Even if you've never heard of a ryokan, the traditional Far East style of bed & breakfast is about to start blowing up your social media feeds, according to Airbnb. The peer to peer vacation rental giant cites two cities in Japan in its top three most popular cities, and projects a 2175 percent increase in booking requests to Korea ahead of the Olympics, in its just-released 2018 Travel Trend Forecast.
Airbnb — which is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary in business — also saw an enormous uptick in bookings for "rustic and non-traditional digs" in 2017, with requests for Nature Lodges up 700 percent and requests for Ryokans (traditional Japanese inns, one of the oldest hotel styles in the world dating back to the Edo period, or eighth century AD) are up 600 percent. Yurts (155 percent) and RVs (133 percent) also continue to see their trend factor climbing.
Cashing in on our collective desire for more experiences over things, driven largely by millennial preferences, Airbnb launched Experiences in November 2016 — curated activities guided by local insiders — and this month announced expanded offerings in growing destinations such as Costa Rica and China.
The site's travel trends report shows a solid 29 percent of all Experiences booked were for food and drink (culinary workshops, craft food and cocktail tastings, and home-cooked catered meals), with unique live music experiences (like a concert in a treehouse) and under-the-radar outdoor excursions just behind in popularity at 9 percent each — and projected to only grow in demand.
But which overall style of vacations does the booking giant see trending the most for 2018? Laid back beach towns, mountain retreats, and mid-size cities are Airbnb's top trending destinations, according to the press release. Mid-size cities in the Midwest near national parks and Canadian locations close to the Rockies are all seeing 200-plus percent growth, as are lesser-known beach towns in Brazil, Cyprus, Britain, and Vietnam.
For more on Airbnb's picks for trending travel experiences and destinations, read the full report here.