Travel Trends 2018: Exploring and Adventuring In New Ways


I’ve become quite a fanatical world traveler over the last couple of years and yet still so many places to go. Which is why I am so excited about next year – I will be checking off 5 destinations from my “No Regrets List” including:

  •  Antarctica  – doing the Nat Geo Expedition in January (paid the balance this week, so it’s real)
  • Nordic countries – selforganizing a 4-week sojourn to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki in June/July

But there is always so much more to see and experience. Here are 3 travel trends to keep an eye on if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug as I have:

#1:  Top 100 weekend getaway destinations per weekenGO

WeekenGO is a great app to plan weekend jaunts to over 1000 cities around the world. They recently did a very comprehensive analysis of top destinations booked by millennials, families and boomers.

  • London is #1 destination worldwide, followed by Berlin
  • Nine of the top ten cities are in Europe. New York is the only exception (#7)
  • Germany accounts for three of the top ten: Berlin (2), Hamburg (4) and Munich (8)
  • Spain grabs two spots: Barcelona (9) and Madrid (10).
  • Vienna (3), Paris (5) and Amsterdam (6) also make the top 10.
  • The top destination for millennials is Berlin, with Vienna best for families and Zurich #1 for baby boomers.
  • Edinburgh made the top ten for millennials, families and baby boomers, but failed to make the overall top ten, while Prague ranked in the top five for families and baby boomers.

Good news for my Nordic sojourn, all my cities made it to the top 100: Stockholm (15), Copenhagen (#16), Oslo (25), Helsinki (26).

Read on below for top hotel trends and top destinations for Meetings and Conventions attendees.

#2:  TOP HOTEL TRENDS (Source: Independent Lodging Congress)

Micro-rooms and big public spaces

  • The hotel might have 300 rooms (where the same size property would have had 200 in the past) but a cool hotel today will offer lots of working and socializing spaces.
  • Co-working, co-living and hospitality are merging.
  • These hotels have limited services – no room service or concierge – but they offer a high-quality product at an affordable price.

Hotels will “pop up”

  • Black Tomato, a tour operator, offers a program called Blink where the locations and design of temporary hotels are crowdsourced by customers.
  • Those customers then get to stay in the pop-up for a short time before it is taken down.
  • Check out the website, it’s a cool concept!

Hotels will tie in with arts and other institutions

  • Main Street Hospitality operates a hotel called The Porches Inn across the street from MASS MoCA, a museum in North Adams, Mass., and works closely with it.
  • Hotels will also tie into academic and other institutions as part of the move toward finding experiences through hospitality.

Retail brands will continue to move into lodging.

  • Lifestyle companies like West Elm have huge customer databases and advantages like being able to furnish hotels at a far lower cost.

Extended stay will get cooler.

  • A new brand called Zoku is opening properties with highly designed, residential loft spaces.

Food halls in hotels become more common.

  • Hotels are looking for ways to grow revenue and food halls – featuring outlets from local restaurants – are very popular with both guests and locals.

Grab n’ grow is growing.

  • With the elimination of room service in many hotels, the ability to pick up food in the lobby 24/7 is becoming standard.

Seeing the Future (Source: Deanna Ting, hospitality editor of Skift)

  • Hotels cross industry categories e.g. you can now book a restaurant on Airbnb while Hyatt just bought its second wellness brand (Exhale)
  • Independent hotels will target not just millennials but the 50+ market who have more to spend.
  • Hotels will make local experiences part of the stay – as with Marriott’s investment in PlacePass, an activities company; and Airbnb’s Trips (hosts take guests on local tours)
  • Rooms become voice-activated. The Wynn Las Vegas is adding Amazon Echos to all 4,700 rooms to control lighting, temperature, etc.
  • AI for heightened personalization of the guests’ stay through knowledge of past and stated preferences.


#3:  Meeting and Convention Attendees Prefer Off-The-Beaten Path Destinations (Source: Pacific World)

Travelers increasingly want to visit remote places, or experience known destinations in new ways e.g.

  • In Scotland, groups can explore the countryside via new “whiskey trails.”
  • In China, they can experience a secluded Shaolin Temple near Luoyang.

Demand for European destinations has increased 44%.

  •  Demand for Spain is hot, especially Barcelona and Madrid.
  • Emerging destinations include Malaga and Tenerife.

Old standbys like London, Paris, Rome, Monaco and Germany remain popular – but new destinations like Peru are gaining ground.

Top Asian destinations are Thailand (18%), China (15%), Indonesia (14%) and Hong Kong (13%).

Share this post on: