How Will You Travel This Year?
January 22nd 2016
By Samantha Lacher
Trendspotting in the travel industry is well underway for 2016, with all eyes on the hottest destinations, experiences, booking tools and apps. Here’s a snapshot of our personal favorites to watch for.
Brazil: With flights to South America on the rise in 2015 and the Olympics headed to Rio this summer, it’s no surprise Brazil is a must-visit. Brazil is especially top of mind here at Mfa because of our strong roots working with both summer and winter Olympic athletes and their sponsors, as well as Brazil’s culture, adventure, beaches and history. In case you missed it, visa requirements have been lifted for travelers from the US, Canada, Japan and Australia, June 1-September 18.
Cuba: We are eager for commercial flights and cruise travel to open broadly for travelers. With more than 20 years of Caribbean destinations and hospitality experience, we’re not only excited to experience Cuba ourselves, but know that a strong “new” player enticing US visitation will strengthen the region as a whole.
Uruguay: One more Western Hemisphere choice from our team. We’re dreaming about Uruguay’s art and natural beauty. Plus, its CNN’s leading ethical destination in green energy.
Sri Lanka: The mix of mountain, water and history make this an Mfa travelers’ dream!
Bleisure travel: With US travelers leaving vacation days on the table every year, a growing number will extend their business trips for a few days, bringing friends or family along and dedicating time to exploring new destinations.
Adventure travel is on the rise all over the world, with luxury travelers in particular seeking more active experiences. This winter, Canyons and Park City, two Ski Utah properties, merged to create 7,300 skiable acres. On the East Coast, the historic Chatham Bars Inn is creating new sailing and boating opportunities for guests. Out in Colorado, The Little Nell is offering Star Gazing Tours that provide guests with private jeep tours with an astronomy expert to see meteor showers, shooting stars and constellations.
Authentic family experiences: The ongoing trend of travelers seeking immersive and authentic experiences is extending to even the smallest travelers. Starwood’s Westin and Le Meridien brands are leading the hospitality charge in this space, recently unveiling destination-driven interactive family programming and refreshed Kids Club experiences that reflect Westin and Le Meridien’s distinctive brand positions.
Digital Detox: In a time when we are all connected all the time, a growing number of travelers are taking time to disconnect while they’re on the road. We may be a little biased, but we are loving Westin’s Out of Office Generator, developed in conjunction with McSweeney’s, to help travelers craft cheeky and destination-relevant out of office messages for their email and social media accounts.
Customer Service is the name of the game in the technology space, according to the PSFK 2016 Future of Travel Report, with a growing number of hotel brands and tour companies providing live chat options, profiles that transfer across mobile devices and store preferences and searches for later booking, and more.
Connecting with Locals: The last few months have seen a tremendous increase in apps linking travelers with locals who can provide them with authentic experiences that go beyond what is written about in guide books. A few of our favorites include Travelling Spoon, Side Story, and Localeur.
With a serious case of wanderlust and the tools to make travel easy, we’ve got our vacation days cut out for us!
Samantha is a Director at Mfa, leveraging her combined journalism and marketing experience to integrate messaging across multiple platforms. With a longtime passion for tourism and hospitality, and a newfound interest in baby/toddler products, she focuses on developing client and media outreach strategies and guiding the team in conceptualizing story ideas and creating meaningful opportunities for various accounts.