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My Take on the Top Trends Revealed at Skift Megatrends

Chelsea Hover

When we talk about defining the future of travel, we often think of electric cars, teleportation, and holographs. But in reality (and I’m not talking about the virtual kind) the future of travel is much more about gradual progression and paradigm shifts in our industry. This January, MMGY attended the annual Skift Magazine & Megatrends event. The event focused heavily on five trends that will likely impact travel in 2016. Hre’s my take on three of these major trends*:

Trend 1: The Bourdain Effect: Food is Now the Leading Hook in Travel

As an avid Anthony follower, I couldn’t agree more with this projection. From a social standpoint, we are frequently directing our clients’ audiences to the best dining options in destination, the newest wineries opening near a property, and the latest innovation in airline restaurant service. In 2015, we ran several influencer programs. In these programs, we found that the people who received the most engagement on social media were the foodies. Keeping this mind, it is also important to keep a finger on the pulse of oversaturation in this theme. Part of what makes a foodie tick is knowing that they are experiencing something unique and exclusive. As marketers, we will need to stay ahead of the curve and pay attention to micro trends in the culinary world - vinegars and vegan butcher shops anyone?

Trend 2: This is the Year of the American Traveler

With the ability to now visit Cuba, the affordability of vacationing in destinations like Turkey and Japan, and the ease of travel to Brazil, travel options for Americans are ever-expanding. Even domestic travel is more accessible as a result of low oil prices. I was recently at a state tourism conference that stated this exact sentiment: "Oil is down, and roadtripping is up."

The focus on increased travel is great, but there is a less positive shift that we could see in 2016. The media attention on terrorism and concern over global security threats will likely impact the American traveler as well.

Trend 3: Build-Your-Own-Passenger-Experience is the Future of Flying

Last year was an interesting year for the airline industry. Major airline loyalty programs shifted from a mileage-based system to a dollar spent-based system. Carry-on baggage size was hotly debated. United appointed a new CEO. Major legacy airline mergers finally came to fruition.

In this midst of all this action, a subtle shift occurred; airlines starting showcasing the value of each individual aspect of the in-flight experience. WiFi, beverages, carry-ons, streaming TV, and legroom all became al la carte options effectively upsetting the consumer purchasing status quo. In the travel industry, this isn’t a new model. Hotels have been charging for WiFi, minibars, HBO and extra amenities for years. What is new, however, is the airline industry's refreshing approach. In an attempt to give flyers exactly what they want, no more and no less, I think we will start to see a further shift in this “build-your-flight” model. The new travel consumer values transparency, and is willing to pay for items when they know the exact value it brings. It’s the “un-bundling effect”.

Any trends you are keeping your eye on? Share with us on Twitter @MMGYGlobal.

View more of our trends in our blog post, Where We're Going in 2016.

*Trends based on Skift Magazine Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016

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