SPECIAL REPORT

7 Travel Revolutions in 2018 - A Fearless Forecast

by PORTFOLIO Editorial Team
12 Dec 2017

The demand for authenticity, customization, "Transformative Travel" are some relatively new concepts brought along this year by the travel industry. 2018 will be an even more exciting delving deeper into these concepts and exploring new horizons with how we experience travel. Here we have 7 experts sharing what's in store for the booming industry.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Authenticity

Douglas Moon
Design Director, Wilson Associates

Today’s traveler is more discerning now than before. Wherever their destination, they are looking for an elevated level of service but also authenticity, in what they eat, where they stay, what they see, and experience.

Every hotel should offer an experience as unique as the location itself; it seems the days of the ‘international style’ are gone. Brand standards will prevail, but a brand’s identity should not overshadow the local character of its location. A challenge for designers is finding the balance between regional vernacular and the operators’ established ideals.

Presently, we are seeing a rise in independent hotel chains, and we find ourselves collaborating with both local brands and major hotel brands. In Asia Pacific we are seeing clients building large scale hotels and resorts with a view to establishing themselves as independent operators with multiple locations, while still maintaining a boutique character and feel.

With these independent operators brand identity is still a blank canvas, giving us an opportunity to work alongside clients to create an identity.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

European Destinations

Wong Yew Hoong
Director, Eu Holidays Pte Ltd

Travel to Europe in 2018 will be bigger than ever. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, arrivals to Europe have increased by 8 per cent. I feel this is certainly in light of the recent visa limitations to visit the USA, as well as the volatile political situation there which has caused many holiday-goers to divert to Europe instead.

For Singaporeans, traveling to Europe has been progressively becoming popular, especially to Arctic countries (Finland, Sweden, and Norway) for a chance to catch the northern lights. There will also be a rise in travel to the Baltics and Balkans as well-heeled Singaporeans look for more exotic European destinations. Travel to these countries is also easier now as they are finally politically stable and have opened up to tourism.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Experience-Led Holidays

Victoria Hogg
General Manager, Scott Dunn Asia

We expect to see an increase in demand for longer, multi centered experience-led holidays in 2018. This can be attributed to people slowing down and wanting to make more of the ‘journey’, whether that be traveling to a destination by train such as the Glacier Express, or boarding a private yacht to explore remote islands.

We also believe people’s view of luxury is changing, with more and more people looking for more adventurous, off the beaten track accommodation options such as ‘glamping’ under the stars in the Moroccan desert or joining a traveling camp in India. We expect these more ‘eco-friendly’ travel options where the concept is to ‘leave no trace’ to be very popular for 2018, especially with guests’ amplified awareness of sustainable travel.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Business Travelers

Nick Evered
SVP and General Manager, Japan and Asia Pacific, Concur

Consumerization will drive a massive evolution in corporate travel with business travelers redefining their expectations, requiring autonomy, flexibility and personalization as the lines between work and life increasingly blur. This will be further complicated by the ascendancy of the millennial workforce in APAC, who crave autonomy, flexibility, personal fulfillment and empowerment.

The direct booking behaviors of most frequent business travelers often result in non-compliance with travel policy – a trend that we see increasing as technology offers convenience, choices, and customized experiences. Travel vendors are investing very significant marketing to create a far more intimate relationship with the traveler through their own apps – meaning integration becomes even more important to provide visibility.

The future of travel is exciting. New start-up airlines such as Surf Air, Rise and Airly are offering passengers unlimited travel for a monthly subscription. From Uber’s announcement of its NASA partnership to pilot flying cars to Tesla’s SpaceX, it is sometimes hard to pick the latest trend in innovation.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Experiential Travel

Mark Edleson
President and Founder, Alila Hotels and Resorts 

The demand for experiential travel continues to grow steadily particularly for domestic holidays, offering fresh air and natural surroundings to Asia’s urban populations – a much-appreciated respite from overpopulated and polluted cities. We will continue to expand in 2018 with new properties opening in China, Malaysia, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Responsible tourism is a cause that is consistently championed across the hospitality sector with more brands jumping on the bandwagon and starting to realize that the focus should be on benefits for the local communities. With overtourism still a concern in the context of sustainability, Alila's focus on responsible tourism and preserving the environment will begin to be noticed.

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Tourism In Hong Kong

Toby Smith
Managing Director, Swire Hotels

With the supply of hotel rooms in Hong Kong forecast to increase by approx 7 percent in 2018, the market will remain highly competitive. This is mainly due to the government actively driving initiatives to promote tourism participation in international events and promotional campaigns in key source markets such as the US and China.

The principal driver of demand continues to be visitors from Mainland China, with numbers increasing by around 6 percent in 2017, evident in bookings for our Hong Kong properties – EAST Hong Kong and The Upper House.

In China markets, overnight visitor numbers have been increasing by around 5 percent per annum for the past three years and we expect that to continue into 2018 with a good mix of overseas and domestic visitors.

Recruiting and retaining high quality staff continues to remain a key challenge across all markets with a growing focus on improving candidate and employee experiences. Companies will continue to churn our creative benefit packages and perks to allow for workplace flexibility.

 

  • AUTHENTICITY
  • EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE-LED HOLIDAYS
  • BUSINESS TRAVELERS
  • EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
  • TOURISM IN HONG KONG
  • TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL

Transformative Travel

Nico Heath
Co-Founder & Director, Lightfoot Travel

2018’s must-dos have evolved from the standard ‘radical activities’ and instead are taking on a meaningful twist.

I see the desire for experiential travel shifting into ‘transformative travel’, as a time for self-reflection or self-development. Transformative travel will be taking us into pastures new while providing us with fresh perspectives. Examples include following the footsteps of the rare and critically endangered gorillas in Rwanda, and experiencing the nomadic lifestyle with local herders in Mongolia.

I believe more travelers will start to judge their holiday by the impact they make, or how immersed they become in a particular culture, rather than Instagram likes.

Going hand in hand with transformative travel is simplicity, which has become the new definition of true luxury.

Throughout 2018, curated, artisanal and authentic experiences will still matter, but a much bigger trend will be traveling for pure calm, ease, and the chance for total decompression. It’s less about facilities, and more about the authenticity of the experience.