2021 Travel Leisure Trends in South Africa

Campside fire.
Brands that are trusted will thrive as consumers recover from the impact of the pandemic. (Image: Supplied)
Marriott Bonvoy.

Most countries across the world are still highly impacted by limited or restricted international travel. As we head into the warmer seasons and traditional boom times for travelling the Country, it is our local holidaymakers who have embraced exploring their own country who are setting the current travel trends.

Road-tripping, city escapes and nature-based getaways

As a big-sky country offering an incredible diversity of scenery, destinations and activities it is not surprising that many South Africans are taking to our roads to explore the country. Popular trips out of Gauteng include getting into the wilds of the Kruger National Park, visiting popular country towns such as Clarens and enjoying beach breaks at hotspots such Umhlanga.  In the Western Cape, the evocative West Coast and Winelands offer easy access to beaches and mountains, quality accommodation and good food, while the popular Garden Route offers one of the country’s most classic family road trip experiences.

Spacious rooms and apartment-style hotel experience

Families are keen for more freedom and independence, preferring larger rooms, suites and inter-leading rooms as well as self-catering hotel options.  This leisure demand has led to Marriott International expanding its Homes & Villas by Marriott International in South Africa, an offering which caters to travellers looking for additional freedom and independence with a portfolio of premium and luxury home rental accommodations.

Amplifying the mobile mindset

The pandemic has accelerated the pre-pandemic trend of digitalisation in the travel sector. Digital platforms, which have long been the preferred source of content and commerce for Millennials and Gen-Z, will increasingly become a source of both inspiration and sales embraced by all generations. For Marriott, digital transformation was already part of every aspect of our business.

The roll out of digital technologies to enhance the customer experience including mobile check-in and check-out, mobile room keys, via the Marriott Bonvoy Mobile app is a focus area for our company. In South Africa, selected properties have implemented these technologies and we aim to roll further implementation out across the market in future.

Trust in Travel

Brands that are trusted will thrive as consumers recover from the impact of the pandemic. In times of crisis and uncertainty, consumers buy from brands who they trust. Consumers will have higher expectations of their travel experiences – the quality of the travel experience will be more critical than ever. Our guests have a heightened awareness of hygiene and this won’t disappear. Cleanliness will remain fundamental to the customer experience.

Living in the Moment

This last year has taught us all that life can change unexpectedly in a very short space of time, and our freedom and ability to travel, which we all took for granted, can be restricted in ways we never imagined possible. A key trend coming out of this, was when restrictions eased combined with traditional holiday periods, we saw a significant increase in last minute, spontaneous travel plans.  This is something that will continue – people are craving a sense of adventure, excitement, indulgence - and a change of scenery from their homes.

With a keen focus on domestic leisure travel, there are significant efforts to make sure that hotel-based holidays are accessible to South African leisure travellers.  Unlock extraordinary travel experiences with Marriott Bonvoy™. Marriott Bonvoy is more than a loyalty program. It’s a free to join travel program that provide members with unparalleled travel experiences, free Wi-Fi, Exclusive Member Rates, Mobile Check-In and other world-class benefits across 30 brands at more than 7,200 hotels worldwide. The local Marriott Bonvoy portfolio includes the popular Protea Hotels by Marriott, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott, Autograph Collection, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Westin Hotels and AC Hotels by Marriott brands.

With the summer season and year end holidays up ahead, many South Africans are looking to plan that festive season break to kick back, relax and recharge before the New Year. We may have limits when it comes to holidaying abroad, but with ‘a world within one country’, South Africans can still journey to their favourite spots or adventure into exciting places they have never visited before.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Marriott Bonvoy.

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo