Single apps for all travel needs, passport free travel, and mobile app check-in are top three 'new travel norms' expected by travellers during the 2020s

8 January, 2020

Single apps for all travel needs, passport free travel, and mobile app check-in are the top three ‘new travel norms’ expected by travellers in the next decade, according to new research by digital travel platform, Agoda. The findings from an online survey of more than 16,000 adults by YouGov Singapore in Dec-2019 highlights that technology advances will further simplify travel this decade, while consumers will also make more conscious eco travel choices as the sustainability agenda gains in weight.

With the continued advancement of technology, revolutionary travel apps, and better connectivity, people are certainly expecting a lot more from their travel experience in the next decade, especially in the growing Southeast Asian market, where around a half of all respondents in Indonesia (56%), Singapore (54%), Malaysia (53%), Taiwan (50%), the Philippines (48%) and Thailand (48%) considered this the norm in the next decade. This compares to only a third of people in the United Kingdom and the United States (33%).

The findings also show that one in two South East Asians also view mobile app check in, allowing guests to skip the registration queue, download their room access key and go straight to their rooms, as the norm in the 2020s, with Singaporeans (54%), Filipinos (53%), Malaysians (58%) and Thais (49%) most expectant of this trend.

Meanwhile, Singapore (50%), Vietnam (47%), Philippines (45%), China (44%) and Australia (41%) are the top five origins most likely to see a future with passport-free travel. Again, in the UK and US, they are less expectant of this advancement with only 1 in 5 expecting it to be the norm within the next decade.

“It is a technology golden age for travellers, as technology is developed to simplify the way anyone, anywhere can search, book and pay for flights, hotels or holiday accommodation,” says Timothy Hughes, vice president of corporate development at Agoda.

He explains that while the 2000s were defined by the mouse and the computer, putting online travel booking just a click away, the 2010s by the smart phone and app that put a travel agent in the pocket of every phone owner, the 2020s will be defined by the power of data and Machine Learning (AI), allowing companies to provide more “personalised, more relevant recommendations to make booking travel even easier”.

The Agoda research highlights that Asian travellers are particularly enthused by, and expectant of, technology developments that enhance and simplify their travel experience and Asian based companies can be expected to take the lead in new technology adoption and development.

“I expect to see Asia press ahead with that lead in the 2020s – especially in areas such as video and augmented reality, improved mobile services with more chat and voice solutions, and payments to help bring the 'unbanked' online”, adds Mr Hughes.

While people want to increase the amount of travel they undertake in the 2020s (exploring more of their own country is cited by 40% of the survey’s respondents globally, while international travel more often is anticipated at 35%), there is the big question over sustainability. Can destinations cope with demand? There is of course the environmental implication of increased travel.

It appears that there is an increasing trend towards making better choices, according to Agoda’s findings. More than a quarter of respondents said they want to make more eco-friendly travel choices in the next decade.

Travellers from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia are most keen to make eco-friendlier choices. These nationalities are perhaps more aware than others with the recent closure of Maya Bay in Thailand, and the Boracay rehabilitation program in Philippines, and thus travellers want to do their bit even when on holiday, surmises Agoda.

Looking at other aspects of the data, travellers in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups are most likely to want to explore their own countries and territories more (40% and 42% respectively), with those from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, US and Vietnam choosing domestic destinations within their top three wishlist destinations for the coming decade.

Korean and Japanese travellers see themselves taking more solo trips in the next decade, while the Taiwanese and Indonesians would prefer taking a sabbatical or gap year. Travellers in Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia want to cross off their own capital cities from their travel lists. Meanwhile, South Korea, the UK, and Australian travellers are the only one who don’t choose a domestic destination on their wishlists for travel in the next decade.