Key Trends in Tourism: Predictions for 2010

January 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm 1 comment

A forecast of travel trends plus advice and information for B&B owners and bookers in 2010.

Over the last decade, an ever-resilient travel industry survived bird flu, swine flu, terrorism and climate change only to emerge stronger than ever, with no-frills airlines and online travel companies making international travel an everyday activity for a large number of us.

In 2009, the global recession from which we are still struggling to surface left us all short of cash, and it was thought that holidays would be one of the first luxuries to go. Not so. People didn’t necessarily travel less, they travelled differently, and, in fact, many of those who lost their jobs took advantage of the career break to fulfil lifelong dreams of travelling the world.

Changing holiday habits gave rise to a new vocabulary of travel terminology; solidays, staycations, love them or loathe them, in 2009 these portmanteaux became the buzzwords of the travel industry.

Environmental as well as economic concerns had more and more of us holidaying at home, making the most of what’s waiting on the doorstep, and a loss of faith in travel agents saw savvy travellers taking charge to create their own personalised DIY holidays and avoid paying inflated commission charges.

And as bookers moved away from the traditional package holiday, adventure and activity holidays also became popular. People were looking for something unique, something off the beaten track.

All of this was good news for the B&B industry. Traditionally, independently-owned B&Bs were for those who couldn’t afford a hotel; these days, that’s most of us. And with an increasing number of ‘boutique B&Bs’ popping up around the place, bed and breakfast is the new black, even for business travelers. The fashion for ‘shabby chic’, while not a particularly flattering term, has seen B&Bs coming into their own, outdoing the minimalist décor of chic hotels with French dressers and floral fabrics.Ape Rosa B&B, Florence, Italy at BedandBreakfastworld.com

These tourism trends are set to continue in 2010 and on into the new decade. Online travel will only become more popular, and as the B&B market gets more familiar with the process of internet booking it becomes increasingly important for properties to have some kind of online presence. Managing a website may not be feasible for many of us, but creating a listing on a site such as BedandBreakfastworld.com is a quick, simple and, best of all, free way to reach potential guests from all over the world.

Word of mouth has always been highly valued but nowadays the people you can go to for advice are not limited to just your friends and family. While sites such as TripAdvisor have capitalised on our desire to be heard, be wary of unmonitored sites where false or misleading reviews could potentially be left by hotel employees.

At BedandBreakfastworld.com, only those who have made bookings are invited to share their thoughts, meaning all reviews are from genuine customers. In either case, use of common sense is advised; we all expect different things from a holiday, and one person’s idea of overly attentive staff may be another’s idea of excellent customer service.

If the clientele is evolving, the B&B must evolve with it. While most guests appreciate the cosy, homely feel of a B&B, facilities must be kept up to date, and certain added extras are often expected. Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered in most properties these days, and is essential for those hoping to attract business travellers, as is a desk and a decent space to work. A decent-sized television with DVD and a good range of channels in each room will also be appreciated.

Breakfast at Villa Sunshine, Cape Town, BedandBreakfastworld.comNever underestimate the effect of the personal touch. As the consumer becomes more demanding, the key to beating both the recession and your competitor is not to lower your prices but to offer excellent value for money as well as that little something extra. Casa de Billy in Barcelona, for example, equips all its rooms with orthopaedic mattresses, while Daphne Veneto in Rome offers all guests use of a local mobile phone during their stay. It could be something as small as a bowl of fresh fruit in the room on arrival, but these added extras make a big difference to a guest’s stay. BedandBreakfastworld.com also allows B&Bs to offer packages to their customers for special occasions or local events.

In November 2008, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and ABTA predicted that the top holiday hotspots for 2009 would be Israel, Dominican Republic, Cuba, St Lucia, Iceland, Croatia and Australia. This year, the list is headed up by so called ‘X-Factor destinations’; once-in-a-lifetime trips will see football lovers off to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, winter sports fans heading to Vancouver for the Olympics and film buffs going off in all directions to visit the location of their favourite movie. New York regularly welcomes hordes of shoppers looking for the glamour of Sex and the City, for example, and the small city of Forks in Washington is expecting record numbers of visitors after the popularity of the Twilight series. It’s not yet clear where fans of Avatar will be heading, at least until space tourism becomes a bit more affordable.

In line with our desire to find a good bargain, other hotspots for 2010 will include cities emerging from recent troubles such as Sri Lanka and Beirut as well as Mexico, where the government have recently invested $75 million in the beaches of Cancún to entice back tourists after the swine flu outbreak.

British tourists in particular will be drawn to countries outside of the Euro zone where they will receive a favourable exchange rate for their pounds; Egypt and Morocco remain popular, as does Istanbul, which has been named a European City of Culture for 2010.

In the UK and Ireland, where holidaymakers have traditionally jetted off in search of sun, the recent, recession-inspired tourism trend of holidaying at home will remain popular, whether surfing in Cornwall or hiking the Ring of Kerry. Adventure holidays will also continue to be fashionable, as will weddings abroad, and an increased interest in sustainable tourism refers not only to eco-friendly travel but also to ‘voluntourism’ projects designed to help the local community.

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