Quentin Long gives his predictions on the next big travel trends for this year.
1. Personalised luxury
We want individualised travel experiences more than ever. We’re going to see more stays like Sydney’s Grace Hotel, where rooms are tailored to your preferences in colours, scents and tastes, and more restaurants with ‘chefs table’ dining experiences or custom-made degustations. It’s like in many bars already where you can walk in, chat with the mixologist, say I’m feeling such-and-such and they’ll create a cocktail just for you. That’s how we’re now defining luxury.
We’re definitely seeing a rise in comfortable wilderness experiences. This is opening up a type of travel to people who ordinarily wouldn’t be interested, particularly with options like ‘princess walking’, where somebody else carries your bag on a hike, or tours like with Bothfeet’s Great Ocean Walk, where you hike all day then retreat to a beautiful lodge with a personal chef. Like traditional camping there’s wilderness, it’s immersive, it’s authentic, but it’s very, very comfortable.
3. Hosted accommodation
I think 2014 will see the hosted accommodation category grow significantly into the mainstream. Think Airbnb.com – now one of the largest single accommodation engines in the world. We’ll see more and more people go down that track.
4. Experiential holidays
We’re seeing more people travel to engage in something new, learn something new, and have a meaningful dialogue with something, not just lie on a beach somewhere. Going on an indigenous tourism experience, travelling to see an art exhibition, participating in a cultural event or going to cooking school… experiences with an educational bent.
5. Food tourism
It’s undoubtedly true that we will now travel great distances for a great meal. This has been happening for a few years and we’re probably at the peak now, but it will continue for quite some time to come. Victoria, hands down, smashes the rest of Australia in terms of food tourism, though I think Canberra is the real dark horse as the most rewarding destination for Australians, if you measure it by expectations exceeded.
6. Multi-generational travel
As our population gets older and wealthier, not only are grandparents hanging around for a lot longer, but they want to be involved for a lot longer and they have the money to do so, resulting in an increase in multi-generational holidays. This will impact the design of accommodation, the types of activities and experiences that people do on these family holidays, and the way we book accommodation, as currently many online booking engines only cater for up to six adults.