3 exciting travel trends for tour operators to watch in 2016

Last year we saw many travel trends on the rise, including the expansion of the sharing economy, innovations in wearable technology, and a takeover in mobile booking. As well as these remaining significant in 2016, we predict that the following trends in travel and tourism will be essential for tour operators to acknowledge, in order to spice up offerings to customers.

Big spenders

According to TripAdvisor’s travel insights, 33% of travellers plan to spend more in 2016 than last year. The reasons for this willingness to splash out range from a desire to improve their health and well-being, to simply knowing their families deserve it – hence a rise in demand for luxury travel and cruise, as ‘rest and relaxation’ remains a top travel motivator.

With travellers looking to get the most they can out of their trips, it’s time for tour operators to offer them more – with less limitations to consumer spending, there can be less limitations to extremity of tour packages, and these can be altered to appeal to the luxe traveller.

Hipster holidays

‘Hipster holidays’ are now transforming the landscape of the traditional European city break. Travellers are now looking to veer away from the popular tourist areas and stay in ‘edgier’ locations, such as District VII in Budapest, Kruezberg in Berlin and and Miera iela in Riga. According to WTM’s Trends Report, these hipsters are seeking out the eccentric cultural experiences such as pop-up restaurants, vegan cafes, and independent shops and craft galleries.

The phenomenon of the Hipster holiday is likely to change how people travel Europe in 2016, meaning tour operators should consider packages which consist of independent accommodation, and that take travellers off the beaten track.

Experiential travel is for everyone

Customers are increasingly demanding adventure travel, and trips that involve more exhilaration than the generic ‘relax by the beach’ holiday. People are aiming to cross things off their bucket list and challenge the boundaries of their comfort zone. This trend has been noticeably popular amongst Millennials and families, but Baby Boomers are now becoming more motivated towards adventurous travel.

It’s not just the travel itself that needs to be more adventurous; it’s also the marketing. For tour operators promoting their packages, it needs to be acknowledged that pictures are no longer enough; they need to be creative in reflecting the excitement of the experience.

With the travel industry becoming increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever for tour operators to find their niche. By considering these examples of what’s hot amongst travellers, tour operators can stay trendy, establish a speciality and stand out against competition.