2016 travel trends

What is motivating travel this year? How are travelers deciding what to do and where to stay? Will they spend more or less than they did in 2015? And what impact are their choices having on the travel industry as a whole? The latest TripBarometer from TripAdsvisor may offer some insight using some 44,000 responses from travelers and hoteliers around the globe.

Trend #1 – Seeking new experiences:

In the coming year, travelers of all ages will seek out things they haven’t tried before, from cruises to solo travel and more. Globally, 69% of travelers plan to try something new in 2016. One in five global travelers said they would try a cruise for the first time next year. Seventeen percent said they will try solo travel for the first time in 2016; 15% will try adventure travel for the first time.

Trend #2 – Spending more because it’s “worth it”:

Worldwide, travelers are open to spending more in 2016 than they have in the past—and not just because of rising costs. One in three travelers are planning to spend more in 2016 than they did in 2015. One in three travelers (33%) are planning to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did the previous year.

Among those who plan to increase their travel budget, 49% said they will do so because “because I or my family deserve it.”  A third said they would spend more on travel because “it’s important for my health and well-being.”

Trend #3 – Choosing destinations based on culture, special offers:

Today’s travelers choose destinations for a number of reasons, including special offers from accommodations. Globally, 47% of travelers say they have visited a destination because of the culture and people of the specific country. One in five travelers (21%) have chosen a destination because a hotel had a special offer or package.

Meanwhile, “TV tourism” is on the rise: one in five global travelers have visited a destination because they saw it on a TV show.

Trend #4 – Staying cool and connected:

Among the amenities that travelers will look for when they book an accommodation in 2016, air conditioning and WiFi stand out. Globally, 63% of travelers said air conditioning is a must-have when choosing a place to stay. That makes it more of a deal-breaker than breakfast (40%) or a swimming pool (26%).

Nearly half  (46%) said free in-room WiFi is a must-have amenity—meaning that, if an accommodation did not provide it, they would look elsewhere.

More than a quarter (26%) of travelers said that they require an accommodation that has super-fast WiFi; 11% are willing to pay extra for this service.

Trend #5 – Rising room rates (and optimism):

Many accommodations plan to raise their room rates next year, while the majority of hoteliers say they’re optimistic about profitability in 2016.

Three quarters of business owners surveyed marked optimism over profits in 2016.

Nearly half of hoteliers globally plan to increase room rates in 2016 (47%). Most accommodations are increasing rates to compensate for increased overhead costs (65%), although more than a third are increasing rates because of recently completed renovations (37%) or because of increased demand (35%). The majority of those who are optimistic over profits this year say it’s because of local events and conferences taking place in their markets next year (65%).

Some 91% of hoteliers see increasing direct bookings as key for the future of their business.

Trend #6 – Managing reputations online:

Online presence remains important: In 2016, businesses will be keeping a close eye on what people are saying about them on the web with 93% of hoteliers saying that online traveler reviews are important for the future of their business.

Online reputation management is still the biggest area of investment for accommodation owners in 2016, with 59% investing more in this area than they did the previous year.

Other findings:

Just 13% of participants said they will reduce their travel budget in 2016 and their reasons are predominantly financially driven. More than one-third stated their financial situation had changed. Nearly a third (31%) of Millennials surveyed say they have not saved enough money to travel and 30% expect to visit less expensive countries.

Two-thirds of travelers say they will book their vacation via online platforms. One in five Baby Boomers will book their accommodations offline and eight percent of Millennials will use mobile apps to book accommodations.

Price, habit and positive experiences guide travelers’ booking behaviors.