What 2020 Travel Trends Might Affect Car Rentals?
Booking.com predictions may have ramifications on how travel might change
Bluebird recently took a trip to the U.K. to attend World Travel Market (WTM) London as an exhibitor, and it couldn’t have been more timely. Holiday times are looming ahead, capping off what’s been a dynamic year in the car rental industry, which yielded a great deal of technological advancements as well as unique new ways of doing business.
WTM is usually a good barometer to assess forthcoming travel trends, much of which affects car rental companies, tackling such movements as responsible tourism (especially with climate change becoming a hot-button issue) and the direction of technology. But other international influencers have been keeping tabs on what’s ahead, particularly in 2020, which might make fleet operators stand up and take notice.
Enter Booking.com, which offered eight new trends to watch out for next year. While many of them pertain mostly to younger generations, a demographic that car rental companies dearly wants to capture, a look at these trends might entice them to target market those preferences accordingly, especially when these changes in vacation habits could be long term, with equally long-lasting effects for those who rent cars for a living.
One of the biggest trends identified by Booking.com is the phenomenon of “second-city travel,” in which travelers often prefer to head to a destination that’s relatively unknown. An underlying goal in these trips is to leave a smaller environmental footprint behind. That’s a potential boon for vehicle rental conglomerates with offices in smaller, obscure municipalities, who could get a bit more action if they market appropriately.
Also high on the list is a preference for vacationers to rely on technology to decide the destination for them. Given the overwhelming choices for destinations on the planet, most of them will likely trust what mobile technology and even artificial intelligence has in store for them, if overall tastes and preferences are a matter of record (thank the gathering of cloud-based data gathering for that). Most rental car apps offer options strictly on accentuating the booking and driving experience, but if they follow the lead of online travel service providers like Expedia, Skyscanner, Kayak and Hopper, they can also offer additional amenities from hotel bookings to site-seeing attractions. Those attractions include restaurants, another Booking.com trend that indicate culinary vacations will also be on the upswing.
The pace of the world might seem like it’s going faster, but for vacationers, they’re more likely to take things slower meaning they’ll be selecting less speedy modes of transportation like planes, and other modes that aren’t so environmentally friendly. Those options include trains, bicycles and yep, automobiles. Bonus if a car rental has green technology vehicles in its fleet.
Remaining trends outlined by Booking.com include a preference for them to catch theme-oriented attractions that are a short distance from each other (as opposed to all over a continent), including pets in their sojourns, grand getaways involving older vacationers with their grandkids (but not their children), and early retirees taking “epic journeys.” Somewhere in the rest of this list are options that might be irresistible for car rental companies to take advantage of.