Despite ongoing uncertainty related to Brexit, travel firms are predicting a positive market outlook for 2017. Mobile apps, Airbnb, domestic travel and ‘bleisure’ – instances when workers attach vacation days to the end of business trips – are expected to be among the sector’s top trends.
The travel market is seeing a boom in mobile apps and new forms of consumer technology. Somo, a mobile marketing specialist, said in a recent study that 30 million people search for travel information via mobile phones each month. The increased accessibility of mobile applications allows travellers better control over their plans as well as information concerning their future destinations.
Arguably the most important – and controversial – mobile application in the travel industry, online accommodation network Airbnb, is expected to surpass major hotel chain bookings in 2017. “Ever rising costs [of hotels], [have left] travellers on the lookout for more affordable accommodation options,” says PR Mediaco, a global travel firm. However, Airbnb’s limited health and safety regulations are obstacles for business travellers, who are more likely to opt for hotels.
According to data compiled by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the UK’s largest travel association, domestic tourism and ‘bleisure’ trips are set to increase in 2017. Although Brexit did not have an immediate impact on traveller spending in 2016, ABTA says the effects of future negotiations for 2017 remain unclear. And with a host of upcoming literary and historical events in 2017, ABTA predicts UK domestic tourist statistics will reach comparable levels to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Meanwhile, a traveller survey by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, an international apartment provider, found that 60% of respondents participated in ‘bleisure’ in 2016.
Some travellers are even turning to virtual reality as a way to experience their destinations before departing. Travel companies, such as Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays, have already installed virtual reality devices to assist clients with their itineraries.
At the moment, the travel market outlook for 2017 appears strong, but unpredictable currency fluctuations associated with Brexit could result in disrupted plans for many travellers this year.