Travelers in 2018 will rely more on artificial intelligence and digital technology before booking a trip, and will increasingly emphasize health and wellness during their stay, according to a study by Booking.com.
The study, which was based on customer insights from more than 1 million guest reviews as well as research from some 19,000 travelers across 26 countries around the world, resulted in eight major travel predictions for 2018. The predictions pertain to many types of travelers, including groups.
- Tech trip planning: Higher levels of tech trip planning are forecast for next year. Some 29 percent of global travelers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their personal history, and 50 percent don’t care whether arrangements are made by a person or a computer, as long as their questions are answered.
- Health and wellness: Some 20 percent of travelers plan to take health and wellness trips in 2018, compared with 10 percent in 2017. Walking and hiking are likely to be the top healthy activities, with 56 percent of travelers saying they plan to do one or the other.
- Financial considerations: Some 48 percent of travelers say they will think about the economic climate of a destination before making the decision to travel there, and 47 percent of travelers plan to take currency exchange rates into consideration
- Realizing dreams: Some 45 percent of travelers have a travel bucket list of destinations, and 82 percent of them will aim to visit one or more of them next year. The most popular items that travelers plan to tick off their bucket list are: visiting one of the wonders of the world (47 percent), trying a local food delicacy (35 percent), staying at an island paradise (34 percent), visiting a famous theme park (34 percent), experiencing a unique cultural event (28 percent), learning a new skill (27 percent), going on an epic road or rail journey (25 percent) and visiting a remote or challenging location (25 percent).
- Retro experiences: One-third of travelers say they are may visit a place they experienced as a child. Some 44 percent of millennials hope to travel back to destinations that were family favorites. Sixty percent of travelers intend to post on social media each day, which could result in many nostalgic places being spotlighted during the course of the year.
- Pop culture influence: Films, television shows and social media are likely to have a more significant impact on booking decisions. Some 39 percent of travelers get ideas from watching YouTube recommendations and 36 percent get them from television, film or music videos.
- Rental homes: Rental homes are expected to be popular, with 33 percent of travelers saying they would prefer to stay in one of them rather than a hotel, and 21 percent of those surveyed reporting that they would consider listing their home on a travel accommodation site. Some 25 percent of travelers say that it would be important for their host to have a strong knowledge about local food and places to visit.
- Companionship: When asked who their travel companions were likely to be, the segment showing the biggest increase from 2017 to 2018 was a group of friends, which increased from 21 to 25 percent.
Booking.com, which was established in Amsterdam in 1996, is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world.