Where international travel was once the privilege of an elite wealthy few, it is now accessible to all. The travel industry is seeing unprecedented growth, and at current rates, international passenger numbers will top 1.5 million next year – an increase of 292 million.
The global recession of 2008 seems to be well and truly behind the travel and tourism industry, which now provides one in every eleven jobs worldwide.
Hospitality and Catering
As more people travel, they need more and more places to stay, so jobs in travel such as roles in hotels and guesthouses are on the increase. With an estimated 1.3 million additional bedrooms opening this year alone, the demand for reception, waiting, bartending, housekeeping, catering (and more) roles grows.
The UK economy is increasingly service-driven, and with many people still taking a ‘staycation’, the importance of hotels and restaurants is also increasing for domestic tourists in the UK industry.
The forecasts continue to look very positive, with annual growth rates in the travel industry of 4% predicted for up to the next ten years. This is made up of a combination of business and leisure travellers and sometimes a combination of both, where someone travels for work but then stays on for a few days afterwards to make the most of the journey. When the destination is particularly exotic, many people are opting to travel accompanied by their spouse or partner.
There is a growing middle class in many countries, such as China and India, where people are travelling abroad now when they haven’t previously. They are better educated and want to see and experience life beyond their own borders.
People are also travelling when younger and not always with friends – some find it a bigger adventure going alone and making new friends on the way. In spite of the economic downturn, students have been travelling more and becoming more demanding and adventurous in the trips they want to take.
For the travel industry to capitalise on this potential, they need to look closely at their markets and target marketing activity accordingly. The industry is growing, but that means so is the competition, so customers can afford to be demanding. Shopkeepers have long had a saying that “retail is detail”, and that is also true for hospitality and catering. Brands should transfer across all elements of a guest’s stay, from their booking through to their stay and a follow-up once they’re back at home.
At the same time, brands must stay true to themselves and their values, as that is what attracted the customer in the first instance.
All in all, the outlook for the traveller is very good, so start planning the trip of a lifetime.