Future Travel Predictions from Booking.com

Booking.com has released findings of research that surveyed more than 20,000 travellers across 28 countries, including 499 from New Zealand, to reveal five predictions for the future of travel – in the coming year and beyond.  With few facets of our lives and world unchanged by the unparalleled impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel too will be forever re-shaped by this extraordinary moment in time.

Innovation within the travel industry will accelerate faster than ever to respond to marked shifts in travel expectations and behaviours. Travellers will look for a heightened level of travel safety and more sustainable travel offerings, while also looking to find new ways to blur the lines between work and travel.



With nearly half of New Zealand travellers agreeing they won’t be comfortable travelling until a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment is in place (46%), it may be a long time before we experience the world as freely as we did previously, but the industry will continue to adapt at pace, satiating our appetite to travel whenever it’s safe to do so.

BYE BYE 9 TO 5 The pandemic irrevocably altered our ability to work from anywhere – even holiday. No longer confined to five days a week in an office and desperate for a change of scene from Working From Home (WFH), we’ll see a significant rise in the “Workcation”. Nearly a third (32%) of travellers have already considered booking somewhere to stay in order to work from a different destination, while 44% would be willing to quarantine if they could work remotely. Travel platforms and places to stay will prioritise showcasing home office facilities and Wi-Fi speed in an attempt to attract this new wave of digital nomads.



SPONTECHNAITY  Tech innovation will play a crucial role in rebuilding traveller confidence. Already, 61% of travellers agree that technology will be important in controlling health risks when travelling and 56% say that accommodations will need to use the latest technologies to make travellers feel safe. The innovations coming next are predicted to bring even more change, with enhanced online experiences influencing future travel behaviour and planning. Three in ten (29%) of travellers would feel more comfortable about going to an unknown destination if they could scout it out beforehand by using virtual reality (VR).



SEARCH ESCAPISM While much travel may have been put on hold in 2020, dreams of far flung destinations have not. During weeks in lock-down, the overwhelming majority (95%) of travellers spent time looking for vacation inspiration, with over a third (34%) looking at potential travel destinations as often as once a week.

As restrictions continue to ebb and flow, Booking.com expects destinations and accommodations to come up with even more inventive ways to capitalise on travellers’ heightened desire to escape reality and connect them with the experiences that await – from accommodations revamping their social media presence by leveraging content created by influencers who visited pre lockdown, to local tourist boards creating inspiring Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) content to visually showcase the best these places have to offer.



IMPACT AWAKENING The impact Covid-19 has had on the environment will be inspiring more travellers to make more sustainable travel choices in 2021 but the onus will be on the travel industry with two-thirds (60%) of travellers expecting the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options. Travellers believe that the industry must adapt to this sustainable mindset for the long-term by offering more attractive off-season travel packages (54%) and proposing alternative destinations to prevent overcrowding (32%).



VITAL VALUE The financial legacy of Covid-19 will inevitably see people demand more bang for their buck in the future. 62% of travellers will be more price conscious when it comes to searching and planning a trip in the future and 52% are more likely to hunt down promotions and savings, behaviours that Booking.com predicts will last years.

But the value consumers expect will go beyond price tags with three-quarters (75%) stating they want travel booking platforms to increase their transparency about cancellation policies, refund processes and trip insurance options. And while the majority of travellers are keen to support the industry in its recovery (87%) and want their future bookings to help rebuild communities around the world (63%), they will expect a lot more from the travel industry in return.



Todd Lacey, Area Manager New Zealand at Booking.com comments: “In New Zealand, perhaps more so than many countries, the impact the pandemic has had on travel has been keenly felt. While the future of international travel remains uncertain, the ability to explore our own backyard continues to bring moments of joy and inspiration, whether through dreaming and planning, or cherishing the trips we have been able to take.

As we head into 2021, with our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience travel, we will be there for our customers offering the widest choice, great value and the easiest experience from anywhere and on any device so travellers can enjoy all of the unforgettable experiences New Zealand has to offer.”

For a deeper dive into Booking.com trends for the future of travel, including four additional predictions, visit:  https://www.booking.com/articles/category/future-of-travel.html


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