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Opportunity on the horizon for travel brands

A new world of travel means a new opportunity for hospitality brands to attract a different kind of travel consumer. Mobas brand insight specialist Vicky Snell takes a global view…

I think it’s fair to say that the natural disasters and terrorist atrocities of late have shaken the world and the travel industry. Yet we as travellers have proven to be extremely resilient, and the threat of the worst happening doesn’t deter us it when comes to our coveted travel plans. Even if they do cross our minds, negative thoughts are quickly dispelled.

Having come from a travel-related background, I’ve watched a real transformation of the industry. Where once travellers demanded and expected swift journeys and full service, they now accept less comfort, less luggage and fewer frills in return for affordability. But where does that leave us now? Will the cheap no-frills mind-set endure, or is the world opening up and leaving us with an appetite to travel and experience more of it in a new and unique way?

With strong desires to travel the world and create memories on the increase, it’s no surprise that globally our spending is continuing to shift from products to experiences. Experiential spending on recreation, travel and enjoyment is on the up, and I believe the trend will continue. Savvy global travellers may well find themselves talking about some ultimate escapism on an ‘air cruise’ (in a vast airship offering a cross between a cruise ship and a luxury hotel) or even into space thanks to a plethora of new and upcoming travel technologies.

But along with technologies, brands will also need to think about changing times socially – which might open up markets that have previously been restricted – such as Saudi Arabia. With the increase of green energy and the cost of oil decreasing, notoriously ‘off the tourism map’ countries are looking at new ways to generate revenue, and tourism is high on the agenda.

These ambitions are set to come face to face with a new generation of inquisitive, well-heeled travel adventurers. Their aspirations, as well as their disposable incomes, are high. Smart travel brands will be setting their sights on shaping new travel experiences in yet-to-be-explored regions. The audience is eager, and it’s up to the industry to transform its offering accordingly.

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