Just In Time For Summer: Trends In Travel For Marketers To Consider


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Our colleagues from across the pond (Leo Burnett London, that is) have issued their latest installment of Frisk, our go-to reference on all things trending for a particular topic.

This month's poison? Travel - and if you've had anything close to a Polar Vortex in your neck of the woods this winter, goodness knows an exotic destination is calling your name.

Read on for an deep-dive on the decline of beach vacations, the rise of eco-tourism (and its criticisms) and a few innovative destination examples that are succeeding by taking business-as-usual and tossing it out the window. And, though Frisk focuses centrally on what our British brethren are up to, we think these lessons can be valuable for all marketers, whether or not fish and chips suit your fancy (hot dog and fries, anyone?).

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Just In Time For Summer: Trends In Travel For Marketers To Consider

  1. 1. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014
  2. 2. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Hi there. Welcome to the latest Frisk special. These newsletters bounce Tigger-like from our West Kensington abode every month, acting as a showcase of the thinking that goes on within the venerable red bricks of Leo Burnett London. Frisk has been running for some time as a weekly internal newsletter, with the first edition of each month centring around a particular theme; we recently decided to externalise these specials because, well, we’re nice like that. We’ve focused on WOMEN, LUXURY, NOT-FOR-PROFIT…. And now we’re talking about TRAVEL. Well, why not eh? The chilliness of the eight-month winter is pretty much forgotten, you’re thinking about your summer holidays – feels kinda zeitgeisty, no? So, we begin with cheery news from Canvas8 that you’re all planning to spend more on your holidays this year, and are bucking the classic trend of beach/sun/stupor for something more original. We go on to look at a selection of our own creative work on the travel theme, before hearing some wise words from our in-house retail guru Sarah on what retailers are offering in the relation to travel incentives. There’s some snippets from LS:N, and then we round off with a few intriguing little titbit takeaways. I do hope that you enjoy what you read. If so – or indeed, if not – be sure to fire some feedback into the Twittersphere: the handle’s @LeoBurnettLDN. See you next month for more of this sunblushed cheeriness. Daniel Bevis Senior Knowledge Editor Leo Burnett London
  3. 3. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 The stereotypical image of a holiday masks a much larger variety of desires, states of mind, emotions and personal interests. How much do we still identify with white sands and blue sea? HOLIDAYS WITHOUT THE SUN, SAND AND SEA In 2014, 60% of Brits plan to increase the amount they will spend on holidays. These findings are based on an online survey of over 1,000 Brits, and showed that holidaymakers are now more inclined to book a holiday after seeing a friend’s boastful social media photos than after reading a review or [apparently] seeing an advertising campaign for a specific destination or from a tour operator. Although ‘fly and flop’ remains a staple part of British travel plans, with almost a fifth of Brits intending to book a beach holiday in 2014, findings also tie into people’s appetite for more unusual holiday destinations. One in eight are looking to travel further afield, and one in ten will book a multicentre trip – it’s an indicator that experience is favoured over products. Search for ‘holiday’ on Google Images. The predictable result is a river of photos containing the three holiday staples: sun, sand and sea – representing the alleged epitome of leisure and enjoyment. Yet, this image of holiday masks a much larger variety of desires, options and ‘flavours’, connected to states of mind, emotions, personal interests and idea of leisure and enjoyment. How much do we still identify with the stereotypical holiday image of white sands and blue sea? And do we want to be labelled a ‘tourist’? We work closely with Canvas8, a deep-dive insight network who ‘make the complex simple by helping us make the simple significant’. This new piece looks at the changing nature of the modern holiday. Despite sunny holiday ads, people increasingly prefer exciting experiences Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons (2010) ©
  4. 4. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Travel was the must-do of the 20th century. It was an activity carrying status and implying achievement, in part able to bridge the activity gap between the working and middle classes. As prices dropped in the second half of the last century, people flocked to desirable locations en masse. It was Victorian England that established sun and sea as alluring commodities, motivated by the wish to escape the dull British weather and landscape and the health benefits of warmer climates and sea air. [1] Back then, the warming sun of the South of France or Italy was seen as exotic and luxurious – and being a tourist implied indulging in leisure unimaginable for the less affluent. From that era, we’ve inherited the perception of the beach holiday as highly desirable – a manufactured dream. But times have changed. Not only are we increasingly concerned by the dangers of sun exposure, but we also struggle with being defined as ‘tourists’ – as this has become a ‘dirty’ word. [2] The discourse about dark and eco-tourism may be on the rise, but being a tourist still means being segregated from the locals, and implies ignorance of local customs and the potential for ridicule. As a paper from the University of Oradea explains, “mingling with the locals [is] now the foundation of the new tourist experiences.” [3] In addition, the tourist industry is blamed for spoiling some of the world’s natural beauty spots, and corrupting local economies by creating jobs that the natives choose over more traditional occupations. THE BIRTH OF A DREAM The word ‘tourist’ has attracted negative connotations - but are they still relevant? zoetnet, Creative Commons (2012) ©
  5. 5. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Though we still struggle with the label ‘tourist’, we’re travelling further and more frequently than ever. In 2013, travelling outpaced global economic growth with a collective 4% increase, and it’s predicted to reach 5% in 2014. [4] Travel for leisure has established itself as the ultimate dream, and has grown into a major economic force. This dream is communicated via countless adverts from airlines and holiday operators, including Thomson, Virgin Holidays and British Airways, which often languish in the Victorian ideal: remote paradises complete with beautiful beaches, crystalline water and unspoilt sunshine, a type of holiday meant to deliver ‘mental sunny weather’. However, as generally acknowledged in other areas of the human experience, like sex or food, happiness is found in different things by different people. To stick to the culinary example, we could say that this over- saturation of sunny beaches and blue sea is the equivalent of promoting sweet as the only desirable flavour and baking as the only cooking method. But what would cooking be without bitter, sour, tangy, spicy, salty or frying, boiling and marinating? This analogy represents an as yet unrealised potential in travel marketing – an area driven by statistics that’s only able to tell part of the story, indicating how many people, from which age groups, go where and for how long, while struggling to pinpoint emotional motivations. Is the travel market serving a demand extrapolated retroactively from data, rather than fulfilling people’s real desires? ‘MENTAL SUNNY WEATHER’ MEANS MORE THAN JUST SUN AND SAND Is advertising beach holidays with bikini-clad models the best way to appeal to women? British Airways (2014) © The demographic of holiday booking is one of the main areas where advertising is becoming increasingly dissociated from travellers’ emotions and desires. Research over the last ten years has demonstrated that women are in charge of booking holidays, with figures oscillating between 67 and 80% of all holiday bookings, depending on the survey. [5] And women don’t only book for their family – they increasingly book for groups of female friends, or for themselves. Women travelling solo account for the largest percentage of adventure travellers: data indicates that those most likely to do so are women aged between 47 and 55, an increase of 230% over the last six years. [6] How are these figures reflected in travel advertising? It could be argued that they aren’t. BEACH BODIES VS. REAL TRAVELLERS
  6. 6. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Beach holidays are often advertised using idealised bodies. These images of beautiful, bronzed and toned men and women, geared at inducing desire, may actually produce the exact opposite effect. “Research on the impact on self-perception of idealised female images, in advertising and other marketing contexts, provided inconsistent findings,” says Tamara Ansons of Warwick Business School. “On the one hand, viewing idealised female images can enhance women’s body satisfaction and self-esteem, which could potentially lead to more positive attitudes towards advertisements and products, associated with the female ideal. On the other hand, exposure to idealised female images can result in negative moods, decreased body satisfaction and decreased self-assessed attractiveness, potentially leading to effects opposite to that sought by the marketer”. [7] In other words, it is likely that a ‘normal’ woman may find images of the perfect bikini body daunting – and avoid the beach holiday altogether. Travellers can feel an attachment to Ireland, even if they’re not of Irish descent Carlos Mejía Greene, Creative Commons (2009) © THE EMOTIONAL FLAVOURS OF TRAVELLING VIA IMAGES The travel industry is still reluctant to use images that are not drenched in traditional positive connotations. In July 2013, British Airways attempted such a campaign, launching the digital platform ‘Picture Your Holiday’. As a visitor, you’re asked to choose five of the images displayed and let BA pick a destination for you based on your choices. [8] Sun and sea are still predominant, accounting for 27 images out of 135, but there are also other options, including a forest in the autumn, adventure cycling in the sunset and kite surfing. But while providing variety, the campaign still features somewhat clichéd imagery – and, as a result, it misses out on the opportunity for real emotional dialogue.
  7. 7. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 It’s perhaps obvious that a ‘bitter’ holiday is not a flavour in demand. Yet, a bittersweet mood has been successfully championed by rainy Ireland. Overseas tourism to the nation rose by 7.2% overall in 2013, overtaking Spain at 7.1%. [9] According to Helena Wulff, social anthropology professor at Stockholm University, Ireland owes its popularity as a destination to its ability to evoke nostalgia and longing, rather than to its cultural or natural attractions. [10] The ‘Jump into Ireland’ series of TV adverts from the Irish Tourism Board see couples going lobster-catching, bike riding through the Irish countryside and listening to poetry in an Irish pub. Wulff has interviewed people about their emotional response to images advertising Ireland as a tourism destination as “a case in point of emotions in a global setting.” [10] In the Irish case, the advertising industry had taken notice of the emotional potential, and Wulff’s study found that “images can be emotionally evocative in different ways, exemplifying people’s social relationship to their environment.” As Wulff explains, the central themes of the images were “expatriate emotions of displacement, longing and nostalgia often connected with Irish nationalism while at the same time managing to include non-Irish people.” [10] The apparent opportunity for an authentic experience which the visitor can take part in without being singled out as a tourist – far removed from the sanitised, packaged and manageable option offered by the beach holiday – have made Ireland an appealing destination. “These advertising campaigns have successfully stirred emotions in members of the Irish diaspora and in non-Irish related tourists alike,” says Wulff, and ‘mental sunny weather’ here takes mellow shades that are no less pleasurable and enjoyable than the usual beach. [10] Every year, droves of tourists visit Argentina for an authentic tango experience Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (2014) ©
  8. 8. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 ‘TANGO TOURISM’: DRIVEN BY EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS New studies turn the problem on its head by looking directly at the emotional drive behind travelling to identify what makes us pack our bags and go. Maria Törnqvist, senior lecturer at Department of Education of Uppsala University, has followed the droves of tourists landing in Buenos Aires year-round to partake in ‘tango tourism’. They’re motivated by “the emotional experience transmitted through the intimate dance embrace, the improvised dancing style and the dramatised Argentine music,” Törnqvist explains. [11] Experiencing tango in its native setting represents an alternative flavour of ‘mental sunny weather’, which has prompted the creation of a dedicated travel industry. “The dance tourists’ desire to access the ‘deep emotions’ of the dancing culture has turned tango into an expansive business,” says Törnqvist – one that even allows close contact with the locals, who are hired as ‘taxi dancers’. [11] In this form of tourism, though, emotions merge with commerce – and can cause problems for the otherwise simple tourist equation of ‘payment-equals-service’. “When framing tango in terms of dance voyage to Buenos Aires, the nexus of intimacy and globalisation shifts slightly and changes colour,“ explains Törnqvist. “In fact, adding elements of the holiday experience evokes a number of dilemmas at the heart of our time. How is the quest for emotionality affected by the economic realities exposed through the relations in tourism? And what happens when a tourist industry attempts to annexe feelings and symbolic value such as authenticity?” [11] These tango tourists actively oppose the labelling itself, wanting to be recognised as dancers rather than as tourists – revealing that “emotions and emotional experiences [have become] objects of consumption,” says Törnqvist. “Tango dancing is a leisure activity which is a target for global tourism, and which provides intense and visceral challenges for the consumer.” [11] A difficult emotional negotiation seems to be at the heart of tango tourism, but aspiring tangueros are undeterred. By immersing themselves in the dance entirely, they hope to achieve recognition from local circles – an endeavour which puts them at the margin of the world of tourism as a whole. Interestingly, the official website of the Argentinian Secretariat for Tourism fails to even mention tango as a possible attraction, despite the yearly tango festival – which in 2013 alone attracted 550,000 people to Buenos Aires. [12][13] Solo women make up the highest percentage of adventure travellers Daniel Foster, Creative Commons (2014) ©
  9. 9. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 A dancer rubbing her feet after a milonga, or trekkers covered in mud after a walk in the Irish countryside hardly ever find space in advertising campaigns, yet the minor mishaps of our holidays are often what we remember the most. Even a sun-drenched beach holiday to Thailand can be made ‘tangier’ by choosing to visit remote islands which can only be reached via a rickety canoe. Quantitatively, the time on the beach may outweigh anything else, but the story you end up relating to friends and the mental image that’s transmitted is not the details of fine sand and hot sun, but the exhilarating and frightening boat passage you had to endure. Finding space for these images – neutral or even negative in their reality – could captivate prospective travellers far more than traditionally sugar-coated imagery. If the emotional reality of travel does not conform to the stereotype, cultural products are another strong indication that we’re attracted by something other than what a beach or city break can offer. Literature and cinema often inspire us with stories of travel depicting hardship and self-discovery that can be painful at times, rather than leisure. Think about the enduring success of films like The Beach, Seven Years in Tibet and The Motorcycle Diaries. These narratives appeal to a traveller’s intention of creating their own adventures, emotional landmarks and personal flavours. As the role-playing that cinema and literature allow can easily transform into reality, this dissociation between stereotypical images and real motivations has left open a window of opportunity for clever, alternative advertising that dares to spotlight other aspects – pushing more and more people to pack their suitcases. INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES Sources 1. ‘The Victorian Seaside’, BBC (February 2011), 2. ‘‘Tourist’ is a dirty word. It shouldn’t be’, The Huffington Post (May 2012) 3. ‘Tourism’s Changing Face: New Age Tourism Versus Old Tourism’, EconPapers (June 2011) 4. ‘ITB World Travel Trends Report’, ITB Berlin (December 2013) 5. ‘Women book more holidays’, Travel Daily Media (June 2013) 6. ‘Women Travel Statistics Explained by Travel Expert’, The Gutsy Traveler (February 2013) 7. ‘Defensive reactions to slim female images in advertising: The moderating role of mode of exposure’, Wan F et al. (January 2013) 8. ‘Picture Your Holiday’, British Airways (July 2013) 9. ‘Overseas Visitors to Ireland January 2010 - December 2013’, Failte’ Ireland (December 2013) 10. ‘Longing for the Land: Emotions, Memory, and Nature in Irish Travel Advertisements’, Wulff H (October 2007) 11. ‘Tourism and the Globalization of Emotions: The Intimate Economy of Tango’, Törnqvist M (December 2013) 12. ‘Argentinian Secretariat For Tourism’ (2014) 13. ‘Festival Ends On The Highest Note’, Buenos Aires Ciudad (September 2013)
  10. 10. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Travel, holidays, destinations, communications across the globe – this all feeds variously into quite a lot of the work that we and our global siblings create. Here are a few examples of recent work that demonstrate the shrinking nature of this great big space-rock we’re wandering about on… London. The Capital. One of the most diverse cities in the world. And, as of 2014, officially the top tourist destination on the planet. Millions of people pass through it every day. So this year, McDonald’s and Leo Burnett London saw the opportunity to connect with people like never before - and beyond the restaurant experience. Behind our idea was the thought that you’ve always been able to take your memories of London with you. Now, thanks to McDonald’s, you can leave some behind too… And so, working with McDonald’s, we created Little Piccadilly – a gigantic, interactive visitors’ book, inviting ordinary people to make their mark on one of the most iconic locations in the world – Piccadilly Circus. Anyone can join in. People just passing by are invited to jump on our mobile website – LittlePicca.com – to create a unique, animated character, and send it to the McDonald’s screen. Seconds later, they’ll see their character greeting everyone down in Piccadilly Circus in their native language; before interacting with the other characters up on screen, with high-fives, dancing, magic and much, much more. Little Piccadilly is the world’s first outdoor site to be fully interactive 24/7/365. The site showcases all the characters ever created, reflecting London as a truly global city, and the diversity of McDonald’s customers. And because it is open 24/7/365, the site reflects the changing seasons, time of day and real-time weather conditions on the ground. So, if it’s raining in Piccadilly Circus, it’s raining in Little Piccadilly too – come on… this is England! With over 300 million combinations of artwork and animation, you’ll never see exactly the same thing twice. Little Piccadilly launched in early April 2014, and already it’s started to capture the imagination of people far and wide. In its first month, it has received press and PR coverage from all over the world, and over 20,000 unique characters have been created. Not bad for a single piece of digital outdoor. And there is much more to come… MCDONALD’S: CREATING A DESTINATION FOR VISITORS TO LONDON
  11. 11. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: TAKING OVER THE UK’S LARGEST DEPARTURE BOARD Around the world right now thousands of people are being abused, imprisoned and often tortured by their governments, simply for expressing their views. These people have little chance of being freed or getting home. We approached Amnesty with an idea: We wanted to create something that would stop people in their tracks and get as many people as possible to react and text their support to Amnesty’s on-going efforts to get unjustly imprisoned people released. So, how do you get people to stop, take notice and act by signing a petition to push the governments to release them? We targeted London commuters on their way home by hijacking the UK’s largest departure board at Waterloo Station. Instead of the departure boards showing the usual destinations, the board showed the horrific journeys of those prisoners, causing a lot media attention and almost literally stopping people in their tracks. COCA-COLA: CREATING A SMALL MOMENT OF CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING AROUND THE WORLD The goal of a participation project that Leo Burnett Sydney and Chicago created for Coca Cola was daring, innovative and risky all at the same time and, in the words of our global executive creative director, Mark Tutssel, “Audacious Creativity”! ‘Small World Machines’ was created to invite the people of India and Pakistan – two groups used to living with conflict – to share a simple moment of connection and joy… with the help of technology. Leo Burnett created this moment by installing specially created, high-tech vending machines in two popular shopping malls in Lahore, Pakistan and New Delhi, India – two cities separated by only 325 miles but seemingly worlds apart due to decades of political tension. Consumers were invited to put their differences aside and share a simple moment over a Coke. The ‘Small World Machines’ provided a live communications portal linking strangers in two divided nations, with the hope of provoking a small moment of happiness and promoting cultural understanding around the world.
  12. 12. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 We created first-of-its-kind 3D touchscreen technology to project a streaming video feed onto the vending machine screen while simultaneously filming through the unit to capture a live emotional exchange. People from both countries and various walks of life were encouraged to complete a friendly task together – to wave, touch hands, draw a peace sign or dance – before sharing a Coca-Cola. Jackie Jantos Tulloch, Coke’s global creative director who worked with Leo Burnett on this project, was on the New Delhi side when the machines were activated for the first time. “When the machines came on, there was just this really powerful energy - laughter, smiles, cheers,” Jantos Tulloch says. “People were waving frantically to each other because the idea of this type of seamless, live interaction is so unusual.” One man in particular stood out: “There is an older man in the video. He’s dancing and spinning in a circle. That moment was an incredibly short cut of what was about three minutes of him dancing. He walked away, and he was breathing so heavily. There were so many moments like that that were so surprising and so energetic and so emotional,” she says. “Being a part of it was really awe-inspiring.” In addition to seeing each other, participants also used a touch-screen interface to trace peace signs and smiley faces with their counterparts across the border. When they finished working together to perform those tasks, hands touching (at least virtually) throughout the experience, the machine dispensed a free can of Coke to reward them for their efforts. Coke gave out 10,000 cans of soda during the campaign, which is part of the brand’s larger mission to associate its product with happiness. “Coke has always been a brand that’s about positivity and optimism, and we’re always talking about how we can provoke just a little bit more happiness in the world. And increasingly, we’ve tried to create experiences to actually bring people together in intimate moments of connectivity,” Jantos Tulloch says. “Telling this story through the lens of India and Pakistan really came from our team on the ground there who knows better than anyone that the people really want more positive connection and more positive communication between them.” And the resulting, uplifting content has been shared all around the world, showing that what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart.
  13. 13. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 It’s been fifteen years since I last went into a high street travel agent and I don’t imagine that I am alone in that. The growth of digital channels has opened up so many opportunities to the point that information and choice has become overwhelming. Today, holiday seekers are searching, selecting and booking holidays all over the world at the click of a button. With price playing a huge role in the decision-making, the transparent nature of online channels supports cash-strapped travellers, allowing simple comparison to make the decision process even easier. What surprises me most is how traditional travel retailers seem to have stood still while the rest of the world has moved forward with such pace. The convenient nature of the virtual world is not a new idea anymore and retailers across multiple categories have had to re-think the role of their store. So why has travel been so slow? RETAIL OR E-TAIL Storebites is a regular in-house roundup of tangy titbits relating to shopper marketing and the goings-on in the retail environment. Here, Sarah Leccacorvi discusses showrooming, the omni- channel approach, and the changing role of the high street travel agent. Reminiscing back to the 1980s, travellers only really had two channels for seeking out their next adventure; the local travel agent or Teletext. With Teletext taking an eternity to rotate through all the holiday offer pages, a trip to the travel agent was always the first port of call; back then, there was one on every high street, the most convenient option. In addition, the consultants had the knowledge and the experience to paint a colourful picture of a destination, to further deepen the holidaymakers’ desire to take flight. And with availability at the consultant’s fingertips, it made sense to confirm and complete the booking there and then. 62% of holidaymakers in the last two years have made use of travel agents in some way according to Mintel, so the appetite is still there to leverage them. Regardless of the advent of digital, the role of the local travel agent is not lost; for some, the consultant still plays a key role in the search and selection process. However, unless these interactions convert into sales, the role of the travel agent will end up as a showroom for the cheaper online agents. OLD SCHOOL
  14. 14. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 For travellers bored of another trip to Marrakech or Venice, some tour providers are now offering extreme adventure holidays to countries better known for conflict than tourism. US-based War Zone Tours takes travellers to locations including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Mexico and can cost up to $40,000. The company is explicit about the type of travel that customers can expect, stating on its website that it guides people through ‘areas of conflict as well as areas that could be perceived as being a higher than average level of risk’. But War Zone Tours is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Most travel operators that venture into countries normally associated with war strictly eschew danger zones. ‘We avoid any areas that have a heightened level of conflict,’ Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers, whose tours include Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir, tells LS:N Global. ‘It is not about thrill-seeking, it is about education and breaking down one’s preconceptions – seeing the realities of these countries.’ Bealby’s clients are generally older, between 40 and 70, who ‘have a bit more time, are interested in current affairs and history, and want to step behind the headlines’. While many assume that older consumers may only be interested in trips to Benidorm and Alicante, there is a market of adventure-seekers who want a mind-opening cultural adventure. WAR ZONES: THE NEW FRONTIER IN ADVENTURE TRAVEL We work in partnership with LS:N, the Lifestyle News Network, to offer planners and client teams access to a trends and insight base that plugs us into what’s new, next and innovative in consumer thinking. Here are some of their latest travel-centric findings…
  15. 15. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Drift is an eight-bedroom hotel in San José del Cabo, Mexico. Its decor is a blend of industrial and rustic, and its location is the perfect setting-off point for exploring the Baja California coast. So far, so normal. Drift’s point of difference is that it only takes bookings through Airbnb, the peer-to-peer accommodation site. Hotel owner Stu Waddell initially decided to list his small hotel on Airbnb to remove the complications that come with reservations, including taking payments and dealing with scheduling. But one of the unforeseen benefits of his Airbnb listing was that it attracted the exact kind of demographic that Waddell was looking for. ‘Airbnb started out just being practical, but the more I’m using it the more I realise that it’s bringing me my exact target audience,’ says Waddell. ‘Airbnb is the new way that younger people are looking to travel. Because an Airbnb can kind of be anything, right? I’m using the Airbnb brand as an entry point into my brand.’ Drift offers communal spaces and a shared kitchen, with very little in the way of extra amenities because Waddell wanted to create a blank slate for people exploring the area. ‘Millennials are saying “We don’t want the hotel to give us an experience. We want to create our own experience.” So I’m giving them kind of a blank slate. I’m just providing a platform, a launching pad for them to create their own stories,’ he says. The use of Airbnb and the minimalist approach to hospitality means that Drift carefully treads the line between a traditional hotel, with clean rooms and a guaranteed level of service, with Airbnb’s aim of providing a home away from home. MEXICAN HOTEL CAN ONLY BE BOOKED THROUGH AIRBNB
  16. 16. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 My Plus One is a new travel platform that brings together travellers and locals for a small fee. Users of the website create a profile of themselves, list their interests, any languages they speak and create a form about their trip. The form is sent to all the locals in their destination city and users will then receive offers from the locals with different activities and experiences they can take part in, and choose their favourite. Users can choose from short or long bookings. They can meet a local for as little as an hour or for up to five hours, giving them time to be shown around the city. While cash payments are possible, My Plus One enables users to barter gifts or skills in exchange for expertise. The set-up particularly appeals to business travellers who may be travel-weary and have little time to research the city they are in. ‘When you’re travelling, especially for business, you don’t have much time. No one wants to end up in a bad bar or a mediocre restaurant. Plus One gives you immediate access [from] insiders,’ says Clare Freeman, founder of the company. My Plus One grew out of Plus One Berlin, the original platform that was launched in 2012 and which is now available in five European cities: Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris and Barcelona. Travellers are increasingly looking for ways to assimilate into their travel destinations. My Plus One enables them to venture beyond the guidebook and go where the locals go. TRAVEL WEBSITE ARRANGES MEETINGS WITH THE LOCALS
  17. 17. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 There’s a lot of world out there. Loads of it. You may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to Earth. So no-one will blame you if you fancy toddling off to have a look at it. Just make sure you’re going into it with your eyes open. Sure, it might be like that bit in ‘The Beach’ where they’re all happily blissing out on a paradisiacal shoreline… but what happens if it’s like that bit in ‘The Beach’ where they get bitten by sharks? It’d be handy to have medical assistance that can converse in your native tongue. It’s important to know the difference between ‘you’re going to use that leg’ and ‘you’re going to lose…’ etc. So, TraveDoc is the helping hand you need. It’s a simple site where you just enter where in the world you are, what sort of doctor you need, and what language you need them to speak, and it hooks you up with an appointment. Saves all the embarrassment of trying to mime the symptoms. TRAVEDOC Have you ever been left stranded by an airline? It’s annoying, isn’t it? But when you think about how many flights there are each day across the world, this is hardly surprising. And trying to get your money back is notoriously frustrating - red tape and what-have-you – so it’d be good to have a little digital assistant to help sort things out for you, would it not? AIRHELP
  18. 18. Frisk Special: TRAVEL May 2014 Well, hosanna and glory be – AirHelp is just such a thing. It’s an app that you can download for free, into which you enter the details of any flight you’ve bought a ticket for that’s ended up being cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, and the clever little hamster that’s running around in the wheel behind the scenes will do all the tedious admin work for you. If the airline won’t play ball, the app can even initiate legal proceedings on your behalf. The catch is that AirHelp will then take 25% of your payout as a fee… but hey, it’s probably worth it in time saved, right? If there’s one thing you’re never short of in this world, it’s advice. Usually this is unwanted and unwelcome, but sometimes it can be pretty handy. It’s all about provenance, of course – the key is to listen to the people who seem to know what they’re talking about. When you’re booking a holiday, decent advice is paramount. After all, if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, what’s to stop you booking a room in the Balinese equivalent of a grubby Kings Cross bedsit, or whatever? Dutch site Voyando aims to help you with this. All you need to do is type in where you’re going and the kinds of things you like doing, and a panel of experts will launch into a frenzied battle to be the first to offer you an exciting and all-encompassing holiday package. As well as saving you the irritation of booking your holiday all wrong, it’ll also save you hours and hours of internet research. Seems like a plan with no drawbacks. VOYANDO