Last updated: 08:00 AM ET, Sat June 28 2014

Travel Trends That Are Buzzing

Features & Advice | Ryan Rudnansky | June 28, 2014

Travel Trends That Are Buzzing

As millennials make their voices heard and technology continues to advance at warp speed, trends are developing faster than ever.

Leisure travel is still important, but obligatory travel tends to get in the way.

Children from the U.S. to the UK have more and more gadgets to play with, but that doesn’t mean reading has gone out of style.

And technology is making it easier than ever for hotels to connect with guests and enhance their stay.

Here are some of the latest trends across the globe you need to know, whether you are a millennial or a Baby Boomer. 

Millennials Love Leisure Travel 

If you are a travel company and you’re not providing for the millennial generation, you are missing out.

Millennials (18 to 35 years old) are expected to spend more on travel services than any other age group in the next 12 months, according to an annual survey of American travel habits called the Portrait of American Travelers by MMGY Global.

Leisure travel is a big part of this. Roughly 24 percent of millennials are planning more overnight trips for leisure purposes in the next year, compared to 14 percent who are planning fewer trips. The net difference of 10 percent trumps Baby Boomers (negative 1 percent), Matures (negative 3 percent) and Generation Xers (negative 6 percent).

Millennials spent an average of $887 per trip in the last 12 months. Generation Xers, who came in second, spent on average of $666.

And if you are a travel company that specializes in providing authentic and immersive experiences for customers, you figure to be pretty popular with millennials. Six in 10 millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things. 

Gadget Travel

You’re probably aware by now that Americans like gadgets.

But the results from a recent Consumer Reports survey show just how dependent we are on electronics.

According to the report, 94 percent of American adult travelers bring electronic devices with them on vacation. Not only that, the average American brings along three different devices for the road.

The most popular gadgets include: smartphone (63 percent of travelers), laptop (51 percent), digital camera (50 percent), headphones (48 percent), tablet or e-book reader (39 percent), GPS device (37 percent) and iPod or MP3 player (32 percent).

Looking at the list, it’s not all that shocking that the numbers were so high. Then again, the fact that most of these are considered common gadgets these days speaks to the incredible evolution of technology.

Personally, if I don’t have my smartphone, laptop or headphones with me on a trip, I’m liable to start ranting and raving like that dude who was subdued with duct tape and zip ties on that Iceland Air flight in January.

Children’s Playtime

It’s safe to say that children’s playtime has taken on a whole new meaning as technology rapidly advances.

But that doesn’t mean traditional pastimes such as reading and board games are obsolete.

A study by UK-based research firm Futuresource Consulting revealed that 44 percent of children from 3 to 12 years of age owned a tablet in the UK.

However, 45 percent of children still read books every day across the UK, the United States, China and Germany. About 76 percent of children in the four countries read at least twice per week.

On top of that, 72 percent of kids play sports at least twice per week.

In the UK, 63 percent of children spend at least five hours per week playing with traditional toys such as construction sets, dolls and action figures, compared to 54 percent who play computer games or video games for that long. This does, however, change once kids get into their teens: 63 percent of boys 11 to 12 years of age play computer games or video games five hours per week or more.

In a nutshell, technology has become a bigger part of kids’ lives, but they still enjoy the simple things like board games and action figures. 

Obligatory Travel Rising

When Americas think “travel,” it’s not just about going on a summer vacation to the Bahamas anymore.

Hotwire.com recently released an October survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults that reveals some head-turning results.

According to the survey, American adults spent nearly $185 billion on trips they felt obliged to take in the last 12 months. That includes anything from birthdays ($32 billion) to weddings ($20 billion) to reunions ($11 billion) to wedding/baby showers ($7 billion).

Of course, you’re supposed to show up at such things as birthdays and weddings…right?

The next time you need a favor, just show your friends or family members these numbers and say, “Remember when I went to your birthday/wedding/baby shower? I sacrifice so much for you.”

Talk about a guilt trip. 

HITEC 2014

HITEC, the world’s largest hospitality technology show, was held from June 24-26 this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The show features hundreds of exhibitors, complete with some of the world’s brightest minds.

Some of the highlights included: “mirroring,” or streaming content from your Android or Windows mobile device to your guestroom TV; being able to unlock your guestroom door by holding your phone near the lock (advanced Bluetooth LE technology); audio streaming capabilities; 4k high-definition TVs; wireless charging products such as Qi (currently being used by Marriott Hotels) and the Cendyn/ONE software and platform that allows hotels to view guest history, value, behavior, desire, intent and engagement…all on one screen.

There are even Bluetooth LE beacons being proposed. These beacons would be strategically installed in different parts of the hotel, delivering location-specific news and offers to guests when they walk by. If you find yourself naturally gravitating toward the bar late at night, you are sure to get hit up with drink specials as you approach. WARNING: CAN BE DANGEROUS.

Follow me on Twitter @RyanRudnansky

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