Predicting the future is no easy task. Frankly, most would safely proclaim that it’s impossible. But who doesn’t dream about it from time to time? I know I do. Especially when it comes to business. What if I do X and it results in the added income of Y, multiplied by….well, you get the idea. I love to run scenarios and numbers in my head. There’s no difference when it comes to spring travel trends and in making predictions about what 2016 will bring. It’s because I am passionate about business growth and in this sense, I am sure you can relate. If you know what the spring travel trends are before they happen, then you can market more effectively and attract more guests. After all, your business is your hotel. Your hotel is your bread and butter. So, wouldn’t you like to have a little bit more?

Now, I don’t claim to be a fortune teller, but I do know that thoroughly researched and exhaustive data is out there, ready and waiting to be consulted, analysed, and expanded upon in order to make educated guesses about what’s next. So that’s what I’ve done, and I think you’re going to like what’s in store for our spring travel trends and predictions for 2016. First off, if you haven’t already downloaded, read, re-read and made notes on ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016, I suggest that you do. It covers the “main trends in outbound travel demand for the first eight months of 2015 together with estimates for the full year and initial forecasts for 2016.”

If you’re strapped for time, I’ve worked in several key stats from the report in the highlights below. I’ve also explored our own data at trivago to see what these potential trends really mean to you, the hotel manager.  Lastly, I’ve consulted well-respected travel guide, Frommers along with Forbes, Yahoo Business and The Telegraph to identify common developments and forecasts that complement the previous data.

An Industry Dealing With Crises? Travel grows in the face of adversity.

Conflicts and Economy

Despite the tumultuous socio-political and economic landscape that defined 2015, global travel trends continued to rise. According to ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016, outbound trips grew by almost 5%. More remarkable still is the fact that per night spending increased by almost the same amount; outperforming the 2014 growth rate by 200 %.

And trivago’s data tells us where that money is going to.

Luxury, Comfort and Stability

Our data indicates that travellers across the globe are searching for the same things: 4 and 5 star hotels with good to excellent reputations. And those don’t come cheap. In fact, ‘cheap hotels’ didn’t even make into the top 10 list of traveller search preferences for spring of 2015. When we look at last year as a whole, we see that ‘cheap hotels’ didn’t even make the top 20 list of search queries at trivago. Why does this matter? trivago is the world’s largest hotel metasearch engine. With millions of monthly users searching trivago for their ideal hotel, we’ve got unique insight into the traveller’s needs and wants. When delving deeper into our data regarding preferred hotel rank and reputation, a huge opportunity emerged. I suggest that you write this statistic down because it could be the one thing that revolutionizes your business in 2016.

Ok. Here we go…

Overall, potential guests preferred hotels with ‘Excellent’ reputations 5:1 when compared to those with just ‘Satisfactory’ ratings.

There, I’ve said it. Now, do you know why this matters? If your reputation is 8/10 that means you have the potential to receive a 500% increase in potential bookings over your competitors with a healthy 7/10 score. One point on that scale can make all the difference.

TIP: Spend more attention on improving your standing this year. Utilise online tools that enhance your reputation and make your rating stand out to travellers. Don’t forget to go the extra mile at the hotel, crafting a memorable experience for your visitors. This will work to improve your reputation and increase your booking potential for Spring break 2016 and beyond.

So, our spring travel trends indicate that travellers are headed to higher-end hotels. But who are ‘they’ and where are the hotels?

A Preference for City Trips

When it comes to nationalities, Germans travel most, according to the ITB World Travel Trends report. And they’re headed abroad. The Germans are the number one foreign visitor to the UK and Italy and in second place when it comes to vacationing in Spain. The Germans are also spending more than most other travellers, with only the Americans and Chinese spending more while abroad.

Regardless of nationality, trivago’s user data reveals that the most popular destinations in the world are urban. The preference for one city over another isn’t changing significantly from season to season either. The top 5 destinations globally for 2015 were: London, Vegas, Berlin, NYC and Amsterdam. Paris, Rome, and Madrid all made it into the top 10. Interestingly, Paris’ popularity as a tourist hot-spot before and after the November attacks remain relatively unchanged. Frommer’s predictions for travel in 2016, and the IPK International, as quoted in the ITB World Travel Trends report, suggest similar findings. Despite the violence and unrest, IPK International President Rolf Freitag is quoted stating there is “no overall negative impact on global outbound travel and people are continuing to travel more and more.”

So what attracts these travellers to the cities? According to trivago’s search data, potential guests are looking for hotels near a beach or with a pool. They also believe that Wi-Fi connectivity is important and they have a tendency towards cultural events, specifically Fashion week in London.

TIP: Align your amenities to reflect the wants and needs of the traveller. If you have any one or all of the above offerings, make sure that you are effectively communicating this. Where? First, check your hotel website. Is it up to date? If not, make sure that your property’s unique features and incentives are clearly displayed. Secondly, take a look at your hotel lobby. Do you provide Wi-Fi? If so, there should be signage indicating this to let walk-ins know. Next, update all of your online profiles. If you don’t have any, add one for free here. Lastly, aside from star rating and reputation, cultural events attract travellers. Be sure to let potential guests know what’s going on near you by mentioning it on your social media profiles and website homepage.

So we know what amenities they are seeking and where – but what about the hotel itself?

Experiential Spring Travel Trends

It may be assumed that singles travel solo, couples travel together and young families search out accommodations well suited to children and parents alike. That assumption isn’t necessarily true though. Cross-generational travel is on the rise. It’s not uncommon now for a young couple to travel with their parents, kids, nieces and/or nephews. On one family trip there may commonly be relatives aged 7 to 70. Why? There is also a trend in ‘experiential travel’ verses traditional tourism. Travellers crave now, more than ever, unique trips in new locales during off-peak season(s). And there is a tendency to get everyone in the family involved. ITB’s report tells us that almost a third of vacations take place off-season, a growth of 60 % in just 7 years. trivago search data also shows that, of the hundreds and hundreds of different search filters available, travellers looking for Family Hotels are within the top 25 search preferences. ‘Large Hotels’ are also high up on the list, ranking 26th on the list of  the most search filters on trivago.

TIP: Market your hotel to families by indicating that they are family friendly. How? Update your hotel details on each online profile that you have. Also, if you have pictures depicting family sized suites or stays, upload them to your website and social media platforms. Smaller hotels and B&Bs can also get in on this trend . Of the millions of travellers using trivago search each month, B&Bs come in second place for preferred hotel type. They’re intimate, unique and a lot like home so they are great for families and couples alike.

More people are travelling than ever before. They’re going to cities and emerging in cultural experiences with friends and family. And they’re spending more too. They prefer high-quality hotels with solid reputations and memorable moments.

Your hotel can attract them by making several savvy changes in your online presence and marketing tactics. What’s more is that you can increase your earnings per room by positioning your accommodations to best fulfill traveller’s needs. Work on that hotel reputation and update your hotel information online to attract more guests during spring 2016 and beyond.

Do you have your own predictions about 2016’s spring travel trends? Let us know in the comment section below.

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trivago Hotel Manager Blog

A dedicated group of industry researchers and journalists make up the team behind trivago’s blog for hoteliers. Covering key topics in the hospitality industry, they publish articles on hotel technology and marketing, trends, events, and expert insights to help keep hoteliers up to speed and equipped with the knowledge they need to compete online.

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