First Free Story (1 of 3)

More travel executives get their mission-critical industry news from Skift than any other source on the planet.

Already a member?

Switchfly announced the results of its new survey of American travelers this week, and some of the findings may seem a bit out-of-this-world.

About 5% of Americans admit that they’re anticipating having space-traveled around low Earth orbit by 2020. What’s more, 3% of Americans expect to have visited the International Space Station or Mars by that year. The generation and gender contributing to these intergalactic aspirations the most are millennial men.

The other, more Earthly, finding is 72% of Americans expect travel to be personalized by 2020. Tailored offerings expected include computers default-booking your favorite place to sit in planes, along with your car and hotel preferences, 39%, making travel plans will require only one click of your smart device, 37%, travelers will use facial recognition software during check-in, 37% and computers will know who you want to travel with, 20%.

About 14% of Americans plan on booking travel on technology that hasn’t been invented yet in 2020. The same percentage, though, still plan to book travel through a travel agent.

Americans also have an optimistic outlook on how much traveling they’ll do in 2020 and where they’ll go. About 51% think they will visit more domestic destinations, and 38% say they’ll do more international travel. The study points out this is a significant change from a May 2014 report that found only 2% of Americans traveled internationally that month.

Robots are expected to have a larger role with 2020 travel, as 18% expect to talk to a robot they expect will be more helpful than a person, though 41% still expect to call a hotel or airline and speak to a human.

A majority, 66%, of respondents expect to call an airline or hotel directly in 2020, and 16% believe calling them will bring personalized offerings.

2020 Travel Expectations By Generation

Expected Travel Booking Method in 2020Age Group Most Likely to Use MethodGeneration Represented% Who Said This
On a computer35-44Generation X70%
Using a smartphone18-34Millennials36%
With a travel agent65+Baby Boomers18%
Using a technology not yet invented35-44Generation X17%
Using a smart watch18-44Millennials and Generation X6%
Using smart glasses18-44Millennials and Generation X4%

Source: Switchfly

Photo Credit: The International Space Station orbiting over Earth. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr