is running mystery sales where travelers compete for money.

As our individual worlds become more personalized and niche—and the types of content, experiences and people we are exposed to are narrowed—greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view. This trend, which we termed Reengineering Randomness in our 10 Trends for 2012 report, seems like a good fit for the travel category, given that we often find inspiration in things outside our day-to-day experiences and interests.

Your cookie settings are affecting the functionality of this site. Please revisit your cookie preferences and enable Functional Cookies: Cookie Settings is running mystery sales in which travelers enter for a chance to win a $5,000 vacation for two for the price of $1,000. The catch? Winners choose their travel dates, but the exact destination is only revealed two weeks before the trip. And last year, American Express launched an interesting service, “Nextpedition,” in which a mystery itinerary is created after a person’s “travel sign” is ascertained. Customers book the trip before finding out exactly what they’re in for.

Not too long ago, this type of mystery concept would have been most unlikely: North American consumers wanted familiarity and standardized experiences everywhere they went and in every product they purchased. At the same time, they wanted customization: to get exactly what they wanted. It seems we’ve become so displeased with predictability that we’re now open to services that celebrate the unknown. We’re willing to risk disappointment for the thrill of mystery and surprise.

Reengineering Randomness is about reaching consumers through surprise and delight, online and off, while avoiding their overstimulation and also about enabling serendipitous experiences. Brands and sites that encourage users to meet strangers, explore novel ideas and move beyond their comfort zone in the real world will feel the biggest boost.