The travel industry is an ever-adapting beast. The past few years have been filled with industry disruptors that have shocked the industry. Industry players need to be one step ahead of travel trends and disruptors. They also need to know how individuals are traveling. Here are AllTheRooms’ top travel trends for 2017:
Upgrades will be easier to get (bots)
Cheap hotel suite hacks and bots that get you upgraded to first class for cheap. A travel agent will still be involved in the process, but the modern-day travel agent is no longer a human being but rather a bot.
Accommodations will be easier to book
Think of Amazon’s one-click purchasing but for an Airbnb or hotel room in Miami. The modern traveler is too busy for cluttered purchasing processes. Accommodation bookings will be simple and fast.
Travel will be personalized and proactive
Data is still king but content is queen. Target segments are now segments of one. Travelers want information that is specific and relevant to their individual needs. A business traveler has no interest in the needs of a backpacker. Players in the travel industry need to take on a proactive approach to selling their product to the individual traveler. Making personalized suggestions, customized searches, and channels providing individual communication strategies are ways to get ahead.
The industry will be more comprehensive
An infinite number of websites to find flights, accommodations, and on-ground transportation is overwhelming the modern traveler. Platforms will arise that will become the Google of travelers’ needs, combining all into one simple search. For example, AllTheRooms combines all accommodation sites into one simple, comprehensive, search.
Reputation will matter more
70% of Americans read peer reviews before making a purchase. This means, user reviews are rising in importance and the significance of the hotel-star-ranking system is decreasing.
Everyone’s an expert
The internet gives access to all the travel information that exists. This means, individuals no longer need to hire a travel agent to plan their trip for them or purchase a travel package. Travelers are becoming savvier; they do their research before they purchase and know how to find the best bang for their buck.
Airbnb will grow, as will its own backlash
The company has over 2 million listings in over 34,000 cities. Even for tech company standards, Airbnb has grown extremely fast. The California-based firm started just 8 years ago is now worth more than Hilton Hotels, with Airbnb’s most recent valuation of $30 billion.
With great growth, comes great backlash. New York City and San Francisco have been 2016’s centers of clashing in between Airbnb and authorities. In NYC, 30% of all Airbnb hosts have more than one property and 102 Airbnb hosts in the area have at least seven properties listed; making the argument that this is no longer a home-sharing platform but rather a transformation into the “corporatization” of Airbnb.
So what’s to come?
The most recent move in popular Airbnb cities in the US (New York, San Francisco, and Portland) is to impose a hotel tax on Airbnb. The implications if this passed in every city across the US? Airbnb owing $440 million in taxes.
The proactive approach from Airbnb? To create “home-sharing clubs” made up of hosts. With the purpose to share recommendations for plumbers and home repairs, they are definitely not discouraged from taking a political activism stance against more Airbnb regulations. There are currently 58 with the goal of creating over 100 worldwide. As the sharing-economy startup grows faster and faster, the backlash will complementary.
The hotel industry will adapt or perish to the sharing economy
Airbnb and other home sharing platforms are here to stay, and grow. If the hotel industry doesn’t adapt to the sharing economy and the new trends in accommodations, they’ll go out of style.
For example, Bermondsey Square Hotel in London allows Airbnb hosts within a one-mile radius of the hotel to access some of it’s features that solve some major pain points for Airbnb hosts. For example, hosts can use the hotel’s laundry and housekeeping service, front desk as a key drop pickup for visitors, and maintenance services.
Sharing economy – beyond Airbnb
Ride sharing and home sharing are growing with the “Airbnb effect”. Platforms like HomeExchange and RelayRides are expanding the travel industry so that individuals are now players, not just companies.