to look for unique and exotic holiday experiences. The main drivers of this growth are Generation X clients, who not only have more to spend on a vacation than a regular millennial but also tend to be more focused on an exclusive experience that they wouldn’t be able to get back home. Hotel chains have adapted and established higher-class accommodations with an increased level of personalization and holiday packages that include the best quality of services. 2. VIRTUAL TRAVEL EXPERIENCES Virtual reality has seen a rise in popularity in the past years and a lot of destinations are incorporating it in their marketing strategy and using virtual reality videos to attract visitors. Giving travelers a realistic experience of what their vacation destination has to offer helps them choose a location that is most appropriate to their lifestyle and activities. Hotels are now providing virtual reality videos of their rooms and amenities, travel agents and destinations use the videos to showcase the main attractions, including underwater ones. Hamilton Island created a video that integrates the whole island experience, beginning from the flight to the destination and ending with unique underwater experiences. 3. SOLO TRAVEL Another significant change in the travel industry is the increase in solo travelers. According to a 2018 study from Hostelword, there has been a 42% increase in solo traveler booking since 2015 with a noticeable change seen in solo female travelers. A lot of people love solo travel for the complete freedom that comes with it, but also the challenge, confidence, and strength that traveling by yourself brings. The appearance of hostels and co-living spaces focused on creating a modern commune-style living space have also made traveling solo easier and safer for vacationers. 4. TRAVEL FOR THE EXPERIENCE Today’s travelers are no longer looking for the once-beloved by everyone “all-inclusive experience”. Vacationers now try to engage with the local culture, meet and talk with locals, and familiarize themselves with local cuisine. Platforms like Homestay and Lingoo offer support in booking a stay with a host family who can offer a truly authentic experience, whether it’s discovering a lesser known attraction or attending local events.5. VOICE TECHNOLOGY The use of voice technology has grown significantly in the past years with industries such as banking, finance, and retail implementing voice-activated solutions. A lot of hotels are now adding voice-activated devices in their rooms in order to provide customers with a more personalized experience, making it possible to order room-service and adjust room settings such as light or heating. Guests can also use the devices to find out popular nearby attractions, book a taxi or even a guided tour. For those concerned about privacy issues associated with voice-activated devices, there are several solutions that are being implemented, such as deleting the recorded interactions once per day, clearing the devices remotely, or simply turning them on just when they are needed. 6. INFLUENCER MARKETING Instagram has not only become a trend guide for fashion, lifestyle, and health, but also for tourism. People tend to look at influencers as the more trustworthy alternative to the usual ads and follow their advice on travel destinations, accommodations, and even airlines. That’s why many hotels, travel agencies, and businesses from the tourism sector have started integrating influencer marketing into their marketing strategies. Besides a boost in sales, businesses also get increased credibility and awareness and even reach new audiences with the help of influencers. 7. SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL The topic of the environment and sustainability has been part of a global conversation for many years. We are now constantly hearing about efforts being made to preserve Earth’s resources and to positively impact the environment. The way people travel is changing, and while looking for personalized and unique experiences, travelers have decided to try to minimize the impact of travel in the process. Whether it’s choosing to rent an electric car to diminish CO2 emissions, avoiding the use of disposable plastic products, or supporting social causes in your destination, each individual effort is important. DON’T FORGET ABOUT SEO While it’s important to keep all these trends in mind, it’s also worth noting that most vacationers use search engines to conduct initial research, find accommodations, and book tickets, so investing in optimizing your business for search is a must for all those who want to be on the radar of potential visitors. If you need assistance with any of the above areas, get in touch with us today! We’re always eager to talk shop, share our years of wisdom growing some of the world’s most luxurious travel brands, and help bring your business to new heights through excellent digital marketing.