During the holiday season, most eyes eventually turn toward the new year and what it will bring. The travel industry is no different, whether it's a look at consumer travel trends, trending destinations or overall themes that might affect agents in the year forward.
To that tune, here are some areas to watch in 2018 that could turn into lucrative trips or affect your business.
"Skip-gen" travel: According to several sources in the industry, skip-gen travel grandparents and grandchildren traveling together, leaving parents behind is on the rise.
Cruise Planners predicted skip-gen trips will be big in 2018. They're also on Brownell Travel's radar. Haisley Smith, the Birmingham, Ala.-based agency's vice president of marketing and development, noted her agency's an increasing number of skip-gen trips during Virtuoso Travel Week earlier this year.
The generational-focused trips might be a good suggestion for boomer clients with grandchildren or millennial clients with grandparents looking to get away with relatives.
Multigenerational travel, a close relative of skip-gen travel, also tops the travel trends identified on Virtuoso's annual Luxe Report, which forecasts the year ahead in travel.Technology:
Technology will continue to evolve to make advisers' workflows easier, so consider adopting some new practices where they make sense for your business. For instance, some agents are already finding business applications for smart speakers
featuring digital personal assistants, like the Google Home or Amazon Echo.
Cruise Planners calls it "intuitive tech," and predicted it will be a trend in 2018.
That kind of technology will also be on display at Princess Cruises, where Ocean Medallions
, devices that help deliver a more personalized experience for guests, will continue to be rolled out fleet-wide.
American Express Travel has also been dipping its toes in virtual reality
to give clients a taste of a destination.
Experiential travel: It's hard to call experiential travel a trend anymore, but it remains one of the top things travelers are looking for according to many studies across the industry.
"Whether it only happens once or only happens once a year, travel agents are sending their clients to events offering a once-in-a-lifetime experiences that also give their clients serious bragging rights when they return back home," Cruise Planners said.
To that end, Travel Leaders Group publishes an annual list of "Bucket List Vacations,"
where agents might find some sales inspiration in the new year. It features everything from safaris to the all-popular river cruises and more.
Destinations: Alaska remains a particularly hot vacation spot, according to John Lovel, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. 2017 marked the third year in a row where Travel Leaders has seen "tremendous growth" in Alaska travel, and it doesn't show any sign of slowing down, Lovell said.
That is in line with Virtuoso's Luxe Report, which found that "cold is hot," with trending destinations like Alaska, Antarctica and the Arctic.
And despite repeated terrorist incidents, Europe sales still remain strong, according to Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services.
Shilling theorized that incidents of terrorism are becoming the "new normal," and that travelers are becoming increasingly resilient and willing to travel despite unknown factors. Thus, he predicted a strong year for Europe ahead.
To close, here are a few other 2018 industry trends from Virtuoso's Luxe Report to keep an eye on and consider selling to clients: active/adventure trips, culinary travel, river cruises and celebration travel.