Travel Trends 2020: Industry Forecast

Travel industry trends change almost as often as rates on hotels or airfare. This past year, we at Sky Bird saw the predicted trends of 2019 develop into the norm. We’re now eager to see what 2020 has in store for us, our customers, and their customers as we prepare for the New Year.

Some trends from our 2019 list are continuing to be a hot topic of 2020. These trends include:

 Our Favorite of the Trends

tourism office entry sign

This past year saw an increase in bookings done through travel agents and travel offices. Your industry knowledge and the fact that it is your job to know the trends and destinations people are (and are not) traveling to are valuable to your customers. They want to work with you simply because they don’t want to take the time to figure all of this information out themselves.

 Ecotourism

Concern and awareness for the environment is more of an expectation than a trend these days, but glossing over its non-stop developments quickly removes one from “the know”, which is where you want to be in this industry. Travelers are just as interested in sustainability practices of a certain hotel as they are in whether or not said hotel offers free continental breakfast. People are more conscious of their own carbon footprint and want to reduce it as much as possible. This motivation is also the reason why train travel is becoming more popular.

 “Undertourism” or “Second City Tourism” Trends

The mouthful that was “Off-the-beaten-path Tourism” has been compressed into either of these less vocally strenuous titles. Regardless of preference, “Undertourism” and “Second City Travel” refer to the trend of travelers requesting “less touristy” destinations for their 2020 getaways. This is where a travel agent’s global expertise shines! You can recommend places that don’t have a constant traffic, but still deliver the experience you clients seek. If you are unfamiliar with less-visited destinations, use Sky Bird’s itinerary planning services to deliver a tour that “wows” your clients. You can even take all the credit. We don’t mind.

Solo Travel

trends - travelers chatting in shared social space
Some lodging includes shared social spaces that let solo travelers interact with one another.

Although this trend has been on our radar for a couple years, new opportunities and characteristics are developing. Increased interest in lodging that allows travelers to share a space with others urges travel agents to review apartments, upscale hostels, or Airbnb’s with shared social spaces. People value interacting with and learning from others who are also traveling. Plus, these boutique lodging options allow residents a more intimate experience of the culture. 

Chatbots and Robots

Chatbots (or chatboxes) and robots are still trending and this doesn’t surprise us. It’s fascinating technology, and there is plenty of room for development beyond what they currently are. Their capability to absorb, store, and organize more information than us humans has given both chatbots and robots pivotal roles in hospitality. Read more about this technology in our blog post, Travel Trend 2019: Tech in Travel (link).

And Here Are Some New Trends:

Pet Travel

Trends - dog laying in suitcase
Are your clients traveling with pets? Look for lodging that accommodates their furry friends.

More pet owners are opting to include their furry best friend in their travels. Educating yourself on the rules airlines have when it comes to traveling with pets is a beneficial asset to your knowledge base in 2020. This trend also requires pet policy research when seeking lodging for your clients. Crafting an itinerary that prioritizes what is important to your customers builds trust. Make sure Fido is equally accommodated and you will certainly earn repeat business.

Micro Vacations

“Lack of time” is a modern epidemic that sadly increases each year; however, people aren’t allowing it to thwart their right to travel. Micro vacations are short getaways that generally last 2-4 days. These trips can be done on weekends, short or long, without sacrificing saved vacation days. Depending on what your client’s goals are, travel agents can expertly design an itinerary of complete relaxation or an itinerary that includes scads of sights and attractions packed into a 2-day period.

In a similar vein, travelers who are booked on a long-haul flight are curious about stopover opportunities. If your clients’ route to Nice has a long layover in Amsterdam, we would be shocked to learn they would rather spend that time at AMS than seize the chance to experience one of the world’s most charming cities. Sky Bird is experienced in packing the most into a short stopover. Don’t hesitate to call!

“Ancestral Tourism” or “DNA Trips”

This intriguing new category branches from the growing interest in genealogy. Many have splurged on services that trace ancestry and map heritage. Now, people want to visit the places where their great, great, great grandparents grew up. Tours centered on ancestral tourism are emerging. It is also a platform to develop a deeper connection with your clients as you learn more about their personal culture. As a travel agent who has a broader familiarity with places, you may even be able to provide extra insight.

Update: May 2020

As a travel agent, you’ve undoubtedly seen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel industry. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to make sure your clients’ vacations, religious pilgrimages, and business trips are protected. We’ve partnered with Consumers Advocate to provide you with an in-depth, comprehensive look at travel insurance. You’ll find detailed explanations on topics like the current pandemic, what your clients should do if they need to file a claim, and also highlight things to watch out for in the fine print of the policies.  Check out their awesome guide here!

We look forward to experiencing these trends in this ever-transforming industry. If you are looking to grow your business, register with Sky Bird to stay up-to-date along with us.

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