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#BizTrends 2019: 2019, a year to reconnect, revitalise and re-engage

The buzzword for 2018 was conscious travel. People were interested in carbon footprint, contributing to communities and supporting local economies.

The buzzword for 2019 is "Transformative Holidays" - it is the year of reconnecting, revitalising (mind, body and spirit), and re-engaging. It will be about travel that transforms you, allowing you to take something meaningful back with you from your holiday.
People are looking for happiness and to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones - family and friends. With this in mind, we anticipate a few key trends in 2019.

Globally, a growing middle-class, prosperous citizen and the ease of travel have made it possible for millions of people to venture out into the world.

©softlight69 via 123RF

1. A more international client


In 2017, MoveHub conducted a study using data from the World Bank and the World Tourism Organisation and looked at the number of international tourist departures from 111 countries from the years 2007 to 2016 to determine which citizens made the most amount of international trips per capita.

The citizens of Hong Kong were revealed to be the world’s most prolific travellers, with each Hongkonger taking a mammoth 11.4 international tourist trips a year. Luxembourg came in second place, where each person from Luxembourg took 2.56 trips per year; in third place was Hungary where each person took 1.62 trips per year. Globally, a growing middle-class, prosperous citizen and the ease of travel have made it possible for millions of people to venture out into the world.

This thus means that we see clientele becoming more "international" than ever and the trend is set to grow.

Previously, two in three clients at a Club Med resort were French, with the other third coming from the rest of the world. In 2018, only one-third of clients at Club Med resorts were French, with the majority now being made up of a largely diverse international audience – including South Africans, a market we see growing at a rapid rate with people looking more and more for reasons to reconnect their lives.

travel brands will need to make more effort than ever before to manage the expectations and cater to the needs of this incredibly diverse audience.

In order to cater to this diversity of nationalities and cultures, we as an industry need to take into account the needs of the different nationalities.

This means that when we welcome clients, we need to fit their expectations. At Club Med, we know the portfolio of every client is different which is why we have over 50 different nationalities catered for (by means of G.Os) in every resort around the world, and this grows year-on-year to cater to this trend.

In 2019 and beyond, travel brands will need to make more effort than ever before to manage the expectations and cater to the needs of this incredibly diverse audience – which will be an essential step in creating ambassadors for a brand that will drive long-term loyalty and love for the brand.

2. Personalisation


This generation of international clientele has grown up in a digital world where they are very connected – they are thus very aware of what is available to them (and if they aren’t, the solution is as simple as "Google it".)

This digitalisation has created a very "switched on" consumer who wants to try new and unique things that are tailored to their preference. Brands are having to do a lot more in the 21st-century to attract and retain clients, and a big part of this is the personalisation of experience throughout the customer journey; it is important to know who our customers are, when they’re browsing and when they are ready to book. The journey continues right up until the point they return a holiday and are ready to book their next exciting destination.

To do this well, it is vital for companies to ensure their staff have (and fully understand) the digital tools at their disposal, in order to effectively anticipate the clients' needs, tailor the experience and offering to their needs, and deliver on that exceptionally.

It is key to understand the customer journey, the touchpoints and the type of information they wish to receive at each. We have to be able to respond and operate in real time. In the past, before the world became a global village, we could say that we were ahead of our customer all the time. Things have changed, customers are more exposed to information which is why we have to work extra hard to ensure that is still able to anticipate our customers at every step of the journey.

This personalisation goes beyond just tailor-making a holiday to a clients’ needs – it’s also tailoring the entire strategy and offering by a brand, for consumers. In 2019 I feel we are going to see more brands personally engaging clients to be a part of their strategy planning, product and service offering development, and actual implementation – leveraging and engaging clients on a whole new level. Brands who ask clients about their experiences - what the brand can do better and enhance the experience and more - will see great success in 2019.

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3. Reconnecting and rediscovering with families


In an extremely busy and connected world, digital is not the only distraction people are facing; it also works, business meetings and things in their daily life. More people are looking to take time away from being "always-on-and-on-the-go" to spend quality time reconnecting with their loved ones and rediscovering new things about themselves, because their daily lives don’t allow for this.

In 2019 we will see more people making a concerted effort to choose a vacation that will suit their and their partner/family’s needs and desires to do as much or as little as they like, together, to bond and reconnect.

In addition to this, the "traditional" family dynamic has changed drastically.

With more "blended" families, single-parent households and many other diverse family and partner make-ups, spending quality time together are more important to people than ever before. With this diversity comes the need for destinations and holidays that cater to the various interests and needs of the entire family – but, which ultimately provide an environment within which they can spend quality time together and share in amazing experiences (be it through sport, relaxation, celebration and more).

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In line with this, I feel that we will see more multi-generational holidays (also known as three-generational holidays) happening in 2019, where everyone from the grandparents, to the parents and their kids, will all take a vacation together to a destination or resort that caters to the needs of everyone – all in a bid to reconnect and build upon family bonds.


4. Wellness trips that transform you


The amount of information at our disposal (about travel, food choices, brand options and more) can be almost unbearable, and digital distractions are at an all-time high. The increase of international clientele, specifically from the Asian market, has also increased the desire of travellers for a more active holiday More people are craving wellness escapes and more meaningful experiences and engagements - be it with a brand, or on holiday - that will inspire and change them and their lives for the better.

In 2019 travel brands will need to better prepare themselves to sell and market other destinations and types of holidays to clients.

This desire for inspiration and transformation has already started to dictate what types of holidays people choose, and I feel that it will increase dramatically in 2019. People want to be more active on their holidays; they want to engage in activities on their holiday that will transform them (body, mind, and soul) and see them returning home feeling like a new person.

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Destinations like Bali, Bintan, Phuket, Maldives and holidays that provide travellers with unique experiences (be it in the form of personal wellness, quality time with family, trying something for the first time, learning new things or challenging themselves) will not only see great success, but also a much happier and more fulfilled client.

5. New destinations based on (unpredictable) weather


Across the globe, the weather has become increasingly unpredictable with climate change – and this has had a big effect on the type of holidays people choose. Weather determines levels of comfort for clients on a holiday (ie: not too hot and not too cold) and also creates the environmental conditions that clients require for particular activities while on holiday. That said, in 2019 travel brands will need to better prepare themselves to sell and market other destinations and types of holidays to clients.

2019 will be about transforming one’s self, finding a deeper meaning and sense of purpose to life.

Offering clients more choice such as summer mountain escapes or wellness retreats and more, where weather factors won’t make or break their holiday choice, will be essential.

This is particularly important for South African travellers where we think of snow each time the French Alps is mentioned. The snow-capped mountains of winter transform into the most breathtaking green arena for hiking, mountain biking, cycling, water skiing and many more fun outdoor activities. The fresh air, smells, sounds, and great weather all makes for a great summer mountain experience in Europe.

2019 will be about transforming one’s self, finding a deeper meaning and sense of purpose to life.
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