As one of the biggest markets in the world, the travel industry – like the timeshare industry – is ever-growing and ever-changing. From balloon trips and camping in Africa to social media and voluntary trips, we bring you eight emerging holiday trends to look out for in 2014.
1. Bespoke Travel
A growing number of holidaymakers are looking for more “experience holidays” as opposed to the classic fly-and-flop by the pool vacation. There has been a marked rise in adventure holidays over the past couple of years, such as ballooning over the Egyptian pyramids, or African safari breaks (game lodges and vineyard escapes in South Africa are particularly popular with timeshare owners). Increasingly, travellers are booking more luxurious ‘bespoke’ trips, creating tailor-made experiences to suit them.
2. Prepare for the Chinese Traveller
China’s outbound travellers are the top international tourism spenders, so foreign tourist boards and holiday operators are naturally keen to impress them. However, to accommodate any culture requires education, patience and understanding, so companies must be prepared to adapt to their new tourists by researching and training staff.
3. The Importance of a Good Review
A holiday is a rare chance to rest and recharge and travellers expect to be wowed, particularly when staying in luxury resorts. In the days of social media and smart phones, disappointing reviews can spread like wildfire, with sites like Tripadvisor still as influential as ever.
4. Be Social
This times into number 3. The use of social media globally is escalating, with Twitter one of the fastest growing platforms out there. Positive peer recommendations still carry a lot of clout, while for resorts, a Twitter feed, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram are all extremely useful and pretty powerful ways to enhance their brand image and announce special offers in “real time” as well as announcing news and new destinations.
5. “Naff” tourism websites
With more travel sites around than ever, the online marketplace has never been more competitive. Sites that get it right will dominate, while sites with a limited offering – unless they specialise in a travel or leisure “niche” – will probably find it hard to survive. Consumers want visuals, full information and easy, secure ways of booking.
6. Volunteering Abroad
There’s been a huge boom in ‘voluntourism’ opportunities in the last few years. So much so that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for tourists to work out which ones will actually help people in need. Firms now have to work harder to prove they are genuinely offering something which can make a difference.
7. Going Green
Sustainable tourism continues to grow. Today’s tourists are environmentally-savvy and want to see genuine sustainability and socio-environmental integration. Simply asking them to re-use towels is no longer enough, so consider investing in solar power, rain collection and local community involvement.
One of the growing trends we are seeing is the “farm-to-table” approach where resorts turn to farming right on site, sectioning off part of a property for sustainable growing – and in many cases letting guests take part.
8. Which will be the hot spots for 2014?
Timeshare favourites Spain, France and Italy look set to dominate, and with Greece now recovering from its economic woes, the Greek Islands will probably be one of the favourite spring and summer destinations for 2014. Egypt and Tunisia will have to work harder to attract some tourists wary of recent events, while the Moroccan tourist board has pledged to double the number of UK visitors to the country by 2016, encouraging them to visit destinations such as kite surf capital Essaouira and Ouarzazate, near the Sahara, as well as the usual choices, Agadir and Marrakech.