A few months ago I was honored to be invited to become a member of Travel Insights 100, a panel of 100 travel experts that included activists, traditional media, independent travelers, and airline and hotel experts who have banded together to monitor travel insights and trends and share that information across the travel industry. Participants, who were hand selected by the folks at UpTake.com (the travel search engine that helps travelers decide where to go, where to stay, or what to do) were recently surveyed about their predictions for travel during the upcoming year.
Responses covered a wide range of issues, but several trends were evident. The following were the most oft repeated predictions; it will be interesting to track the insights to see if they come to pass in 2010:
- Travel will begin to recover in 2010, driven in part by a pent-up demand from those who have put off traveling due to economic concerns, but travelers will continue to focus on discounts and promotional pricing. Most believe that discount airlines, hostels, and budget hotel chains will be the big beneficiary of this trend.
- Several panel members believe that travelers will drive rather than fly whenever possible, as the airlines increase security measures and add-on fees. Many predict that airlines will continue to introduce new add-on fees in an attempt to squeeze the last penny out of the traveler, and one respondent predicts this will result in the government stepping in to regulate the practice.
- Social media (Twitter in particular) will continue to reshape how destinations are promoted and companies will increase their participation in and creative use of social media.
- With the world becoming an ever smaller place, there are no longer any “undiscovered” destinations, yet travelers increasingly desire authentic travel experiences. Most panel members believe this will result in an increase in cultural based tourism, home stays, eco tourism, and volunteer travel.
An in a more humorous vein, participants gave us their dumbest moments in travel during the past year: Continue reading