Most travel agents know that the popular travel destinations remain consistent year after year.  Italy, France, and the Caribbean are predictable hot spots for tourists every year.  However, there are emerging trends in the travel industry.

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Here are some of them:

Networked Services

Savvy millennials are creating peer-to-peer models such as transportation-sharing services.  Young tourists are trying to save money by sharing costs on cabs, lodging, and rental vehicles.  This trend is a byproduct of the social media age in which tourists from different sides of the planet can plan and coordinate transportation and activities on the same destination.

Perhaps a few innovators got an idea from the timeshare model of renting rooms in exotic places for a few weeks at a time.  In the Information Age, travelers are adapting and becoming more flexible.

Connectivity

Whether you’re a bed & breakfast in Europe or Bali, connectivity is critical for today’s travelers.  Despite taking a vacation from work, Internet connection is now a required component for most destinations for tourists that are addicted to their smartphones and tablets.

If you’re on a flight or simply lounging on a hotel, you’d probably go nuts if there was no Wi-Fi signal.  The world is addicted to the web.  The travel industry will need to adapt to the user’s evolving preferences.

Experiential Travel

The availability of information online as well as the opening of borders have facilitated the growth of experiential travel to exotic locations.  Popular places like Italy, Hong Kong, and New York are being seen as commoditized places by seasoned travelers.  Thus, tourists are seeking unique spots such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Macau, Madagascar, and Hangzhou in China.

Jet-setters are looking for authentic experiences in harder to reach places.

Price Competition and Deals

An increasing number of tourists are bypassing traditional travel agencies and going directly on the Internet to shop for deals and price discounts.  Many, including recent graduates and young professionals, are taking advantage of non-peak seasons in order to book hotels and flights at steep discounts.

As an example, web portals such as ResortsandLodges.com provide reviews, descriptions, and price listings of destinations.  More information and a weak economy are resulting in price conscious travelers.

Mobile

According to McKinsey & Company, global travel-based revenue amounts to nearly $100 billion online.  That figure accounts for one-third of all e-commerce spending worldwide.  Younger users are switching over to smartphones and mobile devices (i.e., tablets) in order to browse for information and to conduct their shopping.  Thus, travel sites are seeing a growing need to optimize their presentation for mobile shoppers.

Travel apps could also make life a lot easier for tourists as they decide where to go next on their mobile devices.  Websites that make their portals efficient and differentiated will have a competitive advantage over those that appear to be “cookie cutter”.