The Herman Trend Alert
July 8, 2015
Travel Megatrends for the Near-Term
Recently, an organization named Skift issued a comprehensive report on the future of the travel industry. The big three key themes emerging in travel for 2015 and beyond are: Mobile, Seamless, and Experiential. Skift calls itself "the largest intelligence platform in travel, providing media, insights and marketing to all sectors of the world's largest industry". Because of our author's research into the role of experience, we have focused on three of the 12 megatrends that Skift says will define travel in the near-term future. (For the complete list of megatrends, visit http://products.skift.com/yearbook/the-megatrends-defining-travel-in-2015-2/)
"Hospitality Is Now Driving Innovation in Travel"
The global hospitality industry is reimagining the hospitality experience. Combining the physical and the digital to create unique experiences, hospitality groups are looking way beyond their traditional ways of thinking for inspiration. Marriott is using "Beacons" placed around their lobbies to push out on-property offers, specific to the hotel.
And that hospitality extends to airport lounges as well. The free mobile app LoungeBuddy and Cathay Pacific have teamed up to utilize new iBeacons technology to give guests access to all kinds of exclusive in-lounge content, from daily food and beverage menus to special targeted offers.
"The Conferences and Events Industry is Going Through a Creative Renaissance"
Following in the footsteps of successful tech conferences like TED/TEDx, South by Southwest, C2MTL, OpenWorld and others, the global conferences and events industry is reinventing itself. These innovation/tech summits are leading the event industry renaissance, while increasing numbers of meeting planners are paying attention and evolving their events. New generation (Y and Z) attendees are looking for a creative combination of global perspectives and innovation led by thought leaders inside and outside of their specific industries.
"Travel Brands Reimagine Themselves as Lifestyle Connoisseurs"
Guests, especially Millennials, are looking for that same creativity in the travel brands they support. They seek a "deeper connections to brands' values and the lifestyles they represent"; capitalizing on this attraction, brands are using creative content and enticing images to promote their lifestyle brands and drive customer engagement, loyalty, and sales---within and beyond their traditional boundaries. For example, "Switzerland Tourism aligned itself with [the magazine] Monocle's global cultured lifestyle with a miniature magazine describing winter holidays" and Renaissance by Marriott, a brand built around art and discovery, features "activations", offering onsite events that add local color and provide experiences to engage guests and reinforce their brand.
How these Megatrends will Play Out into the Future
Enlightened travel suppliers will re-examine every aspect of their customer experiences to look for ways improve and enrich those experiences and will be rewarded handsomely with increased profits. Airlines and hoteliers have unique opportunities to help their passengers and guests deal with the increasing weather disruptions (and the accompanying cancelled flights). The travel industry is just one example of how brands are expanding engaging customer experiences to drive profit*.
* For more about this fascinating subject, you won't want to miss Joyce Gioia's presentation "Experience Rules" at "Making the Future 2015", the Annual Conference of The World Future Society, scheduled July 24-26th in San Francisco. Also in the works is her forthcoming e-book on the subject.
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