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Published by Nicole Kow | Dec 8, 2017 | | 6 MIN READ

Travel trends that will drive the tourism industry in 2018 and 2019


1. 'Personalization' is the keyword for 2018

Personalization is the name of the game in 2018 when it comes to the travel customer experience. (Skift, 2018)

57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

If a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% would be likely to pay more for their services. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017) 


2. And industry leaders agree

In a recent interview, GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck said that ‘true success in the future of travel comes down to personalization.’ (Tnooz, 2018)

Google’s Vice President of Engineering for Travel and Shopping, Oliver Heckmann, says that nearly 60% of consumers believe that their travel experience should deploy the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and base their search results on past behaviors and/or personal preferences. Google’s data shows that 36% of consumers are willing to pay more for these personalized experiences. (PhocusWire, 2017)

James Waters, Global Director of Customer Service at said “as we operate in an industry that is incredibly personal, emotional and complex, maintaining the right balance between genuine human interaction and efficient automation is something we're always trying to fine-tune and optimize throughout every stage of the consumer journey.” (, 2017)

Rashesh Jethi, SVP of engineering for Americas and head of innovation for Airlines at Amadeus IT  Group recently said AI, is “a broad umbrella that frankly stands for everything we haven’t been able to figure out yet." (PhocusWire, 2018)


3. Booking by mobile continues to increase found that 80% of customers prefer to self-serve in order to get the information that they need. (TechRadar, 2018)

Smartphone users

Source: Google Consumer Insights, 2018

In the US, data shows that 26% of travel searches in the fourth quarter of last year occurred on a mobile device. In other parts of the world, it’s even higher: Travel searches conducted on a mobile device totaled 47% in Europe; 40% in Asia; 38% in the Middle East and Africa; and 34% in Latin America. (Sojern Global Travel Insights, 2018)


4. Mobile phones aren't just being used to book flights and hotels

Over 70% of U.S. travelers agree that they “always” use their smartphones when traveling, up from 41% in 2015. Travelers most frequently use their mobile devices to research activities or attractions, to locate shopping areas and restaurants, or to look up directions. (Google Consumer Insights, 2018)


5. Users are more comfortable with digital assistance

70% of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, meaning that people are getting more comfortable having conversations with computers. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

Over 1 in 3 travelers across countries are interested in using digital assistants to research or book travel, and they’re already searching for everything from hotels to flights, and things to do in-destination. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)


6. Online Travel Agents (OTAs) still have a visibility advantage

Using the key phrase "hotel tenerife", Hermann Valsson looked at the ten countries sending the most tourists to the popular holiday destination. Searches on the phrase in the United Kingdom, which accounts for 34% of visitors to Tenerife, had ten out of ten of the organic results coming via online travel agencies, according to the research. Span, Germany, Ireland and Denmark all had ten out of ten links to OTAs. (PhocusWire, 2018)

Read more: How to connect to multiple online marketplaces


7. Last minute booking searches are up

Travel-related searches for "tonight" and "today" have grown over 150% on mobile, over the past two years. (Google Data, 2017)

72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travelers happened within a 48-hour window prior to the booking. Travelers want more flexibility, which mobile devices have delivered leading to a greater propensity to book last-minute. (Sojern Global Travel Insights, 2018)

More than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal. (Google/Phocuswright, 2017)

38% of bookings are made on the same day or two-days before a trip, 53% are made within a week of a trip, and just 19% are made in advance. (PhocusWright, 2017)


8. Traveler destinations have changed

Kayak released their 2018 travel hacker guide based on identified cities around the world with the greatest year-over-year increase in search between March 3, 2017 and February 28, 2018. Top of the leader-board was Maui, Hawaii with a 51% increase in searches, followed by Barcelona, Bali, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Las Vegas, Madrid, Athens, Paris and Rome. (Kayak, 2018)

The Travel Market Report which analyses 2018 summer bookings by American travelers confirms the top European destinations are London (+4.63% from 2017), Paris (+5.97%) and Reykjavik (+6.06%). (Travel Market Report, 2018)


9. And budgets are increasing

Travel spend is increasing year on year. The average international trip for American travelers now costs $6,080. Norway was the most expensive destination for American travelers, with an average trip cost of $9,754. (Squaremouth, 2018)

In January 2018, travel spending on desktop computers averaged 350 to 460 euros-per-buyer, for EU5 countries. Germany had the highest average spend per buyer, however France had the biggest increase in average spend with 62% year on year growth when compared to January 2017. (EU Travel Report, 2018)

Key Takeaways:


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Nicole Kow
Published by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.
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