Last week we attended World Travel Market (WTM) alongside 51,000 visitors and exhibitors representing a wide variety of companies and sectors operating in the travel industry.
Here at Lucre we are passionate about travel, with WTM the perfect opportunity to attend talks with experts in the field to get the latest industry insights and predictions for the year ahead. Here are some of our top insights from the event.
What the industry should do to reduce plastic waste
With the likes of David Attenborough and celebrities such as Ellie Goulding endorsing the reduction of plastic waste, it’s no surprise that the travel industry is taking note and changing their approach towards environmental issues.
According to Green Tourism, 71% of tourists want more sustainable options, leading to travel providers such as InterContinental Hotel Group making changes, for example ditching mini toiletries with a third of their hotels following suit, as seen reported in the Independent and Telegraph.
The industry is demonstrating how educating staff and collaborating with competitors and consumers is the key to creating a movement for positive change.
Food is one of the main selling points for any holiday, with 80% of travellers basing their choice of location on the range of places to eat and drink during their break according to the World Food Travel Association.
Gone are the days where tourists chose to eat in the restaurant closest to their hotels, with travellers now looking to live like locals and destinations are taking a leading role in becoming storytellers and bringing the experience alive by slowing down consumption and increasing education.
In order to be successful at this, destinations need to be clear about what is authentic to their locality and make this accessible to customers with the help of local chefs and communities.
Wellness is shaking up not only the travel industry, but society in general, with an ever-present focus on wellness and mental health in the workplace and beyond. The Wellness Tourism Association notes that solo travel and innovative wellness retreats are becoming more popular and with that we can also see a spike in people willing to travel in car rentals, click here and learn from the experts why. The rise of social media making wellness even more accessible for newcomers. There is also a greater demand for flexibility, with the travel industry having to adapt to suit the need for short and long stays.
The challenge the industry now faces is shifting the demographic from the luxury market to make wellness retreats financially friendly for everyone including younger people. Companies such as Joali Maldives and Accor Hotels believe that education and providing holidaymakers with enriching experiences through activities such as yoga and meditation is the key to success.
By implementing initiatives, including improving sleep schedules, active nutrition and positive movement by offering more than just a fitness gym, travellers are forging meaningful connections with others of similar mindsets and their environment – that they can implement in their personal lives long after their holiday ends.
Out Now LGBT reports that LGBT travellers are ultimately looking for a service that offers them both reassurance and respect. Equality is at the forefront of customer’s morals and values, with 70% saying they wouldn’t visit countries that had anti-LGBT laws and social attitudes.
As a result, media specialists are advising that travel companies continue to be progressive in their thinking and be allies in their advertising and editorial coverage. It’s also important that staff are aligned with these ways of thinking, as 28% of LGBT families had a strong concern that they would be judged by hotel staff.
So, what’s next? As we enter the new decade in 2020, understanding audiences is key and companies should be avoiding stereotypes of the typical ‘gay’ to alleviate the concerns of the 39% of travellers who are concerned by what others may think of them. Organisations such as Discover Puerto Rico are offering sensitivity training for all their staff with Evaneos offering personalised and multi-day tours that are matched to the customers, based on their dream trip.
GenZ and Youth Travel
Known as the ‘woke’ generation, Gen Z are drinking less, dismissing gender stereotypes and expecting companies to display a high-level of social responsibility.
According to Contiki, 78% of Gen Z people said they are more loyal to purpose-driven brands than traditional brands and 70% said that the environment and equality are the fundamental issues they care about. These perspectives are forcing travel brands to reconsider their approaches and to continue a consistent narrative throughout the business. Contiki are wanting to involve Gen Z as collaborators and not just as consumers, so are re-positioning their travel experiences to support the local communities and their economies by realigning all 350 of their trips to include conscious travel.
Facebook also credited the rise of AR and VR in the Gen Z generation, with 80% interested in using it. They said that growth requires deep connections with people and culture, for example the Virgin Atlantic pride flight highlighted the importance of incorporating this support throughout the company’s decisions, not just for Pride month.
If you’re looking for an audience-led travel PR strategy, contact us.