US travel trends to watch out for this year

It's fair to say that the world has entertained more than its usual interest in American affairs over the past year, so our keen interest in the travel trends that are set to make their mark on the US market should come as no surprise.

Here are the latest trends to affect the US market, and the areas in which we expect to see key advancements over the coming months:

1. The rise of A.I.

Despite the ominous sound of this trend, the robots are a long way off from taking over. However, artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to become a reality in the travel industry this year, building on the foundations that Siri and Google's AI personal assistant have laid. Expect travel brands to implement real-time messaging platforms and personalised automation technology; look out for travel app, Lola, which enables users to make bookings on the go as well as Expedia's AI customer service platform.

2. Sustainable travel

With the United Nations declaring 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Travel, we expect to see a boost to the ecotourism market with travel businesses looking for ways they can demonstrate responsible, eco-minded practices. This heightened awareness may mean that marketing destinations that will gain the most benefit from tourism will connect with consumers over the coming months.

3. River cruising is on the up

River cruising is booming at the moment and we can't see it slowing. There is a particular focus on exotic river cruising destinations – the sort of places that consumers are looking to tick off their bucket list. So, as well as the classic Danube and Rhine bookings, we are expecting to see more varied routes such as the Chobe in South Africa take the limelight.

4. Loyal 'big spenders' will reap rewards

With the top US legacy carriers – American, Delta and United – switching their loyalty programmes to reward according to spend rather than distance, it's clear that big spenders will be the ones who can expect rewards this year.

5. Cuba tourism will continue to rise

Seeing as US commercial planes have launched routes to Havana for the first time in over half a century and big names like Marriott and Carnival are extending their services to Cuban shores, this island has become hot property amongst US consumers – a trend which is set to continue.

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