Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Travel Trends 2013 -- From Vacation Rentals to Agritourism to Adventure Honeymoons

Food related travel vacations are increasing. Since
vacation rentals have full kitchens, guest can try out
new culinary delights as much as they want, and,
often, wherever they want.

There's no shortage of predictions for travel trends in 2013. Every travel writer on the web seems to be jumping in with their prognostications. While their crystal balls may or may not be clear, they're all certainly worth noting. After all, these are people who study the business, and 
2013 has the potential to be a year of significant recovery in the economy. Here are some of the more noteworthy predictions we found.

The Dark Side of the Hotel Lobby (and no, that doesn't mean burned out bulbs)
Matt Landau, vacation rental blogger and expert, says that the vacation rental industry should prepare for growth, citing a continuing increase in consumer demand for alternative lodging. At Perfect Places, we've noticed that more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of vacation rentals. This means owners and property managers are providing great experiences. Landau also warns that because of this rising popularity in vacation rentals, hotels will continue to lobby in attempts to limit short term rentals, or ban them entirely. Smart property managers will keep a close eye on any proposals that come before their city councils or state legislatures. Even smarter ones will be proactive and begin lobbying campaigns of their own.

A Cluck Cluck Here, a Moo Moo There
One of the most interesting takes was regarding family travel. Matt Villano at AOL Travel says that volunteer vacations and agritourism will all play a bigger role in family travel in 2013. "Family vacations have come a long way since the days of the Griswold's pilgrimage to Walley World," Villano writes. A growing category for families with children over the age of 5 is volunteer vacations. I can personally attest to that since my wife took our two teenagers on volunteer trips within the past few years, though it would be a stretch to call it a vacation. They all actually worked at day care centers in India and South Africa. But they did create fantastic memories worthy of the best vacations while helping the less fortunate. Cross Cultural Solutions is a great place to find volunteer trips around the world. For families with young kids, agritourism gives the young ones hands on, real world experience with Old MacDonald. Along these lines, Landau's predicting a rise in experiential travel and encouraging vacation rental owners and managers to come up with ways to show how their properties can allow travelers to become immersed in the area they visit.

Just Married? Forget Tin Cans Tied to the Car. Give 'em Surfboards Instead
Tamar Lowell of the Huffington Post is predicting an increase in adventure honeymoons. She mentions she spent her own honeymoon trekking in Nepal. It seems like a natural progression from destination weddings, and it seems like a natural fit for vacation rentals in exotic or adventure-friendly locations. . She also predicts that an improving economy will mean longer lead time in vacation planning, citing a move to booking three to six months out. That's great news for vacation rentals, since most have minimum stay requirements which require longer planning time. Lowel and others also say that epicurean tours are slated to become more popular. She reports that one travel agency has seen a 94% increase in bookings for food related tours. 

A prediction of our own: the trend towards group travel will continue. It's been going on for at least a decade now, and as baby boomers get more and more grandkids, it's a trend that can only increase. This is a perfect opportunity for vacation rentals, since they're the perfect lodging choice for grandma and grandpa when they want to get the whole family together for a week away on the lake, near the ocean or in the mountains. Find ways to take advantage of group travel and celebration vacations, and you'll likely have a great 2013. And if you're a traveler, be sure to try a group vacation. They're a lot of fun.