6 Top Travel & Tour Trends to Watch Out in 2021
COVID-19 brought the travel and hospitality industry to a screeching halt last year. For most of 2020, both international and domestic travelling witnessed a sharp decline. Similarly, hotels, resorts, and popular tourist sites remained deserted even during peak seasons. For 2021, things will hopefully pan out differently because we have now have approved and tested COVID-19 vaccines.
This positive development has already shown its effect on the travel and tour industry, where a significant uptick has been recorded in advance bookings. If you operate a travel agency, you must have noticed that uptrend in the last few weeks. Since the pandemic is still not completely over and 2020 has left its strong imprint on our collective conscious, the travel and tour trends for 2021 will be different than what we are used to seeing every year.
Here, we will outline some of the potential trends that will continue to rule the travelling world this year. As a travel operator, you should be aware of those budding trends so that you can serve your clientele accordingly.
Pleasure Flights— Travel to Nowhere
The concept of recreational flights is not new for aerophiles who just love to be in the air without caring about the destination. However, the pandemic has pulled it out of the fringe and made it somewhat mainstream. During lockdowns and amid thousands of cancelled flights, some airlines decided to put their empty and available aeroplanes to good use and started pleasure flights.
The concept of these flights is pretty simple: offer aerial sightseeing to passengers on a multi-hour flight and serve them 3-star-Michelin-grade foods and drinks. Some airlines in the Asia-Pacific region have started these flights. This year more airlines may catch up to that trend. Apart from aerophiles, travellers who want to remain cautious about going to crowded places will also love to try those pleasure flights.
Travel agencies should keep track of all such offers by their carrier partners. If their affiliated airlines offer any such package, they should proactively promote them by highlighting their safe and sound nature and leisure quotient.
It is now a running gag that people tour and travel just to post it online. There is no denying that most of us refuse to forget and forgo our social media during travelling. The continuous buzzing and tinkering of notifications from different apps and focusing on taking pictures and uploading them on different platforms— the highly intrusive screen use dilutes the immersive nature of travelling.
Many travellers have realized how phones are taking real-time fun out of their tours. This realization has given birth to a new movement called “offline travelling.” This type of travelling encourages travellers and tourists to keep their itineraries free of internet use. It can help travellers engross themselves at the moment and kill (or diminish) their urge to check cell phones after every other second.
To devise an offline travel plan for your target market, choose a place that is safe to visit, boasts scenic landscape, and where the internet is not easily accessible. People mulling over going on an offline journey would love to use a readymade travel plan.
No-Fee Changes and Replacements
There was a time when changing flight and hotel booking dates would cost consumers quite a sum. The pandemic has changed that practice as well. Many airlines and hotels have started offering no-free replacements, changes, and extensions to lure more consumers. Some of them (e.g. Delta Air Lines) has made these no-fee booking adjustments permanent. We think that this year more travellers will expect this flexibility, and airlines and hotels might have to budge.
Make sure that your consumers are aware of such no-fee offers if any of your affiliated vendors offer them. In fact, highlight them to make your tour offers more attractive.
Low/No Footprint Travel
The term eco-friendly travelling has been around for a while now. It is now gradually taking the shape of no or low footprint travel. Travellers planning low/no footprint travel have to ensure that their journey leaves the least carbon trail in the environment. This eco-friendly tour includes covering long distances through low-carbon-emission travelling means, scaling short distances on foot and bikes, staying in tents and camps, using reusable and sustainable accessories, and eating locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains.
It is virtually impossible to devise and offer a no footprint travel plan. However, you can certainly arrange a low-footprint trip for all your eco-conscious clients.
There is nothing new about campervan trips. However, they have taken a backseat in the last two decades or so. Industry experts believe that the campervan outings are about to make a strong comeback for multiple reasons. To begin with, many people will still avoid crowded places and prefer to go to secluded places full of natural aesthetics. Moreover, domestic travelling has been on the rise in the last couple of years, and campervan trips are one of the best ways to travel countrywide and make the most of your leisure time.
Cabin and Cottages
Airbnb has already captured the imagination of all those travellers who like to have a home-like accommodation while travelling. This tendency is now transforming and taking the shape of a new trend where travellers like to book small cabins and cottages at their destinations. Many tourists are willing to pay more for a cosy cottage than an overpriced hotel suite.
We think more people will prefer those intimate cabin and cottage accommodation over hotels this year. You should find those cabin and cottage options at your operational destinations and make them part of your tour plans to attract all those travellers who are done with conventional hotel stays.
While keeping up with the travel and tour trends for 2021, it is also important to embrace the latest travel technologies. To leverage the most recent travel technologies and digital infrastructure, get in touch with TravnetTech. From a travel management system to travel back office and marketing automation, we can help you with all the digital resources your travel business needs.