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Lifestyle, Wellness, Travel & Tech: The 9 Trends That Will Shape 2022

It’s 2022 … and things remain uncertain as ever — in travel, wellness, lifestyle, media, and tech. But as always, TURNER has its eye on the future. Below, check out our leadership team’s forecasts for the next 12 months.

Say Hello To The Artificial Intelligence Newsroom

As both a strategy to increase consumer engagement and combat shrinking editorial staff, we expect to see AI technology being used more frequently in the newsroom. These bot-supported articles – already common on sites like Wikipedia, where 8.5 percent of entries are created by robots – help publishers churn out fresh content quickly. In mainstream news outlets, this technology can be used to verify data, tag/sort articles and other tasks in the journalism process amid shrinking editorial staff. – Adél Grobler

Hybrid Events Are Here To Stay

Events that mix the virtual and the IRL became a necessity in the pandemic era. However, there was a brief moment in 2021 when it looked like purely in-person gatherings would be making a major comeback. With Omicron (and any future variants) threatening, it’s now clear that hybrid events weren’t just a quick fix — they’re a permanent fixture. Brands and planners should already be working to optimize both online and “real-life” experiences to ensure that attendees get the most out of an event. One shouldn’t be superior to the other; seamless integration is the wave of the future. – Naureen Kazi

The Rise of The Metaverse

Accelerated by the pandemic, we can expect to see the combination of physical + augmented + virtual realities for brands in sought of new consumer loyalty. Since Facebook (ahem, Meta) rebranded, they’ve been investing in the transformation via cryptocurrency and NFTs and a $50M funding in non-profit groups to help build the metaverse. In 2022, we will continue to see other brands game-ify everyday activities and establish a virtual presence within popular games and platforms, evolving from individual virtual worlds to fully immersive realties. Stay tuned for the Super Bowl where Miller Lite will open a virtual communal bar inside Decentraland. – Melanie Dennig

The Definition of Wellness is Changing

More than ever, wellness will become a wholistic affair, with people looking to improve the condition of their bodies, minds, and souls. Particularly those last two. According to new data from Mindbody, “half of America (49%) agreed that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental wellbeing—with women more likely to feel this than men.” Additionally, over three quarters (76 percent) of Americans think that being physically active helps their mental health. Look for fitness, beauty and integrative health services to increase their offerings in the mental wellness realm in order to meet this growing demand. – Molly Donnelly

Cultivating Anti-Colonial Travel

The rise of destinations engaging their indigenous communities as tourism partners is the trend I’m most excited about. Initiatives like Canada’s Indigenous Tourism Association and the Hawaiian Tourism Authority’s four-pillar plan are inspiring efforts to cultivate anti-colonial travel and de-center the traditional faces that dominate travel. As resident sentiment and authentic cultural experiences continue to be critical factors for travelers, destinations need to consider how they are supporting their diverse communities or risk getting left behind in favor of those who are. – Diandra Bolton

Voluntourism Gets Real

I’m watching for more “voluntourism” and sustainable travel offerings through DMOs and outfitters — anything that pushes the message that we need to take better care of our world and our communities. The past year was one of the most expensive years for natural disaster due to climate factors, and we need to make sure our industry is doing things that help to preserve, conserve, and make the environment better than how we left it for future generations. – Deborah Park

Total Disconnection from All That Isn’t Nature

The reverse of technology; or more closely, travelers seeking destinations with no cell, internet, or connection services to speak of — total disconnection from all that isn’t nature. But off-the-grid needn’t be far flung or glamourous. Destinations in the middle of nowhere like Nebraska, and large expanses of area with seemingly no focus point…are the point. Only you, the night sky, wilderness, and the feeling of being alone — something most travelers have never felt before. – Campbell Levy

Solo Travel Goes Mainstream

While many people reunited with friends and family – both traveling to visit them and booking trips together – in 2022, I believe we will see an uptick in solo travel. With omicron delaying plans to reopen offices and triggering some schools to return to remote learning, many are heading into a third year of entire families living, working, and studying under one roof. I’ve heard parents expressing their need for a solo getaway – even for a day or weekend – to get some much-needed rest and relaxation. Although it can be refreshing to travel on your own, solo travelers often express frustration with the awkward questions they encounter (“Will your spouse be joining you?” and “Why are you dining alone?” for example) while traveling, so the hospitality industry would be wise to pre-empt the solo travel trend and welcome these travelers with unique packages, comforting amenities, special rates (a discounted one or two-day rate for a quick solo escape, for example), and rejuvenating experiences – and none of the unnecessary questions! – Sunny Fitzgerald

Hitting Mung

Hitting mung? What the heck is that? It’s Korean for “spacing out” — finding a perfectly relaxed state of mind. And it’s something that more and more people are finding beneficial in a stress-filled world. In the travel space, this could translate to blissfully simple activities and experiences that relieve the pressure that many of us feel in our day-to-day lives. Vacationers may start seeking out the most calming environments they can find, from soothing forests to serene rivers. Think of it as a new way to commune with the natural world. – Naureen Kazi

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