Top 3 global travel trends

Exterior of Generator Barcelona. Image by Nikolas Koenig, courtesy Generator.

Exterior of Generator Barcelona. Image by Nikolas Koenig, courtesy Generator.

Brace yourself! “Poshtels”, “Braggies” and wearable electronics are all the rage on the travel circuit. Well, that’s according to the WTM Global Trends Report 2015 released earlier this month in association with Euromonitor International. Fiona Davern chose her top three trends from the list:

  1. “Poshtels” popularity

Stylish, design-led hostels – aka “poshtels” – are top of mind for cost-conscious Brits and “value-driven” international holiday-makers. Poshtels bring together two previously disparate elements: luxury and hostel. According to Business Insider: “The poshtel has been referred to by many as one of the defining travel trends of this year, partly because the accommodations are starting to spread from Europe to America.”

According to the WTM Global Trends Report 2014, Generator Hostels Executive Chairman Carl Michel said: “The term ‘poshtel’ identifies the lifestyle hostels that have sprung up, as distinct from the more basic hostels. It highlights the desire to have a more differentiated offering – it’s not about being the absolute cheapest anymore.”

Generator Paris - Cafe Fabien veranda. Image by Nikolas Koenig courtesy Generator.

Generator Paris – Cafe Fabien veranda. Image by Nikolas Koenig courtesy Generator.

The report says the hostels segment in the UK is set to grow 3% over the 2013-2018 period, reaching sales of £216 million in 2018. The number of hostels forecast by the end of 2018 is 653.

To see what poshtels are all about, check out well-know European brand Generator, which has locations in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, London, Paris, Rome, and Venice.

Generator Paris - Private twin room. Image by Nikolas Koenig courtesy Generator.

Generator Paris – Private twin room. Image by Nikolas Koenig, courtesy of Generator.

  1. “Braggies”, the new selfies

Holiday-makers take “braggie” photos and upload them instantly to social media – within 10 minutes of arriving at their hotels, according to the report. The trend was recognised by Hotels.com last year. Laura Watts from Hotels.com said: “Sharing our holiday snaps is nothing new. However, in the age of social media, we’re becoming more competitive when letting everyone know how great our holidays actually are – and, of course – making sure we’re in the shot looking good too.”

The most popular and shared hotel braggies were the hotel window view, the bed in your hotel room and the landscape.

Generator Barcelona Penthouse - Terrace view. Image by Chris Auld, courtesy Generator.

Generator Barcelona Penthouse – terrace view. Image by Chris Auld, courtesy of Generator.

Now the world’s top hotel chains are harnessing the power of social media and promoting the trend by linking the activity to rewards schemes. Consumers can braggie their way to mini bar credits, discounted meals and even room upgrades.

“Braggies are another example of how social media is now seen by many big travel brands as a mainstream activity while offering new and exciting ways to engage guests”, said World Travel Market’s Senior Director, Simon Press. “It was only a matter of time before travel companies jumped on the trend of selfies to engage and encourage loyalty and repeat bookings among their customers.”

The report suggests that hotel chains could utilise the trend to connect with guests in markets like China, Brazil, Argentina and the Middle East where “social media usage is growing very fast”.

But, warns Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International’s Head of Travel and Tourism: “These trends also create a new challenge for operators: customer reviews and spontaneous uploads mean service needs to be flawless in order to maintain a strong reputation”.

Selfies on holiday

  1. Wearable electronics

The report forecasts that, while Samsung, Google and Sony already have wearable devices on the market, Apple’s iWatch (which launched in South Africa in October), will be “the catalyst for widespread adoption”.

According to the report, Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia Inc’s CEO said: “We build the technology so that those same notifications can easily go to a Google Glass or someone’s watch… You have to build your technology with very flexible architecture, so that notifications can be sent to basically any device.” Expedia Inc has an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch and is currently in development with one for Google Glass.

The report predicts that wearable tech will be a mainstream consumer product by 2016, with internet-connected devices forecast to rise from nine million units sold globally in 2013 to 180 million in 2016.

“Already some big travel brands are embracing wearable technology as part of their customer service and distribution mix,” says Press. “But the big change will come [with the launch of the iWatch]. Its smartphones and tablets fundamentally changed the travel industry and its watch is likely to have the same impact.”

Bremner added: “Wearable technology will become mainstream across geographies and all sectors of the travel industry need to be prepared. When businesses such as Expedia are already preparing their systems accordingly, the rest of the industry needs to take note.”

Tech wearables are a definite trend when it comes to travel. Image by iStock.

Tech wearables are a definite trend when it comes to travel. Image by iStock.

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