Travel experience trends and other head scratchers

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In the second of a three-part blog series on travel tech, accommodation, co-living and co-working trends, Sean Worker of T5 strategies explores experiential travel.

According to Jenny Southan at Conde Nast, there's several emerging travel trends:

  • Space Tourism - More than 100 individuals have signed up on Virgin Galactic - beam me up, Scotty!
  • Nakations - It is exactly what you think - Naked holidays are in. A potential reaction to too much tech and urban living, expect to see more cruises, restaurants, hikes, canoeing, wild swimming and yoga; all textile free.
  • Vegan Hotels - It's expected several concepts could blend encouraging hotels that cater to personal choices such as vegan or carbon neutral. An example of a successful vegan hotel is Saorsa 1875 in the UK. We also see room for the emergence of hotels dedicated to espousing the social justice movement.
  • Ancestry Travel - According to MIT, more 26 million people have taken DNA tests and they're looking to explore their heritage and long-lost relatives (I am biased. I hope most visit Ireland to find their roots as my town, Galway, is the 2020 European Capital of Culture). As always, Airbnb is ahead of the curve and has partnered with 23andME to encourage travelers to find their cousins. Listen to this podcast for more insight on genealogical travel.
  • Luxury Bunks - This is not a new idea but finally someone is getting serious about using wasted space in hotel rooms. LifeHouse has multiple properties featuring upscale bunkbeds in Miami and Nantucket, and Brooklyn is soon to be launched. As the fight continues between the major hotel brands to develop a meaningful efficient hotel room, Hilton's Motto will have bunks, Marriot's Moxy appears to be getting in on the show as well as ACE and Freehand, plus hotels in Las Vegas such as The Linq are getting in on this trend. A shout out to our friends at Zoku who are visionaries and innovators as they developed stacked room concepts several years back - well done to the founders Marc Jongerius and Hans Meyer.

Not on Jenny's list, but a trend that T5 Strategies is following...

  • Travel Shaming - Responsible consumption and active environmental respect is trending. Direct to screen global communicators such as Greta Thunberg and others may feature or shame your product depending on how you participate. Brands that choose to ignore the trend may well be punished by travellers. Can you afford not to pivot and evolve?

Piers Brown, founder and CEO of IHM Media (Shorttermrentalz, Serviced Apartment Summit, Recharge & Urban Living Festival), said: "We see a travel shaming narrative emerging but maybe misconception of opportunity, don't think we've hit the green bubble phase just yet, "the grubble" - and will take longer to manifest itself."

T5's view

Who or what is changing the Game?

Vegan Hotels, environmentally sensitive travel, forest-bathing, nakations, sensitively designed hotel rooms and "luxury bunks" may not be for everybody, but these businesses may well be the start-ups of our time. In a world of heightened customisation, people want every increasingly more niche hotel brands that reflect their personality and value system.

The challenge is for all forms of travel and accommodation brands to find a way to interpret this trend. How will airlines and the airports deliver a less stressful passenger pathway? How will cruise ship operators destress the transfer from plane/train to cruise ship? European and Japanese train operators appear to have an edge in the high-speed category and still struggle with handling the daily commute. Surely hotel brands and operators can finally deliver a front deskless digital check-in across their portfolios to remove the ephemeral phrase "Checking-in"?

These trends may be a cry for relief from daily advertiser bombardment and negative media commentary… The "I need a break from all this" mindset is an opportunity for the travel, accommodation, experience and property industry to LISTEN and LEAD while generating NEW GEN jobs.

We think it's time to offer an environmentally and economically meaningful product that makes billions of potential paying clients happier!

Visit our sister site Short Term Rentalz to read parts one and three of the blog.

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