The term "trend" is certainly not something new to society. It has long been a phrase that touches just about every aspect of our lives to some degree. And you guessed it, that includes group trips as well. Group travel trends have faced decades of both planned and unforeseen factors (like the Covid-19 pandemic) that steered the group trip industry as a whole in different directions.
A Year of Travel Trends in Review
Each year brings a new set of trends that either add to or replace existing trends to enhance the group travel experience in some meaningful way. With 2021 coming to a close, now is no better time to reminisce about all the different group travel trends that peaked during this time - a year review that can help you reflect on your group trips from this year and get excited about the future trips to come. Let’s take a look at some of the top trends that defined the year.
International Travel Gained Traction
When the pandemic emerged in 2020, international travel plummeted by about 70-75%. Because of that, people were much more likely to partake in staycations instead to help solidify safety and slow spread. Fast forward to 2021, domestic travel was and still is dominating the industry (82% of documented travelers stayed local), but international travel gained traction yet again, coming in at 31% of the total 2021 planned trips. In short, international travel hovered around 40% below the pre-pandemic stats in the first eight months of the year but had risen towards the end of the year. With the evolving situation of the pandemic, this could well fall again but a return to international travel was a defining trend for 2021.
Pod Traveling Spike
Travel pods are another group travel trend that emerged from 2020 as a way to enjoy a group trip safely and securely during uncertain times. While pod-based travel was a big trend in 2020, it continued going strong throughout 2021 and will likely continue for quite some time. For those unfamiliar, a travel pod is defined as a group trip derived by a small network of people in your circle to reduce the covid-19 spread and lower the risk of contracting it yourself. This group trip trend was in its prime in 2020 and the first half of the 2021 year. Today, it did become less apparent as vaccinations rates have increased and travel restrictions have loosened, but it is still an ongoing wellness practice that may just stick around for the long haul.
Digitalization and Travel Technology
The demand for technology is and will forever be a trend that evolves as time does. However, the desire for digitalization and the use of technology in group trips has skyrocketed over the last two years, fully peaking in 2021 as people started venturing out again. From COVID passports to online check-ins, digital key cards, and more, the group travel trends possessing these assets have gone from luxuries to full-blown necessities when it comes to travel relations. Even the planning stages of group travel are run on tech with group travel platforms like GroupTools for safe, effective, contactless planning and the digitization of tickets and ticket distribution for activities and attractions.
What makes this trend even more interesting is that even as the dust has settled from the year prior, the year 2021 has set a new precedent for the requirement of cutting-edge technology in the travel sphere, a stepping-stone that will likely make the upcoming years even more hyper-focused on amplifying the modernized experiences in this market.
Did you know that 69% of United States travelers state that sustainable travel was important to them in 2020? Along with that, about half of those surveyed proactively went out of their way to make sustainable choices when making travel/group travel plans. Remembering that above stat, as of March 2021, 83% of people have stated sustainable travel is important. Based on the numbers alone, sustainable tourism has become an ever-rising trend across the travel board, hitting an all-time-high vouch percentage in 2021.
People today are more environmentally conscious than ever before, and they are striving to make their accommodations, attractions, and transportation more environmentally friendly. This involves reducing the carbon footprint of travel while visiting new places and being diligent in recycling to reduce any possible impacts tourism could cause on the present and future social, environmental, and economic structure of a destination.
Setting The Pace for 2022
There is no denying that group travel trends are always changing to meet the objectives needs of group travelers. Due in large part to the Covid-19 pandemic, the year 2021 was inevitably the rebound era, when people began to indulge their wanderlust again. No, the world of travel and organizing group trips is not exactly back to full-on normalcy, but it has made a large dent throughout the year thus far to reignite the itch to venture.
The best part is that this rise in group travel and the coinciding trends will likely continue to grow and set the pace for 2022 to become a year of "no holding back." It will be interesting to see what 2021 trends will bleed into the new year, which ones will fade, and which ones will become the falling domino that leads to something even better. Whatever trends you embrace when planning your group trips, GroupTools is here to simplify your planning process and make it safe and stress-free. Visit www.GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning today.