Every new year there are articles predicting the state of travel and hospitality for the twelve months that follow. Most of these predictions are logical, based on hard data, and momentum from trends in the previous year.
A few of these predictions, however, die on paper, ink spilled in vain, victims of changes in consumer expectations and rapid swings in technology directions.
Here is a look at some failed predictions that either didn’t live up to the hype at all or that took more than the predicted one year to catch on in the hospitality industry.
1. Space Tourism
Prior to Virgin Atlantic’s 2013 space launch, there was a lot of talk about how space tourism as the trend to look out for.
The launch itself marked a significant milestone in recreational space travel. The associated high costs - about a fifth of a million USD per traveler - however, make it out of the reach of the general public and makes it, four years later, a piece of adventure for the future.
It is expected that when the underlying technology can be made significantly cheaper, space tourism will become mainstream and finally truly become a trend.
2. Social Travel
Before 2014, there was a rise in the concept of social travel. Online social platforms with users with shared travel interests would pool in resources and funds, hitch their backpacks and travel together - strangers tied together solely by their passion for travel.
It would be cheaper, more fun, and more engaging - perks that the community would supposedly help create.
Security challenges, one - of traveling with strangers, and two - of violence, conflicts, and riots across the world have dampened the enthusiasm of several who might have partaken in these travels. As hot regions on the map keep cooling, this dying trend might find life again.
3. Tornado Tourism
Tornado tourism, a niche and extreme form of tourism was in the early part of 2013 predicted to become a trend amongst adrenaline junkies and extreme thrill chasers.
The activity, quite popular in the United States of America has people from across the world led by tour guides who have usually experience as meteorologists and thrill chasers themselves. They chase tornadoes across miles, feel the tenseness in the air, and in several cases attempt to punch through the heart of the tornadoes.
This form of tourism, despite predictions of a relative explosion in popularity, have remained niche even amongst thrill chasers. The high costs of travel insurance for this thrilling chase and its relatively high risks might be reasons for its tamed growth.
4. Flexible Hotel Check Out Times
Throughout the past 5 years, there have been clamours for flexible check out times followed by projections that following years would be the years when it finally becomes a trend, widely embraced by the majority of hotels.
For several reasons such as late flight take-off times, it is sometimes very inconvenient for travelers to leave their rooms by the traditional 12 pm. One hopes, therefore, that soon, hotel customers can have flexible check out times or pay per hour of room occupancy.
5. Wearable Devices
In late 2015 and throughout 2016, projections were made about wearables becoming a trend in travel - earpieces that translate foreign languages in real time, VR travel experiences, and several more.
Image Credit: Electronic Design
There has however been a two-pronged challenge; a lag in the acceptance of wearable technologies and a slow roll out of wearables from tech companies themselves - a possible reflection of the chicken and egg problem.
Projections in travel and hospitality are popular because often, they are reflections of consumers’ expectation and the direction of the big players in the travel industry. When they don’t come to pass, well, they just get to be rolled over to the next year’s projections.