Updated: Sep 28
Travel trends come and go as do hot destinations and secret, budget locations. Goat Yoga seems to be on the out, and it probably should be. It was fun, and silly, but not all of us are keen on Yoga as much as the goats.
There are travel trends now that are gaining a lot of steam and appear that they will stick around with the potential to change how we travel.
Amazing Travel Trends for 2020:
Augmented Attractions & Virtual Reality Experiences
Armchair travel is upon us as we can visit the Arctic and mingle with Polar Bears or experience the Day of the Dead Festivities in Mexico City - all within the comfort of our home with the power of 360 Virtual Reality Headsets.
But travel sites are taking it one step further than simply a virtual vacation. How about an immersive experience where you see The Battle at Little Big Horn unfold on your phone or tablet when you swing it around the actual landscape, or learn about different animals when your phone or tablet locates them in the jungle canopy of Costa Rica's forests.
For travellers this is a rewarding and enriching experience where history, culture and knowledge will enhance our travels. For example, The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn, a British resort, made augmented reality compatible with the wall maps it places in hotel rooms.
Augmented reality, or AR, is a digital technology, which makes changes to a person’s perception of their physical surroundings, when viewed through a particular device. The technology has similarities with virtual reality, but AR does not replace the real-world environment, but augments it by overlaying digital components.
To date, perhaps the most notable example of an augmented reality app is Pokemon Go, but travel and tourism marketers and businesses are looking into expanding into VR and Augmented Reality in a big way in 2020.
We have been using Virtual Reality since we began this website offering some of our travel destination guides as 360 VR tours, an example of which can be found below. You don't need a VR headset (although it does enhance the experience). Simply use your mouse and move the video around to any point you want to view.
Beacon Technology & Push Notifications
Some will find this new technology a convenience and this is now being implemented across many tourist sites, hotels and airports. Using Bluetooth technology, imagine opening your hotel room using your phone, or finding a parking space easily in a busy mall parking lot.
Push notifications will allow you to see if a museum has a special discount, alert you that a table is free at a restaurant, or provide you with transportation availability such as a taxi.
Some people think push notifications will be too intrusive, meaning they will advertise you sales and items for sale beeping constantly, and we think some retailers might do this, but it would be up to you to allow or deny such notifications and if they do become so bothersome, users will quickly learn to ignore these techniques. Useful information like the ones we stated above will be more effective at providing the traveler with information to enhance their experiences.
Robots & AI Travel Enhancements
Automation and robots are the future of many industries and travel is no exception. Already we have seen robots with enhanced AI implemented in travel and tourism.
The Henn-na Hotel is recognized as the world’s first robot-staffed hotel, with robots being used on the front desk, as customer information points and for storage purposes, making use of voice, facial recognition and AI technology.
Hilton deployed robot technology in the form of Connie, an artificially intelligent concierge, developed in collaboration with IBM. Connie is able to interact with visitors, using speech recognition technology to respond to their queries. It also learns from each interaction, meaning the more it is used, the better its responses will be in the future.
Tired of carry-on and suitcases? How about a robotic suitcase the simply follows you around? The suitcase is able to follow its owner around autonomously, utilizing collision detection technology and 360 degree turning capabilities, removing the need to carry the case.
Hotels and airports are deploying robotic assistants to fundamentally change customer service. Tourists can ask the robotic assistants questions, find out information and even get them to perform key tasks, like room service. Many of these robotic assistants are also able to understand and communicate in multiple languages.
According to Booking.com we will see a lot of amazing trends in travel in 2020:
The Rise of the ‘Second City’ Traveller
Second-city travel, meaning the exploration of lesser known destinations in a bid to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take a leap forward in the year ahead.
Over half (54%) of global travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 51% would swap their original destination for a lesser known but similar alternative if they knew it’d leave less of an environmental impact. And to pique their interest, 60% of global travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.
Expect to see companies respond to this demand by introducing functions that make it easier for travellers to identify second-city/neighbourhood destinations through understanding traveller's trip preferences and matching these with alternative or lesser known destinations in their chosen country or region. Likewise increasing collaboration across the travel eco-system will see more awareness campaigns and infrastructure improvement drives to entice visitors to take the road less travelled.
Slo-Mo is the New FOMO
Instead of experiencing the constant fear of missing out (FOMO) and trying to speed through as much as possible, travel in 2020 will be all about taking it slow.
In 2020, almost half (48%) of travellers plan to take slower modes of transport to reduce their environmental impact and six in 10 (61%) would prefer to take a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. Types of transport that play into our desire to take the pace down a notch will also come into their own - from peddle bikes to trams, sleds and boats, as well as our own two feet.
In fact, over half (57%) of travellers already don't mind spending more time traveling to reach their destination if they’re taking a unique mode of transport. Likewise, 64% would be interested in feeling as if they are going back in time by taking a historical train journey (e.g. Flying Scotsman, Orient Express). Look forward to a year of slow and special travel.
Making Great Memories with ‘Grand’ Getaways
2020 will be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents will take epic vacations with just their grand kids, leaving the middle generation behind. Almost three-quarters (72%) of grandparents agree that spending time with their grand kids keeps them feeling young and 71% believe that parents need alone time without their children.
Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.