Top 5 Travel Trends for 2014

Americans took 2.1 billion business and leisure trips in 2013, which is 100 million more than the year before. Along with people traveling more, we have seen some major shifts in how people are planning and experiencing trips. Here is a list of the top five travel trends we have seen this year.

Visual Itineraries

If you had a wedding before Pinterest hit the market, then you probably wish you had a “do-over.” Pinterest is an event planner’s dream tool.  It is also a traveler’s best friend. The Four Seasons is giving guests the power of choice and enticing them to be their own travel agent by promoting “Pin.Pack.Go.” Create a Pinterest board to plan an upcoming trip and the hotel will provide you with a destination expert at the property you’re planning to stay.  They’ll collaborate with you and pin insider recommendations to your board. For more recommendations on how to create a Pinterest board to plan an upcoming trip, read “Better Travel Planning with Pinterest Place Boards” by Megan Duggan, our digital media specialist.

Will Travel for Food

Today there are more TV shows about food, chefs and cooking than there are about doctors, cops and lawyers and people are eating them up with a spoon. People are becoming educated about good food and where to get it, and it makes for a huge driving force behind travel destinations. According to Mandala Research, LLC, there are three kinds of food tourists:

  • The “deliberate” who specifically travels just for food
  • The “opportunistic” who goes on a trip to seek out food and drink but it is not a deciding factor in choosing the destination
  • The “accidental” who partakes in food and drink just because it’s there

The demographic of “food travel” may seem like a niche, except, according to the Institute of Food Technologists three-quarters of U.S. adults enjoy talking about new or interesting foods, and the total sales of specialty food reached $75.1 billion in 2011.

Homes Over Hotels

You know what they say, there’s no place like…someone else’s home. Maybe it’s for comfort or perhaps it’s for the kitchen, whatever the reason, travelers are choosing homes over hotels. Did you know Airbnb just received a valuation of more than $10 billion? Comparatively, Hyatt is valued at $8.43 billion and Wyndham at $9.39. Not only is Airnbnb worth more than a few major hotel chains, they are filling more room nights than Hilton hotels. According to research by HR&A Advisors, Airbnb guests stay an average of two days longer per stay and spend $260 more.

Hotels Must be Photogenic

A picture is worth a thousand words and possibly a thousand more tourists. 52 percent of Facebook users said their friends’ photos inspired their holiday choice and 74 percent used social media while on vacation. This means travel destinations need to photograph well. Sochi knew they would be the backdrop for Olympian social posts around the globe, and according to, they spent over $51 billion prepping for the event and it’s been reported that only $6 billion of it was actually Olympic-event related.

Hotel Office Space

Marriot is now offering 200 locations with pop-up offices through their workspace on-demand program. It won’t have your stapler or framed picture of your family, but it will let you be efficient while on the road. According to Westin Hotels & Resorts, 75 percent of workers in the U.S. are working on the go, meaning they do not have a steady office location one day a week or more. Hotels have a huge opportunity to gain revenue from rooms that would normally be empty during the week. In addition to business travels, almost half of U.S. employees say they check their work email while on vacation and hotels are starting to cash in.

Gone are the days where you could get by with clean hotel rooms and a continental breakfast. Yeah, those things don’t hurt, but today’s traveler is more interested in having a unique experience that feels tailored to them. Make your destination stand out by implementing some of these trends, or better yet, get to know your targeted audience and start making your own trends.

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