A report by the World Travel Market has identified a number of predictions it says will take the industry by storm over the coming months. In fact, 2015 looks like the year more travellers will be ditching fine-dining restaurants in favour of meals cooked in private homes, using their smartwatches to plan holidays, and abandoning selfies for the more boastful 'braggies'. Want to find out more? Then read on for the report's top digital trend predictions for the global travel market.
Tuck in: Eat with the locals
The blazing success of peer-to-peer holiday rental sites such as Airbnb has spawned a variation on the same theme. This year, travellers looking for places to eat on holiday are bypassing restaurants and instead going online to seek out opportunities to dine with the locals. With slogans such as 'experience life like a local', these sites pair holiday-makers with home cooks to create the perfect culinary-social experience. Hosts can then be reviewed by their guests.
Stay connected: Wearables go mainstream
Wearable technology looks set to become increasingly important for today's techie traveller. These devices allow the wearer to stay constantly connected to the Internet and thus receive useful updates, information and notifications throughout their trip, as well as booking the trip in the first place. The challenge for travel businesses is how to create the right technological architecture that is flexible enough to switch from device to device as often as their customers do.
Braggies: The new selfies
Hotels have been swift in their adoption of social media strategies, and most have an active social media presence on multiple platforms. The most successful, however, are those drawing content from customers' online behaviour. One such trend is holidaymakers uploading photos of themselves within ten minutes of arriving at a hotel (essentially to brag to friends about where they are). Braggies might capture a hotel room bed, the view through a window or the hotel's setting. In response, hotels are offering incentives and rewards to encourage such behaviour.
Get the message: Travel bookings via IM
Instant messaging is something that is popular the world over. However, in Asia its popularity is particularly significant with the China-based WeChat boasting around 440 million active users. Never wanting to miss an opportunity, travel businesses have partnered with WeChat to tap into this audience base. For example one online travel agency is using it to sell tickets for flights, train journeys and attractions, while a low-cost airline allows customers to book tickets, check in, view flight information and contact customer services through IM.
Well, that's this year covered. Who knows what's to come in 2016 and beyond...