A Decade of Skift Megatrends in Travel

Skift Take

This is your PhD in travel, a fascinating read for those who want a deep dive into the most fascinating industry on this planet.

This year, 2022, marks a decade of Skift, a decade where travel has seen the highest highs and the unimaginable lowest lows.

Through those years one thing that remained consistent for those reading Skift: our annual franchise on Megatrends that define travel over the year and beyond, thousands of hours of reporting and analysis by our editorial and research teams distilled annually into these reported pieces on where the future of travel is going. It started when we first released the humbly named “The 12 Biggest Travel Trends Over The Past Year” in January 2013 as a precursor to the year, five months into our official launch as a company.

The amateurishly designed PDF of trends graduated into Megatrends, the online launch turned into an evening event in New York City, we made the package into a gorgeously produced print magazine starting 2014 and by 2019 we were doing a dozen global cities mega-launch of these Megatrends. A decade of Skift Megatrends read is a PhD through the evolution — and in some cases revolution — of travel in this century, the global democratization of travel revealed in all its warts and promises.

This franchise of 126 trends over the 10 years has become Skift’s biggest annual launch, and this year on January 19, we’ll officially release our 10th edition of the package. Do join us live virtually for the launch and a new addition this year, industry leaders discussing these Megatrends. You can watch live or listen in on demand anytime after, and download the digital magazine package starting Wednesday as well.

Below, we figured it made sense to list out all the annual trends/megatrends we have covered through the years, some that panned out, some didn’t and some morphed into new trends along the way. All in all, a fascinating read for those who want a deep dive into the most fascinating industry on this planet. Each year’s headlines below link to the page where you can download the full copy of that year’s package.

2013 Megatrends:

  1. Everyone Wants A Chinese Tourist
  2. Ancillary Fees Are The New Normal
  3. Last-minute Mobile Hotel Booking
  4. The Rise Of Price Transparency
  5. Travelers Are Hungry For Food Tourism
  6. Airports As Destinations
  7. Destination Branding Through Movies
  8. Digital Maps Are One Of Travel’s Key Battlegrounds
  9. Personal In-flight Entertainment Through Mobile Devices
  10. Affordable Design At Hotels
  11. Blurring Of Business And Leisure Travel
  12. Cementing Of The Gulf As The Next Great Global Aviation Hub
  13. Lure Of The Last Unknown: The Rise Of Myanmar

2014 Megatrends:

  1.  Rise of The Silent Traveler
  2.  Blurring of Business and Leisure Travel
  3.  Curation Is Coming To Travel Listings
  4.  Visuals are the New Language of Marketing in Travel
  5.  The Rise of Smart Design In Travel
  6.  Substandard Travel Startups Abound
  7.  Continued Rise of Chinese Independent Traveler
  8.  Rise of Local in Hospitality
  9.  Low-Cost Carriers Continue to Eat the World
  10.  The Relaxation of Visa Regulations
  11.  Alternative Transportation on the Ascendant
  12.  Sharing Economy Turns from Disruption to Collaboration
  13.  Airlines and Airports Finally Deliver on Self-Serve
  14.  Continued Rise of Metasearch

2015 Megatrends:

  1. Hospitality is driving innovation in travel
  2. The Conferences and Events Industry is Going Through a Creative Renaissance
  3. The Rise of the Boutique Destination
  4. The Rise of Ubiquitous Booking
  5. Mobile Pay and Wearable Tech Move From Concept to Real-World Disruptor
  6. Travel Brands Reimagine Themselves as Lifestyle Connoisseurs
  7. The Real and Literal Disruption of Travel Is a Real Threat
  8. The Online Travel Duopoly Won’t Reign Forever
  9. Alternative Travel Is Now a Reality Across the World
  10. Downsizing On Design & Move Towards Simplicity
  11. Shining Light On The Dark Period: Mobile is Moving In-Market

2016 Megatrends:

  1. The Travel Industry Is Now Ready For A 360-Degree View of The Traveler
  2. The Big Turmoil in Big Hospitality
  3. The Bourdain Effect: Food is Now the Leading Hook for Travel
  4. The Direct Booking Wars Are in Full Bloom
  5. The Rise of Fast Casual Design in Travel
  6. This Is the Year of the American Traveler
  7. Video Is the New Language of Brand Communication
  8. Smart Cities Are Now Platforms and Traveler Services Are Being Built on Top
  9. Build Your Own Passenger Experience Is the Future of Flying
  10. Messaging Is the New Language of the Globe, Are Travel Brands Listening?
  11. Partnership Time for Hospitality in the On-Demand Economy
  12. Focus Shifts From Millennials to Gen Z
  13. Online Booking Sites’ Newest Rivals: Their Former Friends

2017 Megatrends:

  1. Humanity Returns to Travel, in an Age of Digital Overload
  2. Overtourism Goes Mainstream, Destinations Get Smarter About Solving It
  3. The Fifties Are the New Target Demographic For Travel Brands
  4. Festivalization of Meetings and Events
  5. Digital Platform Disruption Is Here to Stay
  6. A Year of Reckoning for Europe, the World’s Biggest Tourist Destination
  7. Corporate Travel Tech Is in Upheaval
  8. Distribution Wars Have Moved Beyond Black and White
  9. Low-Cost Carriers Reinvent the Transatlantic Market
  10. Tours and Activities Are Finally Coming Into Their Own
  11. Cruise Lines Play the Long Game With New Markets and New Audiences
  12. This Is the Year of the Modern Female Traveler
  13. Artificial Intelligence in Travel Is Finally Becoming a Reality
  14. Dining Out Is the Main Event
  15. The New Luxury Is Defined by Small Brands With Big Stories

2018 Megatrends:

  1. Travel Brands Want to Be Experience Platforms
  2. Brands Embrace Diversity and Inclusion Message Amid Rising Neo-Nationalism
  3. Travel Mergers and Acquisitions Become More Focused on Strategic Innovation
  4. The Hotel of the Future Needs to Be Everything to Everyone
  5. Personal Fulfillment Is the New Ultimate Luxury
  6. Blockchain Will Spark a New Type of Technology Race in Travel
  7. European Travelers Return to Once-Disrupted Destinations
  8. Airlines Race to Become Storefronts Beyond the Seat
  9. New Leaders of Online Travel Agencies Are Already Reshaping Their Companies
  10. Cities Are Better Navigating the Collision of Their Visitor and Local Economies
  11. Extreme Weather Is Creating Travel Upheaval
  12. Startups Go Direct to Consumers in Battle for Business Travelers
  13. Google’s Product-Led Vision Is Bearing Fruit
  14. Back-End Travel Tech Gets a Design Renaissance
  15. Africa Discovers It Needs to Woo Millennials Both at Home and Abroad
  16. Ctrip Branches Out But Many Chinese Travel Companies Will Be Domestically Focused
  17. Asian Upscale Travelers Are Creating a Luxury Tipping Point
  18. Latin America Will Take Nation Branding to New Extremes
  19. Next-Generation Restaurants Fight the Delivery Boom With Immersive Experiences

2019 Megatrends:

  1. Brands Give Travelers More Control Over Their Experience
  2. Travel Upselling Gets Smarter Than Ever
  3. Low-Cost Carriers Lose Their Luster
  4. Undertourism Is the New Overtourism
  5. Labor Shortages Force a Wakeup Call for Travel Brands to Treat Workers Better
  6. China’s Travel Infrastructure Boom Sets a New Global Agenda
  7. Premium Mediocre Goes Mainstream
  8. Everything Is Converging in Hospitality
  9. Consolidation Creates Travel Brand Bullies
  10. Real World Experiences Gain Value in an Era of Tech Burnout
  11. Wellness Is the New Hook in Travel Marketing
  12. Online Travel Agencies Scurry for Salvation Beyond Hotels
  13. Travel Loyalty Is Overdue for Disruption

2020 Megatrends

  1. Subscription Travel Is the Next Frontier of Loyalty
  2. Tourism’s New Competitive Advantage Is Protecting—Not Just Promoting—Destinations 
  3. The Future of Travel Will Be Driven by Urban Living Innovations
  4. Augmented Hospitality Is Changing the Way We Experience Cities
  5. Gen Z Asserts Itself as Travel’s Next Big Opportunity
  6. Wellness Travel Makes Aging Aspirational
  7. Moving Beyond Demographics: Data Drives the Future of Travel Advertising 
  8. Consumer Brands Jump Into Travel With a Hospitality Mashup
  9. Travel Payments Find Path to Painless
  10. Short-Term Rental Winners Emerge
  11. Smart Design Is Not Just for Luxury Travel Anymore
  12. Data’s Breakthrough for Events
  13. The Rise of Ultra-Long-Haul Flights Is Changing the Way We Travel
  14. Tech’s Power Grab for Corporate Travel

2021 Megatrends, Looking Forward to 2025:

  1. Travel’s New Cadence Is More Deliberate, Introspective and Soulful 
  2. Backyard Tourism Is On a Pedestal But Far-Flung Exploration Recovers 
  3. Hotels Are Back With Big Upsides for Owners Who Stuck Out the Hard Times 
  4. Work From Anywhere Spurs a New Type of Business Travel 
  5. Asia Bulks Up Even As It Looks Inward
  6. Travel Sectors Get Scrambled, Definitions Blur 
  7. The Subscription Model Becomes a Staple of Travel Industry Renewal 
  8. Humbled Airlines Back Away From Any Brash New Ventures
  9. Cruise Lines Partner, Prune and Take Refuge In Their Private Islands
  10. The Rise of Global Mobile Wallets Upends Travel Payments
  11. The Robots You See and the Ones You Don’t Accelerate Automation
  12. More Mainstream Short-Term Rentals Cope With New Headwinds
  13. Product Mediocrity Seeds a New Era of Travel Industry Disruption
  14. Renewed Strength Matters in 2025

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