5 Travel Trends that Will Impact Meetings in 2017

The travel industry is always on the cutting edge of technology, discovering new ways to predict and adapt to consumers’ ever-changing preferences. Staying on top of the latest travel trends can be useful for meeting planners as well, since attendees’ shifting travel needs can impact planners’ decisions. Booking.com analyzed data, user reviews and other information to make 8 major travel predictions for the coming year.

1. Bleisure is gaining popularity.
The trend of mixing business and leisure travel was tempered in 2016, but it’s expected to get more popular in 2017. 46 percent of travelers surveyed by Booking.com expect to travel more for work in 2017 than they did in 2016. 49 percent of business travelers already extend business trips for leisure purposes, while 75 percent intend to do so next year.

2. Travelers are looking for new experiences.
Some would say that 2016 was the year of the experience. In the meetings industry, experiences were trending everywhere. From cultural immersion to outdoor adventures to virtual-reality and technology-powered ventures, attendees were hungry for memorable experiences they could write home about.

This trend is expected to continue in 2017, but with an emphasis on exploring undiscovered destinations, uncommon activities and once-in-a-lifetime encounters. 45 percent of survey respondents plan to be more daring in their choice of destinations in 2017, while 47 percent would like to visit a place none of their friends and family have been to.

3. Travelers want instant gratification.
According to the survey, 44 percent of travelers expect to be able to plan a trip with a few taps on their mobile phone, while 52 percent expect to increase their usage of travel apps in 2017.

Hotels are also embracing mobile apps in a big way, building more powerful apps that simplify mobile booking and check-in, allow guests to customize their experience during their stay and even providing destination information on attractions, dining and more, akin to a concierge or local travel guide.New developments in artificial intelligence, along with Google’s entrance into the travel apps market, mean these apps may soon be able to predict your needs and deliver solutions before you even ask for them.

Planners can anticipate an impact on the meetings industry as well. Attendees will expect greater functionality from mobile event apps, from mobile check-in to more powerful scheduling and networking tools.

4. Health and wellness is still on the rise.
Business travel can sometimes be draining and stressful, but new health and wellness offerings make it easier for planners to keep attendees in top shape. Travelers are more interested than ever in travel that promises relaxation. 44 percent are interested in spa and relaxation travel, while 38 percent would like to have a travel experience focused on health and wellbeing.

To meet the demand, top hotels are upgrading their spa offerings and adding amenities such as complementary meditation facilities, wellness workshops, in-room fitness options and outdoor exercise opportunities.

5. Travelers are demanding high-touch customer service.
In this age of ever more capable smartphones and artificial intelligence, people still crave the human touch. According to Booking.com’s survey, 42 percent of travelers would not choose an accommodation that lacked friendly and helpful staff. Human interaction is again becoming an important part of travel, with many hotels working on improving technology that allows booking through chat and messenger programs.

advertisement

Smart Meetings Related Posts