Euromonitor International's annual trends report, released at World Travel Market last week, was more about digital than destinations, highlighting braggies, online rail bookings, transactional instant messaging, peer-to-peer dining and wearables as trends to watch for the next twelve months.
Love them or loathe them, buzzwords are part of the business and Euromonitor identified "braggies" as a trend in the hospitality space. It was referring to moves by hotel chains to reward guests who upload images to social media.
Kimpton Hotels' Karma Rewards uses an in-house algorithm to convert a guest's social media interaction to benefits, such as mini-bar credits or room upgrades. Marriott's PlusPoints initiative allocated loyalty points when members used designated hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, or liked a Marriott property on Facebook.
In terms of regions rather than verticals, Euromonitor opted for scale when looking at China and suggested that transactional instant messaging could be The Next Thing in a very big market. It is Tencent's WeChat rather than Facebook's WhatsApp which is flying the flag for instant-messaging transactions. IM-commerce, anyone?
The report refers to Ctrip selling air, rail and attractions tickets through WeChat; Chinese taxi app Didi Dache doubling its users to 40 million in one month after starting a partnership with WeChat; and Spring Airlines, among others, launching a WeChat service in April 2014 allowing users to book flights and check in using the tool.
India is another region which gets its own trend, and it is online rail bookings which Euromonitor highlights. It points out that Indian rail can be booked directly via the Indian Railways Company (IRCTC) website or through OTAs Yatra, Cleartrip and MakeMyTrip.
Online rail bookings in India increased by 300% between March 2013 and March 2014, the report says. Even in a growing market, that is a big increase, although volumes and share are unquantified. But seeing as the Indian railways page on Wikipedia put the number of journeys made on the Indian rail network to around 8.5 billion a year, or some 23 million a day, online players don't need a great share of those bookings to see significant volumes.
And in a nod back to IM-commerce, Euromonitor points out that IRCTC has enabled bookings via SMS for people who have linked up their bank account to their phone.
At the other end of the scale, peer-to-peer dining in Europe is unlikely to attract comparable volumes, but as a trend it sits nicely within the sharing zeitgeist which is prompting us all to use tech platforms to share our spare rooms, our cars, our duty-free allowance and now our kitchens.
EatWith, a TLabs startup pitch participant and recent recipient of VC investment, is mentioned as one to watch along with BookaLokal.
And the recent M&A activity in the restaurant reservations area - Priceline's $2.6bn deal to buy Opentable and TripAdvisor's purchase of La Fourchette - puts this trend into a context of global OTAs looking at dining as a revenue opportunity.
Wearables, in terms of a trend, is an odd one because it almost as if they are old news already - the hype around them was so intense the actuality of how they might impact the travel sector moving forward was lost among the noise.
But as Euromonitor points out, all bets are off until Apple's iWatch is released early next year. The report, which comes out of the travel and tourism research team, refers to findings from their consumer electronics colleagues, who say that nine million internet-enabled wearable devices were sold in 2013 - in 2016 that number will be 180 million.
It has been said before, but surely tech is so ingrained into the travel industry that it almost goes without saying how important it is. Euromonitor gets it, drilling down into the specific tech developments which are working in specific markets or verticals.
The time when the conference circuit is free from inanities such as "the year of the mobile" or "you need to be online to survive" or "embrace social media" is getting closer...
NB World Map image by Shutterstock