There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the entire hospitality and tourism sector.
For the past 2 years, every travel business has been focused on adapting to the new normal and redefining the game plan to move forward from the pandemic. It's hard to determine when travel will be back in full force, but one thing’s for sure: we can expect the future of tourism will look a bit different from how it was before.
As travel trends continue to evolve despite the pandemic, industry experts don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. Rather, it can be seen as an opportunity to transform the hospitality and tourism sector and build a future-proof business.
Continue reading below to get an idea of what's in store for the tourism industry in the coming years and what post-COVID-19 travel will probably look like!
1. Sustainability will take centre stage
Although sustainability is far from a new travel trend, it will be a primary consideration for many travellers in 2022 and beyond.
Among the many things that the pandemic did is thrust environmental and health issues into the forefront, focusing us to reflect on how we’ve been treating the environment. As people become more environmentally conscious, you can expect that tourists will look for ways to connect with nature.
Some may even ask what your initiatives are in making their trips more sustainable. So expect questions like: “How are you advocating for eco-friendly transportation?” and “what are you doing to help local communities?”
Moving forward, organising sustainable tours (not just depending on marketing) is an effective strategy to catch the attention of travellers in the era post-COVID-19 travel.
2. Higher demand for unique experiences
Another trend that was underscored by the pandemic is the demand for authentic, unique experiences.
Although virtual travel saved many from the boredom of being cooped up at home, nothing beats being physically there yourself. People are finding ways to have a good time and experience new things, away from their phones and computers as travel gradually picks up again.
Travellers want to spend their limited money wisely, so they won’t settle for regular products and services, they’re after new and unforgettable experiences.
Another way that travel businesses can adapt to the new normal is to let go of the copy-and-paste style of tourism. People don’t want to go where everyone else goes, so make sure you have enough tricks up your sleeves to keep your clients entertained and satisfied!
3. Technology won’t go anywhere
As tech companies step up their games to make everyone’s lives easier and faster, the expectations of travellers will continue to evolve.
Soon, as seen from the rising popularity of online shopping platforms such as Shopee and Grab deliveries, customers will want more, in less time and less effort. This means that it’s likely to extend to the travel industry as well. Out of millions of bookings, research shows that 65% of consumers book within 48 hours of their events and activities, proving that many want something as instant as possible.
We’ve seen the rise of virtual travel during the pandemic, and it’s not going anywhere too! As augmented and virtual reality technology takes off, it will become the new way to travel and try new experiences.
A more immersive travel experience that can change how people plan their travels will be introduced.
For example, it will give way to the “try before you buy” approach in travel, allowing people to see and experience destinations before making a decision, similar to how retail stores let you try on clothes and make-up through augmented reality as well.
4. Personalisation will be important
Travel businesses that can tailor their services to suit personal preferences will thrive in a post-pandemic world. In the age of the Internet, people want something that matches their lifestyles at their fingertips, without going out of their way to find it.
Instead of customers dropping by travel agencies to plan their next trip, the itinerary will already be made available for them based on their travel references, even before deciding to go on a trip.
It can be compared to how online ads are curated, which we all know are based on our browsing history.
Creating the future of tourism together
There’s no way to know what the future holds, but through following travel trends, we can have an accurate picture of what tourism will look like a couple of years from now!
What are your thoughts about this matter? Feel free to let me know in the comments! We’d love to hear how fellow business owners are gearing up for the future of the tourism industry! Support us by checking out our tours here!