Its been an amazing 2013 for us and no doubt for a lot of you too. In the world of travel things never stay still for long (excuse the pun) so now is a great time to look forward to 2014 and see the trends and fashions of the travel industry that will undoubtably affect your next adventure.
Mobile is king
The biggest change we’ve seen in the last few years is the adoption of mobile devices and mobile apps that allow you to do an ever-increasing amount right from that little gadget in your pocket. While booking hotels and flights on your mobile sing’ exactly a new thing for 2014, the attitudes towards its use definitely are. In 2011 around 30% of smart phone and tablet users trusted their tech enough to make large purchases through them for hotels, flights and entire holiday packages. In 2013 that number reached the tipping point of 50% and the number of smartphones sold in the first 2 quarters of 2013 were double the entire units sold in all of 2012. Mobile usage isn’t just an every day gadget we use now, it’s an integral part of how we research our travel destinations and now make our bookings too. Not only that but more and more airlines have taken to virtual boarding passes, so there’s no need to print any tickets, just take your smart phone to the departure gate.
In recent years brands needed to be convinced why they needed an app at all. 2014 will be the first year that a mobile app is a must for all travel brands and we may well see sales drop from desktop computers and telephone sales. The mobile internet is now the place to get the best deals.
We’ve seen a real growing trend in the past year for a number of services and features that make travel just that little bit easier. Some aren’t just helping us on our journey, they’re changing travel attitudes which leads to yet more new services for 2014. One of the services to see a rise in popularity is airport parking, where there are many more options than just the long stay car park and shuttle bus. You can now get your car parked for you and delivered back to the drop-off point on your return. Heathrow Airport in the UK now offers hotel and parking packages for each of its terminals. You can pick which hotel suits your budget and simply drive to the terminal car park in the morning. Hotels like the Radisson Blu are just 5 minutes from the new Terminal 5 building.
The biggest airport trend we’ve seen is new luxury services at decreasing prices. VIP lounges were once an expensive and exclusive members option but with new brands buying up shop space in some terminals you can now easily afford to pamper yourself and loved ones for the hour or two before your flight. 2014 will see this business model increase as their popularity and affordability increase too. Expect more services to pop up in airports in the coming 12 months, from 10 minute massages to capsule style hotel rooms available for a few extra hours sleep.
In flight Wi-fi
As a blogger and internet addict this is something I’ve been dreaming of for years. Many of the world’s bigger airlines have had short love affairs with wi-fi, I had the pleasure of trying it back in 2008 on a long haul flight before it was discontinued. Thankfully 2013 saw the roll-out of a more robust and cheaper system that a growing number of airlines have invested in. At last count 28 airlines now have planes equipped with wi-fi and more airlines are launching their services in the next 12 months.
The biggest drawback at the moment is the cost. Some domestic airlines are charging as little as $2 for 30 minutes while long haul carriers are offering 25MB for $30. There’s quite a discrepancy in value here but wi-fi will now be seen as a selling point rather than a gimmick. Airlines without wi-fi equipped planes could well see sales drop as their wi-fi enabled competitors appeal more to the mobile always-online market. The costs of in-flight wi-fi will inevitably drop as more of us log on so I’m hopefully that the next 12 – 24 months will see this service become more affordable and widespread.