In a recent Benchmark Hospitality study they announce 10 top trends in among the travel industry. The study used their database of professional travel agents, who surveyed over 20,000 domestic and international travel professionals on leisure and business travel in 2014.
Their top 10 findings are summarized below with one more we found important to mention:
1. Strong growth for travel: 8 of 10 travel agents are highly upbeat about 2014 and beyond.
2. Leisure is the new leader: Aided by technological advances, work and leisure travel lines are blurring. Executives are commonly bringing work with them on family and romantic getaways. Nearly 75% of growth falls into the leisure category and 50% within the luxury segment.
3. Direct bookings: Travel agents continue to lose business to customers increasingly bypassing agents and booking directly.
4. Beaches rock: Agents are finally seeing uptick in domestic beach-related travel with near 50% in Hawaii. The other 50% in European beaches, and the remaining few heading to Caribbean and South American beaches.
5. Boomers spend big: Nearly 60% of bookings were guests from the Baby Boomer generation, followed by Seniors and GenX both with about 15% of bookings. Millennials lag accounting for only 9% of travel expenditures.
6. Online reviews: 80% of agents say we’ve only just begun to see the effects of online reviews and over 50% of agents use online reviews to help determine customer booking decisions.
7. Free Internet rules: While location is the #1 feature, #2 is access to free Wi-Fi. Free Internet still wins over free parking, spa services, etc.
8. Websites work: Attractive, appealing, and user-friendly websites with direct booking options generate reservations, and agents use this method over 30% of the time for making reservations for their customers.
9. Mobile shift: Agents report that access to travel deals via mobile devices wherever and whenever have changed the industry. They recommend hotels websites be relevant, brief, legible, and formatted for ease of use.
10. The value is in the details: Upkeep basic amenities like carpets and paint, and don’t neglect keeping rooms and water glasses clean. There’s no easier way to keep guests happy and reviews flowing than cleanliness and friendliness.
11. Tiered Wi-Fi is winning: Although free Wi-Fi continues to be a hot topic, tiered Wi-Fi is just as valuable according to a recent HotelNewsNow.com article. More and more brands are offering it because more and more guests request it.
What travel trends do you see for the year ahead?