Euromonitor’s said the four trends, outlined in Best of Britain & Ireland Top Trends Report, would have a ‘direct impact on business growth’ for tourism and hospitality businesses.
It added that by staying abreast of these four key areas, operators could plan for future challenges and create strategies resulting in growth.
HS2 rail link
Pointing to falling UK domestic trips in areas such as the North East, Yorkshire and North West, the report said the HS2 rail link would help ‘revitalise’ domestic tourism by improving access to remote areas for visitors, as well as encouraging more regional business meetings.
It added that the link would improve investment opportunities in the Midlands, Scotland and London, encouraging growth for both business and leisure travel.
The first phase of HS2 is due to open in 2026, and Euromonitor said the travel and tourism industry should take advantage by investing in locations on the improved routes.
Gadgets and technology
Turning to technology, the report predicted that gadgets will become increasingly important in UK tourism and improve the travel experience by ‘placing more control in the hands of British travellers’.
The report said the number of ‘wearable’ technologies in the UK will grow by 90 per cent between 2013 and 2018. It added these technologies will appeal to urban, under-40s from middle-class households and could be used to offer alerts, locations and notifications.
It said Google Glass, which will respond to a user’s voice and deliver directional information into their field of vision, could become a ‘remarkable feature for travel’.
Looking further into the future, the report said that driverless cars offered ‘interesting potential’ for business travellers, but were unlikely to go mainstream for another 10 years.
“Connected cars, on the other hand, allow consumers to find tourist information, book hotels and other travel services directly from their cars,” said Euromonitor.
Euromonitor also predicted a growth in peer-to-peer sharing of information, goods and services.
“A new social culture has formed as a result of the economic recession, and consumers are sharing much more than before,” said Euromonotir.
“Peer sharing is dual sided, offering transparent reviews, local travel suggestions and unique discoveries. It is also financially driven, with sharing being used to reduce the cost of goods and services.”
The report said peer-to-peer sharing was particularly apparent in travel accommodation, adding that hoteliers ‘hoteliers will have to work harder to compete for the 21st century consumer, as they will demand greater flexibility in their travel needs’.
However, it added that travel blogs such as Skip Town and Mr & Mrs Smith were ‘a strong marketing tool for tour operators to boost visibility and reach.’
With the UK’s over 60s population forecast to reach 16m by 2020, Euromonitor said the tourism industry would need to offer more products tailored to ‘the golden traveller’.
“Currently there are only a handful of operators catering to those requiring specialist care whilst also alleviating the pressure felt by families and carers,” said Euromonitor.
“There is a clear gap in the market for accessible and respite tourism, representing an opportunity for travel companies to create tailor-made products for this sector that is only set to grow in the coming years.”