Travel Trends: 2016 and Beyond

Travel Trends: 2016 and Beyond

Posted by  Ryan Gallant

The travel industry is one of constant change, with headline news acquisitions, rapid online growth, and constant new technology. In reviewing 2015 and looking to the future, there are some definite industry trends for 2016 and beyond:

A focus on developing talent

The industry is embracing new ways of attracting the next generation of talent. To further develop and invest in future travel industry leaders, many organizations including Travel Leaders Group, Travel and Transport, and Ovation Travel Group have developed their own corporate travel schools, varying in format from online programs to partnerships with community technical colleges. Students are being familiarized with industry software before they start their careers at Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts where Ovation Travel leads a 50-hour Sabre training program.

Adopting new technologies

Hand in hand with developing talent comes empowering employees with technology that allows them to work efficiently and overcome the digital downgrade. All too often, employees are met by antiquated systems and processes and leave behind the mobile applications, smart technologies and gadgets of their personal lives. As the travel industry is known for being an early adopter. Sabre launched the first web-enabled and software-as-a-service (SaaS) central-reservation system twenty years ago, long before the term “cloud” had even been coined.

Fast forward to 2016, companies are adopting solutions to make customer and employee experiences seamless, automated and efficient. Looking beyond the front-office, companies can realize great value in modernizing their back office by embracing cloud, mobile, social, and collaborative technologies. Companies will increasingly adopt these technologies to increase efficiency and meet the demands of a new workforce.

Continued industry growth

The industry is constantly growing in many ways. Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are becoming larger and new TMCs are rapidly growing, new markets are emerging, and new destinations are coming increasingly popular. 2015 was a year of consolidation as industry giants acquired competitors, including Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz, Direct Travel’s acquisition of Peak Travel, and Frosch Travel’s acquisition of Teplis Travel. New boutique agencies are focusing on niche travel markets. Formerly disconnected destinations are coming online with increased broadband connections and credit card acceptance, adding new inventory to the online market.

Increased focus on meeting & event services

TMCs are diversifying their focus by acquiring meeting and event companies or expanding current business lines to further complement their presence in this space. Because of this increased focus and growth they are becoming top providers of end-to-end meeting and event services to associations, tradeshows, corporations and governments.

What emerging industry trends are you seeing? Share your insight by commenting below.

Ryan at Unit4

Ryan Gallant

Ryan is Marketing & Event Coordinator at Unit4 in North America.  He's interested in the travel industry, event management and technology.