One month into a new decade and a variety of travel trends are emerging on Airbnb. From immersive trekking Experiences, meditative self care on the road, and the rise of more vegan-friendly food Experiences, travelers are seeking ways to have unique, transformative experiences they will remember for years to come. In fact, people are willing to pay up for them.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Airbnb, 57 percent of Americans prefer to spend their money on experiences over things, and 37 percent plan to increase their spending on experiences in 2020, particularly women (39%) and young adults (Gen Z (46%), millennials (48%)).1 And coming of age generations are already expanding their purchasing power. American Gen Z travelers are the likeliest to spend the most money on vacation activities, while the Traditionalists are the most budget-conscious.2 But no matter how deep the pockets or wide the age gap, there are five travel trends that have risen to the top:
Nature Calls…From Marrakech
The yearning to get out of comfort zones and into the wilderness is bringing out the nature lover in travelers this year. In 2020, a quarter of Americans (and 32% of Millennials) plan to take an adventurous, outdoorsy trip, and adventure travel is the trend Americans are most interested in learning more about.2 For those looking for their next big journey, Kathmandu, Nepal and Marrakech, Morocco are home to the most Airbnb Adventures, from a four-day spirituality trek through the Himalayas, to summiting North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal.3
Other immersive encounters with the outdoors like nature Experiences are also trending way up on Airbnb, especially with Gen Z (190% YoY) and millennials (102% YoY). Hiking and trekking Experiences in particular are seeing significant growth in bookings compared to a year ago.4 This year, guests are also getting more connected with the earth by staying in natural settings like igloos (up 83%), with baby boomers especially keen on campsites (up 171%).5
Trending Hiking Experiences6
Going Back In Time Is En Vogue
As travelers explore new places in 2020, stepping into the shoes of locals from long ago is a favorite way to get to know a destination (32% of Americans would most like to learn about history and culture in 2020)2 and hosts are noticing. History Experiences have increased 271 percent in supply in the last year8, and in 2020, they are up 116 percent in bookings by global travelers, with even stronger interest among Gen Z (up 176%) and millennials (up 118%) compared to 2019.4
Guests’ curiosity is not just piqued by learning about the past, but living in it, too. Homes on Airbnb featuring historic keywords in their titles (i.e., historic, era, WWI, etc.) have already been booked 50K+ times for stays in 2020.9
Trending History Experiences6
- Casa la Era 1800 (La Montaña, Spain)
- The Corrugated Cottage WWII (Somerset, UK)
- Refurbished Flat in a Georgian Era Building in New Town (Edinburgh, UK)
- Victorian 1920’s Era Beauty (Buffalo, NY)
- Visit Civil War Sites from a Private Stone Cottage (Franklin, TN)
Disconnecting To Reconnect
Connecting with oneself is big in 2020 with many travelers slowing down and centering their minds and spirits while traveling. 40 percent of Americans say they most like to spend their time relaxing and not doing much on vacation, a quarter of them would like to engage in an activity that increases personal wellness and helps them disconnect from technology, and 12 percent of Gen Z plans to take a spiritual or religious trip, more than any other generation bracket.2
And interestingly, a considerable amount like to do it solo: 16 percent of Americans report they most like to spend their time exploring a location solo while on vacation2 and many others seem to agree – bookings including one guest are up 79 percent in 2020 on Airbnb.11
Meditation Experiences are one of the ways travelers are reconnecting with themselves in 2020, seeing 106 percent growth in bookings for 2020 compared to last year.4 Travelers are also unplugging from the demands of daily life by heading to the outskirts. Barns are one of the top trending listing types in 2020, up 81 percent with guests since 2019, and that gets even higher with travelers from the Traditionalist generation at 157 percent.5
Trending Meditation Experiences6
Most Wish Listed Barns7
- Unique Modern Barn Apartment with Outdoor Hot Tub (Atlanta, GA)
- Amazing Views, The Granary cottage (Avoca, Ireland)
- Garajau Nature Retreat – Winehouse with Ocean View (Ribeira Quente, Portugal)
- Forest Cottage Hidden in the Trees + Forest Views (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
- Luxury New Forest Barn (Burley, UK)
Bite-Size Travel Gets Big
With sustainable travel in focus, more travelers are taking the minimalist approach when it comes to planning their getaways this year. More than half of Americans would like to spend their money taking a long weekend trip1, and more guests are also exploring destinations by car, with searches for listings with free parking up 46 percent.12
The downsized lifestyle is also appealing to travelers around the globe, with miniature, simplistic and efficient spaces like shepherd’s huts and tiny homes trending up 112 percent and 85 percent from 2019 to 2020, respectively.5
Most Wish Listed Tiny Homes7
- Unique and Secluded AirShip with Breathtaking Highland Views (Drimmin, UK)
- Dreamy Tiny House Cottage (Nashville, TN)
- Racho Esto es Vida – Una Estadia de Pelicula! (Villalba, Puerto Rico)
- The Phoenix House (Pahoa, HI)
- The Helm — 2-Story Container Home (Waco, TX)
Most Wish Listed Shepherd’s Huts7
- Wagon in the Woods & Hot Tub! (Medstead, UK)
- Glimpse Countryside Views from an Enchanting Shepherds Hut (Saint Veep, UK)
- Enchanting Rural Hideaway in the Cornish Countryside (Nancedra, UK)
- The Love Hut, Boutique Privacy, Hot Tub & Parking (Bath and Northeast Somerset, UK)
- Large Shepherds Hut in New Forest with Hot Tub (Sway, UK)
Eating Clean And Consciously
As the world becomes more conscious about its dietary habits, food Experiences are becoming more plant based, with Experiences offering vegan options up 579 percent and those offering vegetarian options up 570 percent in supply in 2019 compared to 2018.8 For travelers seeking more veggie centric food while traveling, Mexico City and Havana are tied for having the most vegan-friendly Experiences.3
While Airbnb hosts are providing more sustainable food choices, guests are also leaning heavily into local carb comforts, with Experiences including baking (up 155%) and pasta (up 88%) surging in bookings for 2020 compared to 2019.4
Overall, it’s clear food remains one of the biggest motivations in travel and connecting people to new places – food and drink Experiences are the most booked by foreign travelers to a new country,13 and 35 percent of Americans say they most want to spend their time enjoying food experiences on vacation, with Gen Z and Millennials the most favorable groups.2
Trending Food & Drink Experiences6
1This Airbnb commissioned report shows data for 12,225 interviews from nine international polls. Morning Consult conducted these polls in two phases. Phase One was conducted from September 25, 2019 – October 1, 2019 among national samples of 2,206 American adults, 1,200 Australian adults, and 1,147 United Kingdom adults. Phase Two was conducted from December 27, 2019 – January 3, 2020 among national samples of 1,391 French adults, 1,301 Indian adults, 1,208 Brazilian adults, 1,200 Mexican adults, 1,200 Chinese adults, and 1,372 German adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. The margin of error is ±2% at a 95% confidence interval.
2In a recent poll commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by Morning Consult a national sample of 5,445 American adults were surveyed from December 23, 2019 – January 2, 2020. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. The margin of error is ±2% at a 95% confidence interval.”
3Based on internal Airbnb data of cities with the largest supply of specific Experience categories and tags of Experiences as of December 2019.
4Based on Airbnb internal data of year-over-year growth of bookings for specific Experience categories comparing bookings made for 2020 from October 26, 2019 – January 26, 2020 with bookings for 2019 during the same time frame in 2019/18, also further split by generations of people (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, Traditionalists).
5Based on Airbnb internal data of year-over-year growth of bookings for specific space types, further split by generations of people comparing bookings for 2020 as of January 3, 2020 to bookings for 2019 as of January 3, 2019.
6Based on Airbnb internal data of year-over-year growth of bookings for individual Experiences of specific categories and tags (hiking, history, meditation, food & drink, baking) comparing bookings made between October 26, 2019 – January 26, 2020 compared to same time frame in 2019/18.
7Based on Airbnb internal data measuring most wish listed homes of specific space types from all Airbnb wish lists of 2019 (igloos, tiny houses, kezhans, shepherds huts).
8Based on Airbnb internal data measuring year-over-year growth in supply of specific Experience categories and tags (history, vegan, vegetarian) comparing supply from December 1, 2019 – December 1, 2018.
9Based on Airbnb internal data measuring bookings made for stays in 2020 in listings with specific key terms in the title (i.e., historical, era, ancient, war, etc.)
10Based on Airbnb internal data of homes with specific key terms in their title (i.e., historical, era, ancient, war, etc.)
11Based on Airbnb internal data measuring year-over-year growth in bookings by trip types, comparing 2020 trips as of December 8, 2019 with 2019 trips as of December 8, 2018.
12Based on Airbnb internal data measuring year-over-year growth of number of searches by amenity, comparing Sept.-Nov. of 2019 with Sept-Nov. of 2018.
13Based on Airbnb internal data measuring most booked Experience categories by guests originating from a different country in 2019.