Leeds-based PR and creative content agency, The Lucre Group, has revealed the insights following World Travel Market, London, last week and the future is looking green as well as rosy.
The survey of 250+ travel professionals, conducted over the course of the event, confirmed that the greatest trend and growth opportunities next year will be in sustainable and green tourism with 80% of those polled saying sustainably sourced goods and services need to be a key priority. A further 76% cited the reduction of plastic as an important concern in offering environmentally friendly holidays.
Consequently, World Travel Market professionals are predicting that unsustainable travel will decline during 2020 in line with the continuing rise of conscientious travelers. Holidaymakers will prioritize more eco-friendly modes of travel, alongside frequency and distance, whilst actively seeking more ‘off the beaten track’ and ‘authentic’ experiences.
Travel brands are also preparing for further political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit and a potential global slowdown with fewer overseas bookings expected following the UK’s departure from the EU. As a result, staycations are expected to flourish – particularly those aligned to wellness. Over 60% of companies surveyed are taking steps to enhance their UK based products both in volume and aligned to the upward trend for wellbeing. These include anything from adventure and self-improvement activities such as detox breaks, skills tours and yoga retreats, to immersive experiences.
The weaker pound is also undoubtedly sparking nervousness for future trading despite many players reporting strong sales and citing the strength of their product offering in doing so. A shift to online bookings where the margins can be higher is, therefore, likely. In doing so Millennials and the older members of Gen Z will receive added focus over the next 12 months, with over 86% of travel professionals recognising them as a priority within their marketing efforts. Social media channels (over 70%) will be the first platform prioritised to reach them, followed by digital advertising (68%) and public relations (63%).
Respondents also flagged that investing in technology to further drive the online customer experience and sales will remain a priority in 2020. The increasing demand for personalization alongside the need to make the online booking more informative, eye catching and easier to navigate, being key. Finally, updating existing services for LGBTQ+ customers is seen as a significant potential growth opportunity by 80% of those surveyed.
Tamarind Wilson-Flint, Lucre co-founder and Director, said:
“This latest study affirms that ‘Green’ is increasingly on everyone’s agenda but in my view the true challenge for many businesses is to deliver programmes which are commercially viable and, therefore, by their very nature sustainable. In addition, delivering a reasonably priced product can for a variety of reasons can be difficult which means that for many travellers it sits beyond their price bracket, particularly when venturing further afield. With the emerging influence of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, the travel and leisure sector will increasingly be forced to infuse environmental programmes within their operational approach and product offering as a matter of course. In doing so they will have to adapt to a more ‘values-based’ proposition whilst always keeping an eye on affordability.
“The influence and affluence of Gen Z is predicted to be more powerful than any previous audience and this January we will unveil a new study commissioned in conjunction with ResearchBods on their behaviours and motivations.”
51,000 visitors attended this year’s World Travel Market, London (4th – 6th November 2019), with travel business representatives, stakeholders and media working across the UK, Europe and Internationally, all taking part in the survey.
The Lucre Group specializes in travel and leisure with events such as WTM playing a vital role in fuelling the knowledge and network of the team. Conducting research with partners forms part of an ongoing programme by the agency’s Insight and Innovation team and ensures The Group remains at the forefront of upcoming trends.