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Study: Second cities, environmentalism, and technology pipped to be 2020’s big travel trends

Travellers often aspire to improve on the journeys they take and find ways to make them more memorable. And according to a research study conducted by Booking.com, in 2020, it’s expected that they will go to lesser-known second cities, consider the environment, and become more reliant on technology to curate their trips.

The study interviewed more than 22,000 travellers across 29 markets and included over 180 million verified guest reviews.

Second cities look to be on the way up, becoming more popular as 54 % of travellers hope to avoid the herds of over-tourism in primary cities. 51% would actually swap their original destinations for lesser-known yet similar alternatives if it would leave less of an environmental impact.

Speed is also becoming a lesser concern as 48% of travellers are planning to take a slower mode of transport to reduce their environmental impact and six in 10 would prefer taking a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. A slower yet more affecting type of travelling experience is appealing to travellers. For example, a classic train journey on the Flying Scotsman or Orient Express would be an ideal choice for these travellers.

Technology is becoming crucial to planning trips. The research study reveals that 59% of respondents said they want technology to offer them surprise options that would introduce them to something entirely new in the coming year. Technology will also play another conscientious role in the decision-making process as 60% of global travellers would be keen to have access to an app or website that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.

Additionally, 46% of global travellers stated they would use an app to book activities while travelling, and 44% would use an app that allows them to pre-plan activities.

The study predicts that apps with AI that offered tailored suggestions of destinations to visit, places to stay, and things to do based on travellers’ current preferences, previous trips, and key contextual factors – such as weather and popularity – will rise.

An unexpected consideration that travellers are taking into account for their travels is pets. 42% of travellers said they would choose holiday destinations based on whether they could take their pets and 49% would be willing to pay more to stay at a pet-friendly accommodation.

Accommodations around the world with pet-tailored offerings and amenities, such as complimentary dog day beds, pet spas, dedicated room service menus, and even specially designed pet restaurants, are getting more popular.

Last but not least, travellers are also having a higher expectation when it comes to culinary experiences. 71% of travellers said enjoying a meal with locally sourced produce was important to them when on vacation.

““As we enter a new decade, we’ll see the travel industry respond to a more sustainable, inquisitive and technologically-advanced traveller through the development of products, services, and functions that make it easier for everyone to experience the world,” said Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Booking.com.

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