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Travel in 2021: More Organized, With More Services And Experiences

The urge to travel will be strong this year, with more planning, and more demand for all-inclusive services and full board. Growth will continue in getaways that combine accommodation with experiences, excursions, guided tours, gastronomy, wellness and spa routines, and 'bubble' getaways’. A Weekendesk survey draws a very encouraging picture for the recovery of tourism.

11 Jan 2021

Planning will be one of the features of 2021. In fact, before the beginning of the year, the demand for all-inclusive services and full board had already skyrocketed. Reservations were up by 33% on the previous year and now account for more than 20% of the total, according to data from Weekendesk, the leading theme break website. This year, breaks that combine accommodation with experiences (like museum tickets, excursions, guided tours, spa treatments) will also continue to grow.

Private activity getaways have become a new trend. For example, those that include wellness and gastronomic experiences now account for 27% of bookings. But within this category, it’s private packages that are growing the most with demand for features such as private Jacuzzi and room service breakfast, exclusive use of certain areas of the spas and hot springs, or tastings and samplings in small groups. The less is more philosophy wins out.

Flexible Promotions

The Covid-19 situation has made us all more cautious, and we tend to make reservations at the last minute. According to the Weekendesk report, the average is between six and fifteen days before the trip. One of the reasons for delaying the decision is that promotions can be a decisive factor, as people keep looking for alternatives, to save money. But not only that: flexibility is key. Customers want guarantees, so favourable cancellation policies and transparency are essential when making a reservation.

Travellers are also looking for more privacy and to avoid crowds. For many people, rural hotels can be a refuge that provides privacy and natural surroundings. Besides a welcoming and familiar atmosphere, another of their main advantages is that they are located in small villages, enclaves that have been booming since lockdown was lifted.

Health and Safety

Health & safety is another of the tourism trends in 2021 that Weekendesk points out. Healthcare protocols are now tourism establishments’ main asset, as users make them their primary concern. One of a traveller’s first questions before booking is whether the accommodation complies with all the protocols. Opinions about this aspect are among the most important in customer reviews about an establishment. In fact, 50% of the time customers spend reviewing a hotel’s offer is spent assessing its health measures, reflecting a change of mindset by travellers.

Bubble Getaways

Another trend, at the moment, is bubble getaways: short trips to towns with no mobility restrictions or quarantine requirements. Many areas in Spain have imposed inter-regional travel restrictions. But destinations elsewhere are taking advantage to position themselves as an alternative for those seeking rest and relaxation, and people’s growing desire to get travelling again.

Villages Will Be the Trend

Villages are now more fashionable than ever. The constant search for peace and calm has been a great opportunity for some regions that have promoted their villages to attract more tourists. In 2020, some provinces managed to emerge despite the restrictions, a trend that looks likely to continue in 2021. According to data from Weekendesk, Girona leads the ranking with 13% of bookings, followed by Granada with 11%, and Alicante with 9%. Barcelona and Madrid are also listed as holiday options for next year, especially the beach and mountain areas. Areas like Lérida, Vizcaya, Jaén, Cantabria and Castellón are also emerging as high-demand destinations, thanks to their enormous offer of nature, relaxation, history and culture.

Sustainability

Another trend highlighted by Weekendesk is sustainability and cutting the carbon footprint of travelling. Sustainable accommodation will continue to grow as tourists continue to realise that blending in with the environment also means protecting it. But this also affects how we move about. As well as the trend for looking for destinations close to home, there is a concern for reducing carbon footprint.