The ways in which people are travelling and the factors involved in travel decisions are changing significantly, according to a study by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) which examined how consumers' travel and lifestyle habits are changing.
The resulting trends summary examined the opinions of a diverse range of hospitality experts and travel commentators, and asked them what they thought were the main drivers of change that would influence travel trends during the coming year. The key trends uncovered fell into five main areas:
- Remapping: New global travel patterns impact local geographies
The remapping trend looks at how our travel and lifestyle patterns are changing and the impact this is having upon urban areas. For example, as we see the rise in populated areas outside of main city centres, smaller cities are being developed. Spas are more likely to be seen in an urban area now over a country retreat and we will see an increase in small communities around airports. 100 new airports will emerge by 2020 in China, while Dubai's World Central airport will house a golf course and the world's largest mall.
- Brain Spa: A desire to learn will influence destination decisions
Brain Spa looks at our growing appetite to expand and keep our intellect in good health - in fact we are prepared to travel for it. Forbes has tipped the market for goods and services that claim to enhance IQ as the next trillion dollar industry and Brain Fitness software is already worth US$265 million in the US. The market for goods and services responding to the new demand for mental stimulation is expected to grow between US$1 billion and US$5 billion by 2015.
- Demo-Luxury: Airport indulgences are at an all-time high
This trend looks at a new type of luxury: it no longer means high-cost but more 'everyday indulgence'. It looks at how brands are co-creating with customers to offer these indulgences and how we are much more prone to 'borrowing' and not 'buying' one-off luxury items. As airport turnover goes through the roof - one of these 'indulgences' has been identified as the increase in shopping at airports. Global airport retailing is now worth US$27.1 billion and is the second fastest growing channel of retail after e-tailing as many women prefer to travel light and shop at the airport.
- The Internet Of Things: Online buying in-flight and in-hotel
This trend looks at our relationship with the internet and how it will take on a new meaning in the future. It focuses on how the internet will slowly move out of conventional devices such as the mobile and move into less likely items like magazines, for example. We could soon be buying items in-flight and receiving them at our destination. Or, ordering food from our mobiles and it being ready on the restaurant table on arrival - and so the phenomenon 'from tablet to table' is born.
- People Play: Consumers will be loyal only if brands 'play nicely'
This trends looks at how sophisticated brands have become in order to continue to maintain customer loyalty. Game play has become a huge focus area as big brands adopt some of the principles of Facebook and Google. The total spend on loyalty-based game play applications is expected to rise to US$1.6 billion globally by 2015 as the war for brand loyalty moves up a gear in response to increasingly savvy consumers.
So what does the future hold for consumers when they travel? Well, we could all be travelling almost baggage-free by being able to rent our clothing and accessories from hotel lobbies, de-stress in special sleeping labs in hotels, and stimulate our minds through in-room brain spa menus. We could even be shopping from our mobiles by scanning codes from an in-flight magazine and have items delivered to any hotel at any destination. Almost anything seems possible.
The full report has been made available for viewing online - click here.