Pop-up hotels, bespoke itineraries, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences and ‘braincations' are among some of the travel trends predicted to shape 2013. According to analysts at Hotels.com's trendspotting spring report, "experiential travel" will be top of mind among globetrotters this year, as consumers seek out itineraries that follow the roads less traveled.
For example, consumers are being increasingly drawn to the idea of unique and exclusive accommodations such as mobile, pop-up hotel experiences that can't be replicated by brick and mortar properties. Instead of checking into a hotel room, travelers now have a range of options that include glamping tents, mobile shipping containers and pods.
Belgium-based company Sleeping Around, for instance, converts 6-meter sea containers into self-contained luxury hotel rooms complete with a box-spring bed, rain shower, iPod docking station and air conditioning. The pods travel around Antwerp.
Similarly, travelers are also predicted to bypass commercial cruise lines in favor of smaller river boat options that sail along less predictable waterways, such as the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, or the Danube Riverbetween Prague and Istanbul, says Hotels.com.
Hotels are also responding to consumer demand for bespoke travel itineraries that go above and beyond concierge service.
The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts' Imagination Initiative is built to indulge guests' wildest fantasies with add-on experiences that include elephant rides through the jungles of Thailand, or a VIP on-field meet-and-greet with the International Polo Club at Palm Beach.
And in response to the pressures and stress associated with staying connected 24/7, the Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts has begun to offer tech-free zones for those craving a ‘braincation.'
The collection of the chain's nine resorts across the Caribbean and Mexico began offering tech-free zones last December where cell phones and electronic devices are banned. Instead, guests are encouraged to disconnect, read, or pursue other "tech-free" activities.