Middle-aged men in Lycra (MAMILs, if you will) are on the rise in the Americas and there is no stopping the European quest for the local travel experience, reveals the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2014, in association with Euromonitor International. The report was released as part of WTM’s 35th annual event in London, from November 3 – 6.
The biggest take-away from the business-to-business event? Travel and tourism continue to prosper globally, hitting a record 1.1 billion arrivals in 2013, up 5.1%.
After the success of peer-to-peer accommodation like Airbnb and HomeAway, the sharing economy concept is moving into the food sector in a big way.
Sunset at Newark Liberty International Airport. Photo credit: Alexandra Talty.
Sites like EatWith or BookaLokal pair visitors with home cooks, for a fee. Tourists are invited into hosts’ homes or restaurants to dine and experience the culinary world of a particular neighborhood or region.
Simon Press, World Travel Market Senior Exhibition director said that, “When traveling and on holiday we all like to think that our experience is authentic to the destination. How much more real can you get than by eating local food cooked by a local in their own home, or being taken to a restaurant which isn’t featured in the guide books?”
Dining reservation companies were also hot commodity in 2014: Priceline bought OpenTable for $2.6 billion and TripAdvisor bought the French online and mobile reservation service, La Fourchette. Mobile booking, in general, is on the rise. In 2018, WTM predicts that 35% of online travel bookings will be via mobile.
The search for authentic travel experiences has spilled over from food to hostels in the United Kingdom, where there was demand for low-cost, non-conventional accommodations. Dubbed “poshtels,” these establishments focus on stylish, cost-conscious options for families and young, business or single travelers who like the social aspect of hostels but want a step-up from the typical hostel experience.
As for the middle-aged men in Lyrca, WTM is predicting that cycling will rival golf for leisure time of middle-aged men in the Americas. Golf is in a decline, dropping from 25 million players in the early 2000s to 19 million in 2013.
Don’t like the budget airlines? Well, unfortunately for those that appreciate leg room and a hot meal, that is the way the tide is going. Low-cost airlines continue to be the most successful sector in air travel, and their business model is being embraced by many other airlines.