January 5, 2013
From subtle passenger profiling to burgeoning traveller altruism, a number of new developments are set to change how we travel in 2013.
It's that time of year when many people are thinking about where and what their travel plans for 2013 will include. Here are three trends that we'll be seeing more of in the travel world in the coming 12 months:
Travelling can be tiring, which is why holiday-makers have long welcomed personalised services that make logistics that little bit more manageable, or make unfamiliar experiences more relatable. At the same time, technology has made travellers increasingly expectant of a certain level of personalization, from hotel recommendations to endlessly customizable holiday packages.
These two elements will come together in 2013, as travel services increasingly start to take full advantage of all the data available to deliver a truly bespoke experience, effortlessly. Last year, British Airways announced that it was developing the 'Know Me' program, which uses Google Images to source pictures of VIP passengers before their arrival at the plane or terminal, enabling staff to greet customers personally. Staff will also use iPads to access information on passengers' previous experiences with BA, meal preferences and onward travel plans, all to help tailor the passenger experience.
So for regular travellers, expect to start moving beyond mere recommendations and towards almost eerily accurate and tailored service delivery, just the way you like it.
With an unconquerable number of destinations, hotels, restaurants, bars and other unforgettable experiences on offer in 2013, travellers have never had more ways to enjoy their time away. But how to choose when time is finite, and so many others are full of tales of great experiences? For many, the answer will be variety, speed and intensity, as single experiences are replaced by multiple, mix-and-matched experiences that cram as much as possible into every Kodak moment.
Finnish chef Timo Linnamaki took this to quite the extreme when he opened Muru Pops Down, a pop-up restaurant situated 80 metres underground in a limestone mine in the town of Lohja in Finland. Seating 64, the restaurant served a four-course set meal to diners. An evening meal was priced at €128, including beverages and transportation into the mine, which must rank as one of the more memorable holiday dinners.
Putting the nightmare stories of dubious holiday-home finance packages and timeshare scams to one side, adventurous travellers will again regain an appetite for investing in their holiday experiences in 2013. But these 'investments' will be more than just financial, as holidaymakers look to create meaningful experience by 'buying into' organizations that will give them an emotional, as well as a financial return.
One example is Tribewanted, a social enterprise that creates communities that foster sustainable development. Its first outposts were in Sierra Leone and Fiji, but in March 2013 the organization will open its first 'resort' in a developed country in Monestevole, Italy. Members pay from £10 per month in return for part-ownership of Tribewanted, and membership fees count as credit toward discounted stays with Tribewanted, during which guests live amongst the community.
For these travellers, it's as much (if not more so) about the status that comes with supporting, contributing to and investing in a greater cause as it is about the financial return.
So, as 2013 continues, what new trends would you like to see in travel?