Going places: DIY travel industry trends 2019
As summer draws to an end, we pause to look ahead to what the travel industry has in store for active holidays during 2019.
2018 saw the experience economy flourish, as affluent holidaymakers aimed to notch up Instagrammable ‘social currency’ or generate awe-inspiring memories. Driven by a desire to experience more and live-in-the-moment – immersive experiences were at an all-time high.
Two distinct ‘millennial’ camps emerged:
- parents keen to maintain a stronghold on their experience-driven values
- cash-rich individuals/couples with no family ties.
Both seek authenticity, adventure and an alternative to the package holiday.
Culturally fulfilling, unique experiences are taking precedence with only 3% of ‘millennials’ identifying ‘partying’ as a key influence. Demand grows for shorter trips with 2,3, 4 and 7 night breaks on the rise as two-week holidays dwindle.
Low cost, long-haul flights open up the travel industry market, however, the collapse of Icelandic airline Primera Air casts doubt on this business model. Brexit saw the pound drop in value against the Euro with British travellers reaping more bang for their buck in destinations such as Argentina, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Turkey.
We want it all: the rise of DIY holidays
We see an increase in tailor-made holidays suiting a variety of niche passions.
Airbnb allows tourists to wake up in a space that feels authentic. It’s easier than ever to enrol in a short yoga or meditation course during a break. Local culinary experts share their knowledge of local fayre through one-to-one cookery classes.
Summer holidays are the best time to learn a new skill and with after-school classes costing so much, there’s a real attraction for any travel industry provider that can tie in an alternative to the summer camp into a wider family holiday option.
Sailing holidays are becoming a more attractive proposition as they meet the demands of the ambitious explorer. On the one hand, there is Sunsail that offers adventure, culture, culinary experiences, diving activities, fishing and wildlife for a variety of different traveller segments such as families, groups of friends or couples – all whilst exploring the worldwide destinations on a yacht. This kind of holiday is also suiting the younger groups who are attending summer music festivals in the likes of Croatia and then combining it with a flotilla sailing holiday, allowing them to share their experiences with like-minded people.
On the other hand, you have the likes of Kraken Travel that offers seafarers the chance to charter superyachts and schooners for head to head racing at the Morgan Cup or circumnavigating their own Arctic Adventure – fulfilling the rising number of high flying business executives who have a penchant to set sail on the high seas and the bank balance to pay for a 3-6 month stint away from home.
Micro Adventures are growing in popularity in the travel industry, providing active breaks over shorter lengths of around 5 days – perfect for those who want to dip their toes without committing to anything too extreme. Whereabouts Holidays will let you fat bike across the ice roads and nature reserves of Sweden’s Bothnian archipelago in search of the Northern Lights. Pair this with bolt-on activities such as ice skating, dog sledging and specialist dining packages.
For those looking to shape up on their week off, Exodus Travel offers a week in Morocco with a personal trainer. From day trekking in the Atlas mountains to cycling along the Atlantic coast, this trip promises high-intensity cardio training paired with an exploration of this captivating location.
The rise of life-changing unique experiences
New frontiers are being explored in the travel industry with exclusive packages designed to transport adventurous travellers to far-flung corners of the globe.
Travel bloggers capitalise on their personal experiences by morphing into service providers – Another World Adventures provide inspiration and insight straight from the horse’s mouth. There’s something more convincing about booking a holiday through real travel stories.
Travel company Amazing Escapes takes ‘flash-packing’ to a whole new level crafting the unexpected. Think George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces meets Planet Earth – custom designed luxury pop up camps in extraordinary locations. Green technology ensures an environmentally sound holiday dwelling combined with an outlet for personal creativity.
No desire is too far out – Amazing Spaces grants the creative freedom to design one’s own immersive experience – recreating a Bollywood event on a remote island in the Maldives or a buggy expedition through the Bolivian. Want to live like a Nomad for a week? Then look no further.
Quark’s Antarctic voyages offer once-in-a-lifetime expeditions to the biodiverse regions of the Arctic and Antarctic with optional bolt-on adventure activities such as mountaineering, or paddle boarding. Eco-tourists are inspired by talks from scientists, whilst budding photographers should check out their Photography Series cruises.
Taking immersive experiences one step further is the controversial rise of Dark Tourism in the travel industry. Brought to attention through Netflix’s ‘Dark Tourist’, the eight-part series investigates holidays at locations associated with tragedy, death and destruction. Despite being a moral minefield, dark tourism is a fast-growing sector.
Building a better me
Millennials, disenfranchised with the ‘work-hard, play hard’ ethic are seeking balance before ‘burn out’ with 43%’ planning on leaving their jobs within two years. 61% of Gen Z share the same idea. (Deloitte, 2018)
These generations aren’t any less motivated, they’re simply becoming more aware of their personal health and well-being. With economic uncertainty at an all-time high, the workforce can no longer rely on an employer to see them through their career.
A study of 2,000 UK adults by British Airways showed that one-third of workers didn’t use up their annual leave in 2017 and almost 70% of those didn’t take a 2-week break. Considering it takes 8 days to unwind properly, it’s no wonder that the nation is burning out.
Enter the ‘Jobbymoon’. The opposite to a ‘Bleisure’ trip which combines business with leisure, the Jobbymoon provides some inspirational time-out in an environment far away from the daily slog. A cross between the post-degree ‘year-out’ and a sabbatical, the Jobbymoon is essentially a holiday between jobs.
This holiday trend is all about disconnecting and redefining what’s important in life. Time, location and activities will depend on budget and personal taste, however, the key focus is to rebalance and immerse oneself in personal passions that normally get pushed to the side.
Indeed, getting off the grid can also be important – a trend influenced by today’s fast-moving society where the mobile phone is ubiquitous. In an ‘always on’ world, switching off is key to re-energising. Host Unusual offers UK based retreats for the ultimate digital detox.
So how does the travel industry relate all this to launch?
Only 3% of travel launches are remembered according to our most recent launch marketing report. In order to stand out, Travel providers launching a new product should aim to fulfil passion need states as well as balancing the mind, body and spirit – understanding that choice is key, whether it’s an action-packed long weekend, culturally fulfilling week or more likely, a blend of the two.
Understanding need states and drivers across different audiences will help any travel provider carve their own space in the market plus create the cut through required in this highly competitive market.
By Colin Clark
Head of Strategy Planning