Speculation about who, how, when and what the future of travel will look like fills my inbox every day. Newsletters from every corner of the travel industry include surveys, articles and industry experts imagining what will happen next. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) published a report in collaboration with Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management consulting, this past September that summarizes four major trends they see in the Travel and Tourism space due to COVID-19. The first trend they identified was the changes in consumer and traveler demand, the other three will be covered in our next posts about the Future of Travel.
Demand evolution is consultant speak for “people’s preferences have changed”. It is no surprise that concern for one’s health and safety during a global pandemic has changed people’s motivations and preferences for how and where they travel. Here were the main trends they reported that caught our eye:
- People have a desire to travel closer to home due to restrictions on travel as well as the relative simplicity of nearby trips since you can drive (or bike) from your home. The trend appears to be continuing for people’s planning of trips later in 2020 and into 2021.
- There is a strong drive to discover outdoor and “off the beaten path” experiences. This is not only because of a desire to be away from crowds, but also from a realization that smaller and quieter activities and destinations might be more fulfilling. Of course, as being outside becomes “mainstream”, in leisure and travel, outdoor gear retailers can’t keep supplies in stock. If you’ve tried to purchase camping gear, an inflatable kayak, a paddle board, a bicycle, or any outdoor equipment, you know how precious these items have become.
- The drive to travel is still there and people are realizing how important travel is to them. In a Skyscanner survey 79% of respondents said they were more likely now to go to their dream destination once restrictions were lifted.
- People are taking longer trips when they do take a trip. Since there are fewer trips on people’s calendars, many trips tend to be 8 – 9 days which is up to 3 days longer than it used to be according to a CNBC analysis.
Here at ExperiencePlus! and Cycle Europe (our Italian company) we have seen these trends first hand. In Italy, Cycle Europe worked hard to find a niche and work with the local Italian market and so we popped up a website in Italian to rent our bicycles to people who wanted to explore the beautiful countryside that surrounds our headquarters. Needless to say it was a very different cycling season than what we planned but so far we have learned a lot.
Of course we love the trend towards outdoor experiences and off the beaten path travel. We are hopeful that those who have just started cycling will take their new hobby to the next level and seize the opportunity to explore the world by bicycle.
For the full report see: https://wttc.org/Research/To-Recovery-Beyond
See our other posts in the Future of Travel series.