Management Magazine
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What’s taking off in 2019?

From artificial intelligence-inspired holidays to choosing stay preferences and experiential impact, 2019 travel trends are already airborne. 

By DERRICK VIKIRU

Click, clack. Click, clack. Oh, don’t mind the sound – that’s just me aimlessly tapping on my keyboard. “Tabitha (my manager), what should I write about for the travel column?” I ask desperately. “Something nice, to help people,” she vaguely replies, and careful enough not to stifle my creativity by limiting me to a scope. Then I think to myself, a good travel story is usually the result of something that has gone ‘wrong’ in a fun way. Those “Huh, urgh, oh” moments can be quite unexpected experiences, but you instantly know that they will make unforgettable moments years to come! I love reading such stories because they are authentic and show the less glamorous part of traveling and they become an important part of the travel itself. However, it is important to check out ideas before planning for a holiday. Even though it will not guarantee disappointments, it will surely provide alternatives if things don’t go as planned. 

One way to do this, is learning the new travel trends that can totally change your holiday experience.  A smart traveller will familiarise with trends that will possibly determine convenience when travelling or even when planning the itinerary. Times have greatly changed, and the 2019 traveller should aptly brace for major shifts in their travel experiences. In this article, you will find out what’s taking off around the world with our rundown of four travel trends to check out for in 2019, from activity-based travel such as culinary, technology, and home-stay and adventure tourism, to new way to travel solo.

Home rental vs Hotel booking

Peer-to-peer rental of apartments, homes and spare bedrooms has been on the rise and it is projected to go full-blown this year. The hotel industry has cast a wary eye to this trend due to its increasing popularity especially with young travellers. Today there are numerous sites seeking to shape the experience of travellers looking for home rental services in a new trend termed as hometel. Airbnb for example has launched a new luxury alternative which curates high-end homes and ‘custom experiences’ for holiday makers looking for more than standardised services in hotels. Usually, property/home owner or manager acts as a concierge making rentals more hotel-like by replacing each homeowner’s house items with deluxe versions. Travelers are increasingly cross-shopping against hotels, and often finding cheaper rates from private accommodation rentals. 

Solo travel and Co-living

Solo traveller

‘There are some places in life where you can only go alone,’ and today we increasingly see backpackers embark on solo journeys yonder. Solo travel is not all doom as good things can happen on the way (bad things too); you meet new people, expand your friend circle, and maybe experience romantic memories while exploring the beauty of destinations. However, travelling alone can be lonely as hotels aren’t the easiest places to make friends. Airbnbs can be isolating as guests often find themselves in residential neighbourhoods rather than city centres. A new travel trend to compliment solo travel is co-living, a form of modern commune between locals and out-of-towners. Thousands of listings online provide apartment complexes with trendy shared social spaces, events programmes, yoga classes and even hot tubs.

Biometric and Digital check-ins

As the number of travellers grows, airports have started to turn to biometric technology that uses facial recognition to speed up various airport processes. This could allow passengers to complete check-in and go through security or passport control without having to deal with a human agent. Many holiday makers will fear repeat long queues seen in many airports in the holiday seasons just to get through passport control. Hotels are equally banking on digital check-ins where travellers have unprecedented choice and control over their entire hotel stay using technology that allows them through their smart devices to access a myriad of services such as remote check-in, pre-selecting a specific room, floor and location, speedy arrival – no front desk delays, room upgrades, pre-order of room items and room service and a front desk bypass on check-out with e-receipts.

Culinary travel

Morning and Breakfast on the beach sea

Culinary travel is the travel trend you need to try because the best way to explore a culture is through food. Food travel is a trend that’s only getting hotter, as everyone from gourmands to social-media junkies pack their bags, armed with a list of must-try dining in dreamy destinations. Anywhere you travel, food strongly differentiates one place from another and a pleasant culinary experience leaves a long-lasting impression of a destination. The geographical location and historical traditions affect the kind of foods people consume all over the world thus this trend has been on the rise all over the world.

Derrick Vikiru is the sub-editor for Management Magazine. Email: dvikiru@kim.ac.ke

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