The higher purpose of social media – It was bound to happen that social media would become a goldmine for measuring travel statistics and especially trends. In addition to tourism statistics released annually by your local tourism board such as the Vendée Tourism Studies 2017 (French only), social media can offer useful insight into how our travel habits as a society evolve over time. Especially Pinterest and Instagram have become the go-to research -and travel journal medium for travellers.
Over-tourism – iconic destinations live not only in our own dreams and goals, but in that of just about everybody. Who doesn't want a holiday in Paris or Barcelona or Rome or New York or London, the French or Spanish Mediterranean? In fact, the most popular places are probably at the top of our own bucket-lists more often than not. In some ways these destinations are the victim of their own success. Overcrowding can affect both tourists and residents quite negatively, with higher prices and tourist taxes to boot.
Detour holidays – on social media too, the image sharing market for these locations is quite saturated. Travel blogging, a huge and growing industry, especially is trending more towards awesome locations off the beaten path. As a society we're following suit. Distinct new travel trends are beginning to emerge or are growing in popularity. We are researching and booking vacations differently, choosing authenticity and village life over crowded spaces; we're more conscious of our carbon footprint, and seek specific experiences.
Travellers are searching for unique accommodations to enhance their holiday experience...
While plenty of travellers still prefer a traditional box hotel with an all-in formula, the niche accommodations market is growing. From ice hotels to hobbit homes and gypsy caravans, travellers are seeking to add an extra dimension to their holiday adventure by booking unique places to stay.
In the Vendée we have a perfect example of unique accommodations at theme park le Puy the Fou which, offers both hotel and camping accommodations in historic settings like medieval or viking villages.
Think about the 'instagrammability'!
A 16th century manoir/ B&B, already unique. might now add a comfortable yurt in a romantic spot; a castle might offer a luxury bubble floating on a fishing lake or mote.
Unique accommodations in relation to social media marketing can be a golden goose.
There's a growing market for adults-only accommodations too. Wait! We don't mean that kind! With so much [childless] Millennial-generation traveling, there is an increased demand for adult-only-as in no children present- places to stay.
Ecotourism is on the rise too. Green accommodations can mean anything from going back to nature, to sustainable construction and solar energy, to vegan or vegetarian bed & breakfast. An organic garden where guests and children can pick vegetables fresh to prepare for dinner offers enrichment all its own.
In tourist areas, vegans and vegetarians are looking for places where they are not an afterthought. It is important for restaurants to have vegan and vegetarian meals on the menu.
More than ever, imagination and lifestyle have an impact on the type of accommodations we book.
We're aware of our carbon footprint, our safety, and world events.
We can pull the thread of Eco-friendly accommodations right down into our conscious travel section. We are aware that travelling has a negative impact. And yet, we need to travel for our cultural development and to rest up from life.
The accommodations we book or how we get to our destination can be as much about continuing our lifestyle as about the attempt to balance the effect of our travel on the environment.
Want to take your environmentally friendly [travel] further? Here are our tips: drought or not, limit shower time; eat locally; buy from local growers e.g. at the grocery store choose locally grown fruit and vegetables rather than imported. Boycott single-use plastic. Use bamboo straws and bamboo toothbrushes. Pick up your own rubbish; help with beach-clean-up. Drink tap water.
But the trend of conscious travel encompasses a myriad of meaning such as LGBTQ+ friendly travel and accommodations. A data-driven search platform called Destination Pride provides info on LGBTQ+ laws, rights and social sentiment in any country and area.
Exploring different countries while supporting local communities in need or the environment is also an important trend. Humanitarian travel can range from disaster/ rebuild. to plastic clean-up and other volunteerism. Check Volunteer Forever and Projects Abroad.
Travelling alone-in general-is quite possibly the most valuable education in independence, don't you think? In recent years, solo travel for women has been on the rise. But safety is as important as the freedom, camaraderie and support found among like-minded women. A movement with a massive (and growing) social media platform where ladies share information and look out for one-another is Girls Love Travel.
Targeted travel & tailor-made experiences are popular.
Life is busy. Travel apps and technology are being developed faster than we can click a picture, all meant to make our holiday experience/organization more pleasant. But facial recognition, ticket purchase and check-in via smart-phone etc wasn't only invented for the traveller's benefit. Like social media, this industry software is a massive data mining medium.
That data is used to present us with tailor-made advertisements and personable travel tips. To some this may be convenient. Others find it invasive and interfering. Convenient or not, there is inherently a danger of being put in a box by our data.
It's no longer unusual for modern-day travel to bloom from the heart of social media posts but there is an over-representation of certain locations, fueling our desire to vacation off the beaten tourist path. Away from the familiar, we seek targeted experiences and curated adventures.
Trends show a shift towards the adventurous, village life and living like the locals do. In more good news (for the Vendée especially), epic stories like Game of Thrones have made history cool again. We want to explore our way through it.
And we want to drill right down into what an area has to offer through customized travel packages. Think about the time it saves busy parents to prepare a family vacation already knowing the what, where and how? For accommodations proprietors it's a nice idea to offer e.g. a 7-day itinerary specific to your [rural] area as a digital gift in return for newsletter sign-up.
Additionally, our travel is more and more driven by bucket lists. What is it we want to see before we die? Has following the Tour de France circus been a forever-dream? What about Le Mans? Attending a massive concert like Tomorrowland or Hellfest? A solar eclipse? Sports training away from our usual haunts at home? There is a firm YES to the realm of travel possibility driven by the power of dreams!
More and more we choose our destination(s) based on a specific adventure or an experience we've always dreamed of having.
We're checking off our bucket lists! It sounds superficial, but taking the stresses of every day life into account, it's not so far-fetched we want to reach a hand to our inner child.
Micro-holidays - sometimes referred to as 'cheeky trips' are hip, hip, hip.
Curated itineraries are coveted by the short-term traveller as well. Getaways with a specific purpose such as foodie/ cooking, or wellness curb our time for sightseeing. We prefer to know our options for where to go in the amount of time we have available in our preset schedule.
But of course there's a plethora of other reasons we like cheeky trips. We seem to love getting away from it all for long weekends or mid-weeks in the name of stag -and hen parties and reunions which also translates to the popularity of group travel.
Romantic getaways remain a trend but in addition to the traditional couples weekend date, the scope is broadened to proposals, destination weddings, and of course, the baby-moon!
Last but not least, short-term holidays with college roommates or female family members for an annual getaway of pampering, sightseeing and togetherness is an ever growing trend. Take it from us: holiday homes in a relaxing rural setting as well as cities with all its bar and restaurant options, lend themselves perfectly to girlfriend escapes.
We prefer to overcome life's obstacles by getting away from it all.
Rest, relaxation and reflection is something we all have need for at some point. Social media searches and posts show that travel to overcome deeply personal issues is a growing trend.
Think menopause breaks, mourning-holidays, divorce and break-up vacations!
Healthy living is an important reason for well-being travel. Health (nutrition) and fitness holidays, yoga retreats, cheaper medical procedures or holistic healing, but also healthy aging and spiritual growth pilgrimages give our fellow-man-and-woman the incentive to visit other countries.
Cycling holidays are also popular. From self-guided gentle family cycling tours to pedaling along challenging routes in the wake of famous cycling races, the demand for curated cycling itineraries is growing.
We prefer to overcome tough life events and obstacles away from it all.
The Vendée Tourisme has recently launched a campaign "Vendée-4-Seasons" and with good reason. Our search for tranquility over the hustle and bustle of top travel destinations not only affects where we choose to vacation, but also when. Off-season travel is [still] cheaper than summer, with budget a driving force especially in family travel. For some households, taking the children out of school to travel makes the difference between having a family holiday. Or not.
But family reunions are also ideal to hold in wintertime as often large groups of people can rent larger accommodations to maximize togetherness.
Certain sporting activities like mountain-biking or kite-surfing also drives enthusiasts to seek optimum travel experiences in areas ideal for their sport. The Vendée beaches are popular for water sports, as is the stunning Massif forestier de Mervent-Vouvant with its challenging trails. Heated pool, sauna or spa (Jacuzzi), a cozy fire, a barbecue in the garden (because why not?!), or the opportunity for fine seasonal dining are also important to the winter traveller.
And of course the idea of restorative winter walks on deserted beaches or through the vast green countryside remains attractive to the traveller.
We would remark that while there is much to do in the Vendée in wintertime, unfortunately some of the sightseeing opportunities that makes this area so special–all things medieval–remains closed for the season. We sincerely hope this will change! Because of this, curated travel itineraries are even handier in winter. It's important to guide winter guests to what is available to them and to work that SEO into the business website.
From Boomers and skip-generation, to sharing expenses
Family and ‘multi-generational’ holidays, including ‘skip-gen’ trips, where grandparents take grandchildren on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, are on the rise.
The Boomer generation is now retiring (with money) and their top priorities are family and travel... family travel.
Family reunions, multi-generational holidays, bachelor -and bachelorette parties, even cycling holidays and girlfriend trips, lend themselves to group travel.
Large holiday homes, B&B manoirs and chateaux are popular options for accommodations.
Summer or winter, special occasions or just as a getaway... group travel is about togetherness as well as cost sharing among friends and family.
Trading skills for room & board, or camping space.
Need renovating off-season or maintenance/ help during the season? In exchange for room (or space) and some meals, travellers will happily strap their tool belt on and apply their skills to help with your renovation. Campgrounds and local fruit-growers also benefit from seasonal travellers.
In a multi-faceted demand and supply market, the global long-term travel movement fits like a glove.
Driven by travel blogging and excellent online/home-schooling options, it's no longer unusual for families to trade 'normal' life for the open roads in a camper-van.
Inviting skilled workers from this market, especially someone with a significant social media following can be of great benefit to any hospitality business. Impossible chores will finally be checked off that to-do list, you'll create memories and life-long friendships, all with minimum impact on your budget. If they have a social media following to boot, it's icing on the cake, because they'll blog/ talk/ share images of their journey.
At inthevendee.com (and Webservices.Dramatis) we have clients with holiday homes or campgrounds who turn to this market for help, and absolutely swear by it! One couple intends to build a hobbit house into the hill on their property and honestly we cannot wait to see how they tackle the project together with volunteers!
Trends are useful!
As travellers we catch a glimpse of what our fellow-travellers obsess about on social media. The inspiration for our next holiday destination is often rooted in Pinterest travel boards and Instagram stories. Statistics are a great way to help guide our business strategies. They allow us to tweak our offer, the SEO on our websites, even teach photography techniques! Travel is very much about filling a need in our society, in the moment. The way we travel hinges on changing weather patterns, geopolitical issues, and budget. Social media influences our decisions!
Hospitality small business should, in fact, use Facebook AND Instagram AND Pinterest as their three social media platforms.
Clever hospitality business proprietors in the Vendée are moving towards a golden period!
Tourism has been growing steadily in the area. We highly recommend you have a look at those statistics!
Today's travel trends such as rural travel, history, living like the locals do, unique experiences... they are not just trends, they are qualities that are inherently a part of the Vendée already. All you have to do is to connect the dots through strategic planning and advertising. How can the trends be translated in your business? How can you adjust your marketing and target groups?
Turn the 2019 Travel Trends into a path that leads new guests to your own website for direct bookings.
Images – pixabay
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