Tomorrows Tourist: Fluid Identity

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A description of the key tourism drivers that shape tourists behaviour in 2050 based upon a wealth and a desire for new experiences. Part of the www.tourism2050.com project

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  • Driver explained: 'I am taking a holiday weekend break in Vegas and an eco tourism vacation in South Africa this year,' said the tourist. Why? Tourists cannot be labelled according to their attitudes and beliefs – what they say and what they do, are two totally different things. This is why segmenting tomorrow's tourist is becoming a lot more difficult. If the future is rising incomes and wealth accumulation distributed in ways that alter the balance of the power to even more centricity, along with the age of richness in new forms of connection and association, allows a liberated pursuit of personal identity which is fluid. An identity which is less restricted by background or geography but more by achievement. In the fluid environment, communications channels and technologies are fast moving and instant, which produces a culture of choice enhancement.   Tourists have the means for endless choice and creative disorder. They have the power to express opinion and they do so, whether it is through  www.tripadvisor.com  or www.youtube.com . In fact, they form their opinion not on trusted sources from authority but peer review, hence the importance of consumer generated content and the advocacy of local authentic information as provided, for example, by the citizens of Philadelphia at  www.uwishunu.com . They are excellent at using networking tools to get a better deal or complain about poor service. A fluid identity allows tourists to be frivolous, promiscuous and just plain awkward. A fluid identity means tourists want to sample a range of new experiences, hence the rise of the long tail (Anderson 2009) and emergence of bespoke tourism products i.e. specialist cruise markets at  www.insightcruises.com . The drivers that shape the phenomena of a fluid identity that are discussed here include: Rising middle classes and wealth distribution Fluidity of values Demanding consumers, endless choice and a complicated life A world without boundaries I will try and be ethical, but…….. Immediacy The feminisation of a have it all society Anxious society Trust, volatility and identity Collective individualism Contested hedonism Contested liberalism Immediacy Fluidity of luxury New life courses Extended families Something new References. Anderson, C (2009) The Long Tail. Random House Publications, Auckland.
  • Driver explained: The rising economy in China could lift hundreds of millions of households out of poverty. In 1985, 99% of Chinese consumers could be classified as poor, but by 2025 only 10% might be, according to forecasts by McKinsey (Farrel 2006), has established that urban households may make up one of the largest consumer markets in the world, spending about RMB20 trillion (0.12 RMB: US$1) – almost as much as all Japanese households spend today. Over the next twenty years an increasing number of rural Chinese might migrate to the cities to seek higher-paying jobs. These working consumers, once the country's poorest, will steadily climb the income ladder, creating a massive new middle class. Rapid economic growth will continue to transform the impoverished but largely egalitarian society of China's past into one with distinct income classes. This evolution is already creating a widening gap between rich and poor and tackling the resulting social and economic tension has become a focus of government policy. McKinsey’s projections indicate, however, that China will avoid the ‘barbell economy’ that plagues much of the developing world and which results in large numbers of poor, a small group of the very wealthy, and only a few in the middle. Even as the absolute difference between the richest and poorest continues to widen, incomes will increase across all urban segments. For the future: It is wealth that drives tourism expenditure. As wealth per GDP increases markets will change. Wealth in real terms from countries like Germany will decrease and be replaced by countries like India and China. China’s urban middle class is a strong market for the future, which will spend monies on out of home expenditure and want to travel the world. References Farrel, D. Gersch, U & Stephenson, E (2006) The value of China’s emerging middle classes. Accessed on 1 st March 2009 at http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Economic_Studies/Productivity_Performance/The_value_of_China,s_emerging_middle_class_1798
  • Driver explained: In a period where identities are fluid driven by rapid changing cultures, connections and technologies. Thomas Rochon (2000) book Culture Moves addresses this complex process and develops a theory to explain both how values originate and how they spread. In particular, he analyses the crucial role that small communities of critical thinkers play in developing new ideas and inspiring their dissemination through larger social movements. This idea of shifting values drives consumer volatility and diversity, the changing nature of identity and why it is becoming extremely difficult to segment markets. At the same time, this driver explains the increasingly nature of individualism and everyone having more of ‘selves’ to play with. As this individuality is fluid, brought by context, background and position in life, consumers are comfortable with fluidity and not being labelled A, B or C. The consumer is living a range of fluid identities and performing different roles. A life that is complicated and full of choices. This is a life that isn’t simple but shifting, and the concepts that once upon a time we trusted i.e., church and teachers is now something else. From a tourist perspective, it means tourists are comfortable with a variety of experiences, whether it is an ecotourism experience in South Africa or a hedonism short break in Las Vegas. Fluidity of values drives the desire for new experiences and the experience economy (Wilmot & Nelson 2010) and is fuelled by wealth. The future explained: This trend will continue to grow especially amongst middle class consumers in developing countries who experience consumerism and develop new tastes and desires. This driver connects to the changing nature of luxury as a concept of fluidity. References Rochon, T (2000) Culture Moves . Oxford University Press, Oxford. Wilmot, M & Nelson, W (2005) Complicated Lives: The Malaise of Modernity. Wiley, Chichester.
  • Driver explained: With the rise of the better-informed, savvy consumer has emerged a cynicism and mistrust of many consumer-oriented companies. The belief that companies will exploit consumers and advertisers will deceive them wherever possible is widely held amongst the public. With the media frequently exhorting consumers to be even more demanding, this attitude is becoming culturally ingrained. It is rising affluence and education across world that has been instrumental in breeding a society of highly active and engaged consumers, with a whole new set of expectations of the companies that sell to them. Demanding consumers are in a vacuum of a complicated life driven by the pressure of a paradox of choice in life seems to appear too busy and stressful. This is the cliché of modern life., which is well documented in the literature (Wilmott & Nelson 2005). Some writers argue that capitalism and the promotion of materialism inevitability leads to a hurly-burly jostling for position as people compete for to differentiate themselves by buying more and more goods. In this argument, its effectively all the fault of the consumer. We are encouraged to buy more and we really don’t need to. Others blame technology or erosion of communities. However, the world is simply getting more hectic and life is complicated. This is the paradox of choice in the world. The world is richer, has more choice, has more freedom and therefore the consumer has more decisions to make. The discretion of the choice in the modern era requires decisions and multiple options. This doesn’t make the consumer drowned in choice but a feeling of being overwhelmed. As consumers gain wealth, life seems to become more complicated with choices and hence they become more demanding. Wilmott and Nelson (2005) note that drivers shaping a complicated life are; individualism, routeless society, human capital, technology, choice, anxious society and time use. Many of these drivers are discussed in this presentation and the foundation of a fluid identity. For the future: Demanding and complicated is a fact of life and trend that will continue to be part of the future. Too a certain extent tourism is part of the solution as tourism is an escape from our daily lives. So, the more life becomes complicated, tourism benefits. Tourism is also part of the problem as every country now positions itself as holiday destinations, whether it is North Korea to Malta – they are all doing tourism. The key to success is how to manage the consumers paradox of choice, whether it is anchoring certain types of tourism or a strong brand to make society more human. References Wilmott, M & Nelson, W (2005 ) Complicated Lives: The Malaise of Modernity . Wiley, Chichester .
  • Driver explained: In the book, The World is Flat (2007) Thomas Friedman recounts a journey to Bangalore when he realized globalization has changed core economic concepts. In his opinion, this flattening is a product of a convergence of personal computer with fiber-optic micro cable with the rise of work flow software. As a consequence, information flow between countries is fast and cheap. Studies by Pew (Yeoman 2008), note that the family bond is stronger today compared to thirty years ago because of the ease of communications and social media websites. Penn and Zalesne (2007) observe that only 5m Americans work from home but 10m Americans are extreme commuters (or taking more than 1 hour to get to work). In Europe, good public transport in urban centres and importance of the low cost airline have made greater distance more possible. It is quite common for workers to work in a city Monday to Friday but home is 300 miles away in another, the weekly commute is accepted as mainstream. Language is no longer a boundary around the world, whether it is English as the world’s business language and common currency or http://translate.google.com/ which translates any webpage into the language of your choice. Ethnic structures are changing, cities like Los Angeles, London and Melbourne are becoming melting pots of different and blended cultures to create richness and diversity. For example, what we mean by Britishness or Kiwi is fluid and changing. As a result boundaries are being broken, blended and new ones have being formed as a result of demography, technology and transportation. For the future This trend will only accelerate as technology becomes faster, cheaper and reduces the distance between places. As immigration increases, cultures blend and change. However, identity and who we are become more important as we search for meaning and a sense of belonging. References: Penn, M & Zalesne, E. K (2007) Microtrends . Penguin, New York. Friedman, T (2007) The World Is Flat. Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. MacMillan, New York. Yeoman, I (2008) Tomorrows Tourist. Elsevier. Oxford
  • Driver explained: Much has been said about the consumer and climate change, but do they really care? While many trends have encouraged the growth of ethical consumption in recent years, there are some trends which have a negative or at least limiting influence. Ethical tourism is fashionable and is encouraged by the current dynamics of demographic change. However, it sits uneasily with many aspects of modern lifestyles. Greater wealth has made people more willing and more able to express their moral beliefs in how they holiday, but at the same time it has made consumers more demanding – they have high expectations and are unabashed in seeking out the best deal. A growing economy has facilitated greater choice, but it has also come with a demand for lower prices and greater convenience.   For example, Britain has a low price culture.  Yeoman and McMahon  (2006) highlight that today's consumer is four times more price sensitive than a decade ago. It seems consumers have got used to flying with Jetstar and sleeping at Bella Vista These goods are basic commodities which suffer deflationary pressures. From an ethical consumption perspective, although surveys regularly report consumers' willingness to pay extra taxes or a premium to stay in green hotels, the magnitude quoted by Yeoman and McMahon (2006) found that only 7% of people would pay a premium of 20% or more for an ethical product – whereas 31% said they would not pay any extra for ethical goods. Ethical experiences still need to compete on price with their  unethical  competitors. The ethical cachet, like a desired brand name, can encourage a consumer to spend more. But even with keen ethical tourists this is balanced by cost constraints. The keenest minority of wealthy ethical tourists are sometimes willing to pay large premiums – but for the wider public steeped in low price culture, small premiums are still the order of the day. Overall, as Kermit the Frog once said ,‘it isn’t being green’ (Henson 2005). That is the dilemma of today’s consumer and tourist. For the futures: In many cases, ethical consumption is not the easy or glamorous option. Sometimes consumers' ethics can clash with the have-it-all lifestyles we enjoy, especially in the wealthy groups most influenced by the debate. For instance, lately there has been a great deal of negative press around the environmental responsibility of air travel. However, modern consumers, especially the wealthy, positively expect to be able to take at least one foreign holiday a year. As these two trends clash, the ethical consumer must judge whether they should take only short-haul holidays or indeed whether foreign travel is at all compatible with their ethics. For the tourism industry, the key is helping Kermit the Frog make green decisions such as the destination choice (100% Pure New Zealand) through quality assurance programmes (Qualmark Envio). References Yeoman, I & McMahon-Beattie, U (2007) The UK Low Cost Economy. The Journal of Revenue & Pricing Management . Vol 6, Vol 1 pp2-8. Henson, J (2005) It’s Not Easy being Green: And Other Things to Consider. Hyperion Books, London.
  • Driver explained: Betty Friedan' (1963) ground breaking book, "The Feminine Mystique“, that women have been enticed into the workforce and are seeking out paid employment as a way to get out from under their second-class status is now being replicated in developing nations like China and India. Here, the passing of women from father to husband has been disbanded with education, careers, dating and new lifestyles. In the USA, four decades ago nearly two-thirds of all college graduates were men (64%). Today's makeup of college campuses looks drastically different, as a majority of graduates are now women. In 2007, fully 53.5% of all graduates were women while just 46.5% were men. More women than men have some college education but not a degree as well. As a result of the sharp increase in education, women today are also earning far more income than they were in 1970. Women's earnings grew 44% from 1970 to 2007; men's income only grew by 6%. This has narrowed the income gap between men and women, but has far from closed it. Median earnings of full-year female workers in 2007 were 71% of earnings of comparable men, compared with 52% in 1970. This trend is picked up by Silverstein and Fiske (2005) who argue that in the USA, it has been woman that has transformed luxury products and tourism. Yeoman and McMahon (2005) note that ‘The typical reader of the Lonely Planet is 18–34, educated to degree level, has strong opinions about social justice and world peace and regards travel as a culturally valuable stage on life’s way. Eighty per cent of Lonely Planeters are single and 72 per cent are femal e, therefore leading to the conclusion that the growth in world travel as a feminine perspective. At the same time, the most important values in society are about family (Yeoman 2008) rather than material possessions, but the pressure to have both a family and a career are enormous given the drive for year on year wealth improvement. The drive to improve ones self is a basic human trend that is set to continue. For the future: This trend w ill continue to increase but with different emphasis, to some it is about a work-life balance or how to manage in a world of technological change given the rise of social media. Families today are asking how they can earn enough to maintain the standard of living they want while having enough time to spend with their kid. Families often struggle to find time for the things that make life worth living – family, friends, leisure, just enjoying life. From a tourism perspective, holidays become the meeting place from a ‘have it all society’ or they are part of the bling and materialism of tourism. To some, tourism is about collecting places. It is part of the development of cultural capital and social cachet about how we ‘talk about places we have visited’ at dinner parties or social good of tourism i.e., volunteerism. Friedans, B (1963) The Feminine Mysterique. Penguin, London Yeoman, I & McMahon-Beattie, U (2006) Tomorrow’s tourist and the information society . Journal of Vacation Marketing . Vol 12, No 3, pp269-291 Silverstein, M & Fiske, N (2005) Trading Up: The New American Luxury . Portifolio, New York
  • Driver explained: Despite being richer, healthier and safer than ever before, today’s consumers seem to worry more than ever – whether about food, crime and diseases and so called risks or one kind or another. The result is that goods and services are subject to panic effects, whereby a product deemed ‘unsafe’, or simply tainted by association, suffers a sudden collapse is demand. The tourism market is affected by this, whether it foot and mouth disease (UK), SARS (Canada) or terrorism (Egypt), where precautionary behaviour by tourists has gone far in excess of any rational calculus of risk and probability. Sociologist Frank Furedi ( http://www.frankfuredi.com/ ) calls this the culture of fear. For example, he notes that in response to a Gallup questionnaire about whether people need to take special care about what they eat for health reasons, the proportion agreeing doubled between 1947 and 1996. Despite improvements in health and diet, more people are worried about what they eat. It seems as though in the lack of any serious dangers in day to day life, consumers generate new fears an concerns to supplant the old ones. Parallel to a culture of fear is a myth of decline. A modern socio-economic analysis in many OECD countries clearly divides itself into two distinct tribes. On the one hand, there are those who interrogate the relevant data and broadly conclude that, over the last generation, many consumers has done rather well in the world, citing as examples rising disposable incomes, price stability, greater levels of educational attainment and relative social harmony. On the other, there is a well-supported camp which insists that we are less content than we used to be; that families / communities are not as strong and as tight as before; that the neurosis of competitive individualism makes us incapable of consuming wisely; that the boom in anti-depressants consumption and therapies of all kinds shows how much we have lost our way as a society. Such an analysis is articulated in George Berstein’s (2004) book, The Myth of Decline.’ For the future: An anxious society and excessive worrying means the state will regulate even more in the future.  To a certain extent this phenomenon of excessive worrying is actually taking the fun out of pleasure! A society that worries to excess, results in a sclerosis in commercial activity as a result of regulations and the extent to which red tape and rising insurance premiums impact on choice – resulting in tourism businesses being unable to operate viably. Yeoman (2008) argues that an anxious society will always be here and one of the ways to deal with the situation is building trust with your consumers. That is why destination brands have to be based upon truth and trust, which has mental connection with tourists. Berstein , G (2004) The Myth of Decline . Pimilico, London Yeoman, I (2008) Tomorrows Tourist. Elsevier, Oxford
  • Driver explained It must be universally accepted by now that few consumers are going to pro-actively love a special personal inventory of big brands. And fewer still are, in the motive presence of better / cheaper / different offers, going to be devoted to them forever throughout their consuming lifetimes. But one has to wonder whether this whole borrowed idiolect of human intimacy and “relationships”, built on some notion of sustained exclusivity, really packs analytical heat any more. We make no over-cute verbal leap here but how many individuals may, across their lifetimes, enjoy a combination of only one partner, only one family, only one home? This is an age of experimentation before settlement and then inertia and then, quite possibly, re-experimentation. However, the success of 100% Pure New Zealand as a destination brand is unique in the tourism industry, not only did the brand celebrate it’s 10 th birthday in 2009 but is also one of the most iconic brands in the world. In New Zealand it is second only to the All Blacks. Dr Ian Yeoman talks about why 100% Pure New Zealand is a successful brand in today’s market place ( http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/news-and-features/guest-editorials/why-we-should-stick-with-100percent-pure ). Really successful brands, can pursue what we might call an elasticity of loyalty. Their customers are prepared to embrace new ideas and products from them - even if they were to move into sectors where they previously had neither presence nor credibility. This is brand nirvana, a special space occupied only by the few and (tellingly for more old-fashioned marketing analysis) not necessarily by the oldest. We also notice too, that some modern offers make barely any discourse with the theme of loyalty at all. Ryanair’s ( www.ryaniar.com ) market is held in place by ultra-cheap flights, easy booking and multiple destinations. Beyond these features, the brand - in the sense we mean here - does not pretend to be lovable. It is indeed almost totally de-glamorised. It virtually says to customers: if you can get a better deal, take it! (Yeoman 2010) In a society based upon a fluid identity, Wilmott and Nelson (2005) argue this fluidity is grounded in a routeless society, as the church, elders in the family or class distinction has being abandoned as a sign of guidance. For many people this is a libertaing experience in which they can guide their own destiny. With fewer set courses, life becomes more complicated For the future The world of tourism is becoming more commoditized, with many destinations offering similar types of experiences. Even Norway promotes itself to the British market as ‘not as far as New Zealand’. If this trend continues, everywhere might look like New Zealand. What is important for the future, whatever the brand is, a promise that has to be matched on the supply side. In advanced capitalist societies, consumption has been intrinsic to self-expression and tourism is a prime example of this. As affluence grows, so also does our cultural and social knowledge and people’s expectations (and the way in which this informs consumption) become more important considerations. The cultural capital is how tourists talk about the places they have visited, the food they have eaten, the museums they have visited and the people they have met. Trust is generated in the conversation hence also creating cultural capital and social cachet. As most destination’s marketing organisations are a function of government most consumers are less trusting of government, hence the scrabble across the world for social responsibility and ethical behaviour. Hence, brands must appear simple and transparent to the consumer with no contradictions. In networked society where no one can hide, where information is freely available, the same is true about brands. References Wilmott, M & Nelson, W (2005) Complicated Lives: The Malaise of Modernity. Wiley, Chichester.   Yeoman, I (2010) The Future of Destination Branding. In Morgan, N. Pritchard, A. Pride, R (Eds) Destination Branding: Creating the Unique Destination Proposition. Elsevier, Oxford
  • Driver explained: Broadly speaking, individuals have become more powerful in relation to institutions over the last generation. Witness the devolution of increased buying power to consumers since the 70s and 80s, a function of macro-economic growth, higher skills and enhanced employability as well as reasonably efficient systems of income-distribution. Or the declining footfall of many once conventional ‘agents of shared endeavour’ such as trade unions, cooperative movements and churches. Or the explosion of choice characterising the evolution of so much human experience in recent years - the result of everything from the evaporation of monolithic public utilities to competition in the high street to the ease with which one can change spouse to the widespread tolerance of lifestyles once regarded as unusual or unacceptable. Individualism is symbolised by the growing trend of expression of identity through tattoo’ in society or from a business perspective, Tesco, the largest retailer in the UK knows if you are buying premium ice cream you will also buy fresh pasta (Humby 2008), such is the power of the prediction based upon their customer loyalty scheme www.tesco.com/clubcard . Yet it is also the case that even the most individualistic modern consumer sees an advantage in joining forces with others, finding the best sources of intelligence, pursuing economies of scale and sharing experiences – leveraging the input, knowledge and network of groups and communities and entering into a kind of ‘sharing’ engagement more generally. Individuals are expressing their identity with others, they are associated themselves with groups. Oliver (1999) discusses the phenomena of tattoos as a process of identification with groups, sports teams or culture. It’s, as if we all want to be individuals with a sense of belonging. The tattoo has become the timeless symbol of identification, to the point that Air New Zealand leveraged a marketing campaign using temporal tattoos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoa1lLxcrWk&feature=related ) . For the future: Individualism is a key driving force for the future of tourism, as individualism is an expression of identity and escapism. Tourism allows people to be who they want to be, but also provides space of collectivism. Collective individualism is expressed in the 100% Pure New Zealand brand. New Zealand tourism is saying who they are and who they want to identify with. With the growth of social media, individualism is growing at an exceptional pace allowing tourists to share ideas via blogs, or, is the future something akin to Avatar in which we all can be something else. References: Humby, C (2008) Scoring Points: How Tesco Continues to Win Customer Loyalty . Kogan-Page, London. Oliver, R (1999) Whence Consumer Loyalty. The Journal of Marketing . Vol 6, No 1, pp33-44
  • Driver explained: The term ‘hedonism’ is used in several contexts. In moral philosophy it denotes the view that a good life should be a pleasurable life. In psychology it stands for the theory that pleasure seeking is a main motivator of human behaviour. There is a longstanding discussion about the merits of this hedonism. Some praise it as natural and healthy, but others equate hedonism with overindulgence and moral decay. The mixed feelings about hedonism are reflected in the connotations surrounding the word. On one hand hedonism is associated with good taste and the art of living well, on the other hand with addiction, superficiality, irresponsible behaviour and short-sighted egoism (Veenhoven 2003). As such, the world’s most successful city tourism destination is Las Vegas, which has always promoted itself as an adult Disneyland with an hedonistic outlook. Vegas is about undiluted fun and pleasure. Yeoman (2010) notes that a great deal of product positioning and product promotion has been rooted in the concept of ‘sanctioned indulgence’, holidays are no exception. But this concept is not quite what it was. As a concept, both personal and political, indulgence is having to respond to new pressures, redefining itself for a more health-conscious but still pleasure-seeking age. Health hedonism is a term which brings together the following factors; The ever more insistent invitation from health professional to the consumer citizen to scrutinize and review all habits in their own interests including sunbathing, drinking and sex. The new forms of social and cultural status which can flow from being seen to be in charge of one’s own personal development, fitness, appearance and ageing process. The awareness that there are multiple forms of pleasure and that what is objectively good for you should impart just as much fun and quality. For the future: Venenhoven (2003) raises an interesting question about hedonism, if hedonism adds to happiness? How long does that happiness last? If hedonistic behaviour is as unhealthy as some doctors say it is, it could shorten an otherwise happy life. So the key to the future is making sure that hedonism is healthy. Very few markets now make the promise of undiluted, y ou-know-it’s-not-good-for-you-but-go-on-anyway excess - holidays are moving this way. Many markets, in fact just have to deal with a critical, cultural-commercial contradiction of the times. The consumer wants quality to the point of luxury, but might not want to look like a slob or appear as someone who is wantonly insensitive to their own health. On the other hand, as consumers have a fluid identity that concept of hedonism is contested. Future tourists are happy with a range of hedonistic concepts, whether it is healthy or not. References Yeoman, I (2010) Tomorrows Tourist. Elsevier, Oxford Veenhoven, R (2003) Hedonism and Happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies . Vol 4, No 4, pp437-457
  • Driver explained It goes without saying that the way in which contemporary society defines value and identifies virtue is shaped in shifts in wealth and education. In general terms as society becomes richer and more educated it becomes more liberal. There is an appreciation of the concept liberalism as society seemingly deals with issues such as gay rights, abortion, immigration and sex. However, in a society which has seemed to have banned discrimination against women, many of these issues still have a degree of uncomfortableness. Sex is an issue to be discussed in the home rather than in public. In China, the country’s first sex theme park was demolished (BBC 2009) as the authorities felt uncomfortable with the idea. However at the same time attitudes towards internet dating have changed, with the success of website’s such as www.findsomeone.co.nz . In the UK, every major down has a Ann Summer shop ( http://www.annsummers.com/ ) in the high street selling everything from rampant rabbits (vibrators), fluffy handcuffs to erotic lingerie. American liberal and European attitudes towards lingerie have seen the successful growth of brands such as www.victoriassecret.com . Across the world we have seen same sex marriages become legal in catholic countries such as Italy and Spain. Homosexuality is no longer banned in many countries but carries a death penalty in others. Immigration is a thorny issue, in times of economic prosperity business cry out for immigrate labour, but during recessions we see organised pockets of severe disquiet in so many places and the rise of nationalist politics. Abortion is an issue that divides nations, especially in the USA. So, is the consumer liberal? According to the social forecaster William Higham (2009), today's teens are hugely different to Generation X or the Baby Boomers. Like Saffy from  Absolutely Fabulous , many are reacting against the hedonism and youthful ‘cool' of their parents and older siblings, exhibiting more ‘adult' traits than their elders. They are increasingly drawn to moral certainties and the assurance of tradition. They seem to be conservative rather than liberal. Contrary to tabloid headlines, they're moving away from drink, drugs and casual sex, and towards community, principled life strategies and ‘old fashioned' leisure pursuits. For the future: The notion of multiculturalism, so central to the specific form of Liberalism we have known over the last generation, is being seriously contested by a growing worry that many parts of the world are referring to as tribalism and not enough common purpose. Sex will always be an issue that divides opinion. Places with liberal attitudes towards sex and drugs such as Amsterdam are curtailing the emphasis on such virtues (but not abandoning). Liberalism is in conflict with many religions around the world, whether it is the Roman Catholic Church or Islam. At another level, a heightened sense of personal freedom might increase the growth in world tourism, where identity is built on liberal attitudes reinforced through education and knowledge. The exposure of tourists to a multi-cultured society allows greater expression of individuality, whether this is sexual behaviour or unconventional lifestyles. References BBC (2009) China sex theme park demolished 18 th May . http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8054893.stm Higham, W (2009) The Next Big Thing: Spotting and Forecasting Consumer Trends for Profit. Kogan-Page. London.
  • Driver explained: We live in an era where time has become one of the most highly valued commodities in our society. “Having time, making time, saving time, buying time” are everyday phrases. They are not just buzzwords or idle descriptions but ideas, and sometimes aspirations, which have come to define our generation and affect our everyday lives as individuals and consumers. Having time for family, friends or a quiet moment alone has become a luxury for many people, and increasingly we are willing to pay more for goods and services if it means we can save ourselves some time. Today, our expectations about sourcing information have been reduced from minutes to nanoseconds as technology has abandoned dial up and embraced broadband. At the sametime, the use of mobile technologies in our daily lives means tourists can access any thing, any time, anywhere. There nearly isn’t anywhere on the planet where this isn’t true. Social media platforms like www.twitter.com allows us to follow our friends or www.facebook.com keeps families connected throughout the world. www.google.com is now part of everyday conversation. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allows to know where everything is and never get lost. Everything is just a click away as they say. At the same time we have become increasingly used to having to manage our time and coping with the often-felt compulsion to be ‘wired at all times’ – to our colleagues, our families and friends. Research published in the UPS Business Monitor (Yeoman 2010) found that senior business executives agreed that “too many e-mails” was by far the most frustrating techno-issue facing them in their workplace. The same study also found that 90% of those same senior executives always respond to their e-mails. Apparently, some 75% of the executives interviewed in the UPS survey even stay in touch with their office by phone while on holiday. For the future: Augmented reality in which virtual reality is placed in front of physical object and delivered on a mobile phone platform is changing hotel reservation and information provisional model. Today, in cities like Tokyo and Seoul, 30% of hotel reservations are made on the day of arrival via a mobile phone. A concept that allows information seeking and an immediate reservation. Today, New York City Visitor and Convention Bureau is using state of the art Google maps and tables in there visitor centre http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKukR7UMFJ8 ) . Further into the future, the University of Washington’s twinkle ( http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/ar-contact-lens/ ) in your project might bring similar technologies to contact lens, giving the impression of Terminator technologies and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Yeoman 2010). References Yeoman, I (2010) 2050: Tomorrows Tourism . Channelview, Bristol
  • Driver explained: The concept of luxury is incredibly fluid and changes dramatically across time and culture. In the past it was associated with champagne, caviar, designer clothes and sports cars. Nowadays with increased affluence, luxury is a blurred genre which is no longer the preserve of the elite. More and more consumers have traded up as the old values of tradition and nobility have become less important. People are enjoying much more material comfort in comparison to previous generations, resulting in a trend of a cultural shift for personal fulfilment and aspiration through experience. Therefore ,it could be argued that luxury is increasingly about experience and authenticity rather than monetary value. This is not to say that luxury is about status, but luxury is more than monetary value. Indeed, they run side by side. This focus on aspiration and experience means increasing emphasis on personal transformation through for example, well-being and travel. It means that consumers want to improve their life. This is what Yeoman and McMahon-Beattie (2005) identify as the feminisation of luxury, where luxury has moved on from its male trophies and status symbols towards experience and indulgence. This is perhaps attributed to women’s increasing buying power in society which is driving luxury markets such as well-being, clothes and tourism. Therefore luxury is becoming a lot more difficult to define, as the language has changed. Luxury today is not a necessity or necessarily expensive. It can be mass market, not traditional, but personal, authentic and experiential. However, the old world luxury of consumption and elitism still prevails. For the future: As consumers’ incomes across the world rise, their aspirations grow. Whilst air travel has become a commodity, many experiences and products have seen the benefit of consumers trading up. The rising middle classes of the world are now experiencing luxury, the like of which their forefathers would have never imagined. No longer is it uncommon to take several holidays a year, to have a second home or dine in an award winning restaurant. However different consumers view luxury different ways, developing economies view luxury as materialism whereas developed countries view luxury as aspiration. By 2050, countries like China may no longer be developing countries but developed so their perception of luxury might be similar to today’s developed countries if levels of wealth continue to growth. References Yeoman, I & McMahon-Beattie (2005) Luxury markets and premium pricing. Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management. Vol 4, No 4, pp319-328
  • Driver explained: When many futurists argue about an uncertain world, whether it is oil prices, technology, the economic performance of China and climate change – the only certain prediction is birth and death. According to the United Nations in 2050 there maybe be 9.1 billion people in the world compared to 2.5 billion in 1950. In 2008, the global population might be 6.8 billion with 5.6 billion living in less developed regions. According to a scenario constructed by the United Nations (2009) by 2050 developing countries could account for 86% of the population. By 2050, the population of the 49 least developed nations may double from 835 million to 1.7 billion. However, between 2009 and 2050, the population of developed countries is projected to remain stable at close to 1.2 billion. Demography changes life courses, consumer attitudes and beliefs. Research by Yeoman and Butterfield (2010) on the singles market and travel in the UK identified that by 2030, single females who live alone could represent 19% households and holidays for this market act as a meeting place for singles. For companies such as www.exploreworldwide.com the core market is the single traveller, while www.elenasmodels.com provides holidays for men looking for Russian wives. The main purchasers of ‘Lonely Planet’ guides are single, middle-class females and are portrayed in the films about Bridget Jones , a thirty something single women living in London trying to make sense of life and love. Longevity and smaller core families have led to the family structure becoming more vertical rather than statically horizontal in form. Because there are more, longer-living grandparents and fewer children, grandparents are enjoying more time with their grandchildren. Consider the following: in 1900, the life expectancy of a woman in the United States was 47 years; today it is 80. Today, grandparents can expect to enjoy several more years with their grandchildren than could grandparents of the 1960s. One of the emerging markets of today, is the grand traveller, where grandparents holiday with grandchildren. For the future: Demography maybe the single most important factor that might change tourism behaviour. For example, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle in old age, consumers are searching for a means to extend healthy retirement years. This means for example, we have see an increase in healthier foods and for better access to a variety of physical activities as a way of combating growing anxiety problems and expanding waistlines. Another example of change is the future of the German market. The Germans are the biggest outbound travellers of the world. But a more long term perspective, ageing populations could become problematic for Germany and propensity to travel and actual travel pattern swill fall due to less wealth per capita, health issues and stagnatic house prices. References Yeoman, I & Butterfield (2010) Demography and Tourism In Yeoman, I. Hsu, C, Smith, K & Watson, S (Eds) Tourism and Demography . Goodfellows, Oxford.
  • Driver explained: Longevity and smaller core families have led to the family structure becoming more vertical rather than statically horizontal in form. The multi-generational family, also known as the ‘vertical family’, is a term first coined by sociologist Michael Young (Briggs 2001). It refers to the fact that, because of increased longevity, there has been a gradual shift towards there being more generations in a family. Because people live longer and lead healthier lives it is more common now for a family to consist of three, four or even five generations. Supporting this trend, is the phenomenon of falling birth-rates, which lead to fewer siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles compared to previous generations . Thus the structure of the family is more vertical and less horizontal than in the past. The implications of this ‘stretching’ are manifold for family life and for the relationship between generations at a societal level. Because of demography, extended families become more, whether it is grandparents as care givers or children becoming an important currency as there are less of them in the future. Remember China is a country based upon the ‘one child policy’, a world without brothers and sisters. For the future: Listen to Dr Hieke Schaenzel from Victoria University of Wellington talk about the changing structures of families and what it means for tourism in New Zealand .   R references Briggs, A (2001) Michael Briggs: Social Entrepreneur. Palgrave MacMillian, London. Schaenzel, H (2009) The New Zealand Family Holiday. Accessed at http://mdsweb.vuw.ac.nz/Mediasite/Viewer/Viewers/Viewer320TL.aspx?mode=Default&peid=1099b792-8305-4ade-bd20-e915fb169628&pid=453152b9-bfce-4204-9688-8bc152b5f81c&playerType=Port25
  • Driver explained: Incomes have grown enormously across the world since the Second World War, new middle classes are emerging in real terms in China and India whereas forecasts of population growth in USA, Australia and the UK may drive even more wealth creation. In Australia, disposal income has grown three fold since the early 1950s and has had a major material well being. Not only televisions, mobile phones become the norm but increasingly large proportions of discretionary income is spent on holidays, health and leisure activities. As people’s basic materials needs are increasingly satisfied they turn their marginal incomes on post-material wants such as personal services that generates self fulfilment, self esteem and better quality of life. As economies mature, an ever greater proportion of consumer spending is going in search of services rather than physical goods. Only about one third of all household spending is now devoted to what economists call "tangibles". (Yeoman 2008), a reflection that consumers are increasingly preferring to spend money on things that give them temporary enjoyment, rather than on things they can keep. Of course, one of the effects of exposure to a broader range of activities than was available in the past is that certain activities are no longer regarded as ‘special’. For example, most people do not feel that going out for a meal is any longer something out of the ordinary. This is not to say that they don’t enjoy going out for a meal or that a meal can’t be a special occasion – but simply that eating out is now regarded as a more everyday activity than in the past. There is a profound yearning for new experiences – which has resulted in a ‘checklist mentality’ when it comes to trying new things. Consumers increasingly try out something once so they’ve had the experience but won’t necessarily do it again – a one-off experience that doesn’t have to enter their regular portfolio of activities. With increased wealth comes a desire for change and something new, research by the Future Foundation ( www.futurefoundation.net ) highlight that the average UK consumer changes their hair style every 18 months, when buying a new cars seeks a new model and make, is constantly meeting new friends and therefore seeking novelty and change. For the future: We are seeing a big increase in hobbies – leisure activities that they do on a regular basis compared to the rest of the population. This could mean the experience of becoming engrossed in a sport and playing at club level, or the experience of becoming an art, wine or food connoisseur, in short, new experiences are defined by becoming passionate about a specific activity. As long as disposal income continues to increase, these hobbies and pastimes are being turned into holiday activities, whether it is knitting or tramping. Chris Anderson has coined the term, http://www.thelongtail.com/ in which the future of the world is based upon everything micro including tourism. Now many destinations focus on promoting niche market to short break tourists. Reference: Yeoman, I (2008) Tomorrows Tourist. Elsevier, Oxford
  • Tomorrows Tourist: Fluid Identity

    1. 1. Fluid Identity Trust, Volatility and Identity Contested Liberalism Contested Hedonism Rising Middle Classes and Wealth Distribution A World Without Boundaries Collective Individualism Demanding Consumers, Endless Choice and a Complicated Life Fluidity of Values The Feminisation of a Have it all Society Fluidity of Luxury New Life Courses I Will Try and be Ethical, but…. Anxious Society Immediacy Extended Families Something New
    2. 2. Rising Middle Classes and Wealth Distribution The rising economy in China could lift hundreds of millions of households out of poverty. In 1985, 99% of Chinese consumers could be classified as poor, but by 2025 forecasts by McKinsey suggest 10% (Farrel 2006)
    3. 3. Fluidity of Values This trend will continue to grow especially amongst middle class consumers in developing countries who experience consumerism and develop new tastes and desires.
    4. 4. Demanding Consumers, Endless Choice and a Complicated Life As consumers gain wealth, life seems to be come more complicated with choices and hence they become more demanding…. to a certain extent tourism is part of the solution as tourism is an escape from our daily lives.
    5. 5. A World Without Boundaries Ethnic structures are changing, cities like Los Angeles, London and Melbourne are becoming melting pots of different and blended cultures to create richness and diversity. For example, what we mean by Britishness or Kiwi is fluid and changing. As a result boundaries are being broken, blended and new ones have being formed as a result of demography, technology and transportation.
    6. 6. ‘ I will try and be ethical, but……’ Much has been said about the consumer and climate change, but do they really care? While many trends have encouraged the growth of ethical consumption in recent years, there are some trends which have a negative or at least limiting influence. Ethical tourism is fashionable and is encouraged by the current dynamics of demographic change. However, it sits uneasily with many aspects of modern lifestyles. Greater wealth has made people more willing and more able to express their moral beliefs in how they holiday ….often in conflict with ethical consumption. As Kermit the Frog once said, it is ‘difficult being green’, hence the dilemma for today’s consumer (Henson 2005)
    7. 7. The Feminisation of a Have it all Society From a tourism perspective, holidays become the meeting place for a ‘have it all society’ or is tourism they just part of the bling and materialism of society? In the USA, four decades ago nearly two-thirds of all college graduates were men (64%). Today's makeup of college campuses looks drastically different, as a majority of graduates are now women. In 2007, fully 53.5% of all graduates were women while just 46.5% were men.
    8. 8. Anxious Society Despite being richer, healthier and safer than ever before, today’s consumers seem to worry more than ever – whether about food, crime and diseases and so called risks or one kind or another. The result is that goods and services are subject to panic effects, whereby a product deemed ‘unsafe’, or simply tainted by association, suffers a sudden collapse is demand. The tourism market is affected by this, whether it foot and mouth disease (UK), SARS (Canada) or terrorism (Egypt), where precautionary behaviour by tourists has gone far in excess of any rational calculus of risk and probability. Listen to a video about the culture of fear here
    9. 9. Trust, Volatility and Identity Dr Ian Yeoman talks about the importance of 100% Pure New Zealand in a world of uncertainty surrounding trust, volatility and identity ( click here) Cultural capital is how tourists talk about the places they have visited, the food they have eaten, the museums they have visited and the people they have met. Trust is generated in the conversation, hence creating cultural capital and social cachet.
    10. 10. Collective Individualism Broadly speaking, individuals have become more powerful in relation to institutions over the last generation. Witness the devolution of increased buying power to consumers since the 70s and 80s, a function of macro-economic growth, higher skills, technology and enhanced employability as well as reasonably efficient systems of income-distribution. Collective individualism is expressed in the 100% Pure New Zealand brand. New Zealand tourism is saying who they are and who they want to identify with.
    11. 11. Contested Hedonism Venenhoven (2003) raises an interesting question about hedonism, if hedonism adds to happiness, how long does that happiness last? If hedonistic behaviour is as unhealthy as some doctors say it is, it could shorten an otherwise happy life . So the key to the future is making sure that hedonism is healthy. Dr Ian Yeoman talks about adult hedonism in Las Vegas
    12. 12. Contested Liberalism There is an appreciation of the concept of liberalism as society seemingly deals with issues as gay rights, abortion, immigration and sex. However, in a society which has seemed to have banned discrimination against women, many of these issues still have a degree of uncomfortableness. A sense of personal freedom will increase the growth in world tourism, where identity is built on liberal attitudes reinforced through education and knowledge. The exposure of tourists to a multi-cultured society allows greater expression of individuality, whether this is sexual behaviour or unconventional lifestyles.
    13. 13. Immediacy Augmented reality in which virtual reality is placed in front of physical object and delivered on a mobile phone platform is changing hotel reservation and information provisional model. Today, in cities like Tokyo and Seoul, 30% of hotel reservations are made on the day of arrival via a mobile phone (see the application of augmented reality by clicking here ) See how New York City Visitor and Convention Bureau is using state of the art google maps and tables in the provision of information here
    14. 14. Fluidity of Luxury
    15. 15. New Life Courses Source: Yeoman and Butterfield (2010) Demography maybe the single most important factor that will change tourism behaviour. For example, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle in old age, consumers are searching for a means to extend healthy retirement years.
    16. 16. Extended Families Listen to Dr Heike Schaenzel of Victoria University of Wellington talk about family holidays in New Zealand (click on photo). Longevity and smaller core families have led to the family structure becoming more vertical rather than statically horizontal in form the multi-generational family, also known as the ‘vertical family’, is a term first coined by sociologist Michael Young (Briggs 2001). It refers to the fact that, because of increased longevity, there has been a gradual shift towards there being more generations in a family.
    17. 17. Something New With increased wealth comes a desire for change and something new, research by the Future Foundation ( www.futurefoundation.net ) highlights that the average UK consumer changes there hair style every 18 months, when buying a new car seeks a new model and make, is constantly meeting new friends and therefore desiring novelty and change.

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