What will be the tourism trends of 2021?
Understanding the market and its trends is important and useful, particularly for those running businesses or operating tours.
The challenge is to move early and be among the first to stimulate demand.
Analysing tourism trends gives us a broad overview of what customers are looking for and how the context we work in is changing.
So examining trends is useful for:
- anticipating them and not being caught unprepared
- understanding the demand of a constantly changing market
- deciding your business goals and therefore planning your experiences.
Of all the tourism trends for next year - and the years to come - top of the list is a strong shift to sustainable stays.
What we used to call climate change has now become a climate crisis, and all our businesses need a major rethink.
Tourism is no exception, with an acute need for concrete action from guests and operators. The tourism sector will adapt to what is not a momentary trend but, clearly, a revolution.
Sustainability will affect everything that makes up a holiday, from travel to food, accommodation to activities. Everything will change.
There are many things that cam be done immediately, without hassle:
- get rid of single portions
- use tap water
- green products
- bedlinen and towels in natural fibres
- low-impact laundry cycles
- dispensers instead of courtesy pack in the bathroom
- encouragement to use public transport
- installation of water flow reducers
- low-energy lightbulbs
- choosing suppliers who in turn care about sustainability, such as energy from renewable sources
- zero-kilometre products
- and ask your guests to reduce waste!
Naturally, you should tell your guests about all these specific, concrete and conscious actions.
Even though some criteria are legally required when modernising, in the years to come all tourist accommodation will have to comply with the principles of bio-architecture, with heating and cooling from renewable sources, eco-compatible materials, optimisation of resources and waste reduction plans. The concept of minimum impact goes further if you decide to go "carbon positive": not only is CO2 production zero, but measures are in place to reduce it.
The second largest trend is slow travel. It's more of a mental approach than a material one. Customers feel they're on holiday from the moment they leave home: the journey is no longer a cause of stress to reach the destination but part of the holiday.
Everything slows down, to really enjoy the trip.
Consequently when guests arrive at the hotel, they'll want to find tranquility and comfort, stay "slow" and fully enjoy the wellness-hospitality designed by us to increase physical and mental wellbeing.
Slow travellers know that luxury is time to devote to their own wellbeing and that of their loved ones, from the very moment of departure.
The business owner's goal is to create a series of experiences (a night in a shepherd's hut, walks with yaks, dogsleds, walks, activities based on traditional trades and culinary experiences using local products).
NEW ACTIVITIES AND ALL-INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCES
In third place, we find winter activities other than skiing.
Today the impossibility of enjoying the snow using the ski lifts has led us to embrace alternatives which should become part of the scene even after they reopen.
From horse riding to fat bikes, dog sleds to adventure parks, tandem paragliding to classic cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering or even ice climbing for the most daring.
Experiences that immerse visitors in nature and the environment are the most popular. These were, and are, already present, and they complete the picture of change: sustainability, slow travel, lower impact activities. All connected and a sound way of doing tourism differently and improving on what went before.
I'll leave you with a tip: be careful not to sell the sanitisation of spaces due to the pandemic as an extra feature. It may have been one months ago in summer 2020, but now customers take it for granted. So list it on your channels and on booking.com, but don't publicise it as special; focus instead on the points I've mentioned and on new immersive experiences.