What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Do travelers dare to make travel plans again in 2021? What are the key travel trends for 2021? Don't wait for the travel season to start again and prepare yourself now. The trends in this article will help you get started!

March 2, 2021

* This article is written for hoteliers. Do you run a restaurant or are you another type of entrepreneur in the travel industry? All tips will certainly apply to your business!

#TREND 1: Technology is the new normal

What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Technology is booming! During the COVID-19 period, there was much more use of technology for hygienic reasons. Examples are: contactless payments and automatic check-ins via tablets. Robots were also used to provide room service and to guide guests.  

Technology is also used to encourage future guests to book. For example, searching for hotels is made easier through voice search and virtual reality lets future guests take a look inside your hotel. Chatbots help customers with their questions through the reservation process. Have you met Chatbot Velma yet?

#TREND 2: New travel preferences

Social media

Travelers want to share their experiences with friends. The ideal way to do this is through social media. You can capitalize on this by linking activities to your trips and by selling packages. In addition, you can use user generated content as an asset to highlight your offerings. Be sure to read our article on social media trends for more tips!

What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Work & travel

Digital work environments are hot! Travelers want to have the necessary space and tranquility in their accommodation to continue their work digitally. Placing a desk in the rooms or providing workspace in the lobby or bar is recommended to meet the needs these travelers. A strong WiFi connection is also crucial here.  

Millenials and thrill seeking

Active people that are between 25 and 40 years old (Millenials) are becoming the most important target group for travel. They want to experience a lot of adventure while traveling and are looking for excitement and sensation, also known as thrill seeking.


#TREND 3: Lower carbon footprint and supporting local culture

What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Lower carbon footprint

Is your hotel's energy consumption high? Does your hotel use a lot of water for washing linen and towels? Travelers are increasingly aware of the importance of a low footprint and demand that you, as a hotel or B&B, take more account of nature.  

You can respond to this trend by finding ways to become more ecological. Examples are: washing towels only if the traveler specifically asks for it, having less food waste and installing a maximum temperature for the heating. Don't forget to mention these ecological advantages on your website!  

Local culture

In 2021 travelers prefer to support local communities during their trip. Research by Amadeus shows that 68% of travelers want that the money they spend on their trips goes back to the local community.  

You can tackle this trend by forming partnerships with local businesses to support the community. You can then communicate about this on your website and socials.  

"68% of travelers want that the money they spend on their trips goes back to the local community."


#TREND 4: OTA-usage remains high, but direct bookings are rising

OTA usage remains high in Europe. Reasons for this are:

  • Broad choice: OTAs offer a one stop shop where guests can easily book their entire trip (accommodation, transportation, packages, etc.)
  • Price: guests often have the misperception that OTAs are the cheapest way to book. In addition, OTAs also offer the opportunity to compare prices.
  • Convenience: OTAs are accessible on all types of devices, both websites and apps exist. It is also easier to book everything through the previously mentioned one stop shop.
  • Quality: guests often associate the well-known name of the OTA with a good quality accommodation.
What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?
What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

But, the COVID-19 period was also marked by an increase in direct bookings. In 2020, we saw a sharp increase in direct bookings. On average, almost 20% of all bookings happened directly. That is an increase of 65% compared to 2019. So it's more important than ever to make sure you have a good website and provide it with a smooth booking process. Don't hesitate to take a look at our hospitality websites and the corresponding booking engine.

Finding the right balance

Finding a good balance between direct and OTA bookings is crucial. The advantage of OTAs is that they offer enhanced visibility, but at the same time they charge commission and make it harder to build a relationship with your customers. So an ideal scenario is a combination of both. The use of a channel manager is recommended to quickly adjust your prices and availability on all booking channels and thus avoid overbookings.  

What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Direct bookings: more profit

Direct bookings are commission-free and therefore provide more profit. You can increase your direct bookings by having a good website with a price comparison tool that puts your cheaper price in the spotlight. A smooth online booking process through a booking engine is also a must. Discover more tips to maximize your direct bookings.  

#TREND 5: Last-minute vs. Early bird

What are the biggest travel trends of 2021?

Spontaneity is becoming the new way to go for travelers. Last year there was a lot of uncertainty about travel measures, which means that it wasn’t possible to plan trips ahead. Last-minute bookings were therefore very popular, this is a trend that will continue! Travelers will be more and more impulsive. According to research by Hotels.com, 32% of travelers want to make spontaneous decisions. They want to make up for missed trips and they don’t want to wait any longer.

But, at the same time, another trend is also coming up. Our own research shows that by the end of 2020, customers were increasingly opting for long-term vacation plans. The advent of vaccinations may have something to do with this.  

Whether you want to convince your customers with early bird or last-minute promotions, flexibility is and will always remain very important!

Are you convinced to get started and to prepare yourself for these new travel trends? Use the form to claim your free trail of our products now and start growing with Stardekk!

Do you have further questions? We're there for you!

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