Skift Report: 13 Global Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013


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The travel industry in the coming year will define and be shaped by geopolitical events as the world realigns itself to new, global, and connected realities. Go to for more details.

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Skift Report: 13 Global Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013

  1. 1. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013Skift.comTRAVEL INTELLIGENCE.GLOBAL SMARTNESS.Researched and written by:Rafat AliDennis SchaalSamantha Shankman
  2. 2. Skift has paid close attention to everything travelsince before our public launch in August 2012. Ourmix of original reporting, news from partners, andcurated stories from around the world give us aninside edge on developments inside and outside thetravel industry. With this insight, we’ve identified 13key trends that will shape the coming year.For the first time since the European Renaissance,the locus of travel is moving eastward, and 2013will continue that inexorable journey. Both consumerand business travel trends are now being definedand tested out in regions other than U.S and Europe,while travel sector here, especially airlines, is in arace to find the best new fee. User experience andits intersection with design is the lens that travelwill increasingly be defined by, and regions likeMiddle East and South East Asia are at the forefrontof those trends.One area where U.S. is still defining trends istechnology innovation, especially in mobile.Companies like Airbnb and HotelTonight areredefining the very definition of the hotel andlodging sectors, while larger digital giants likeGoogle, Apple and Nokia have hit reset on thetransportation and local transit sectors with theirmapping and local information wars.2012 was also the start of Skift’s journey—welaunched 5 months ago—and as we prepareto go into 2013, we’re defining our coverageareas, our expansive lens of looking at travel aswell. We believe these 13 trends, by no meansexhaustive, will help define travel and many otherinterconnected sectors.Get your daily dose of Skift: subscribe to ournewsletter, RSS, Twitter, or Facebook.13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013
  3. 3. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 11. EVERYONE WANTS A CHINESE TOURIST IN 2013A record 1 billion tourists crossedinternational borders in 2012, andChinese travelers are becominga bigger and bigger part of it.Outbound tourists rose from 16.6million in 2002 to 70.3 million in2011, and are expected to rise to82 million this year, up 17 percent.Those numbers are expected to riseto a whopping 200 million by 2020,and the world needs to get readyto absorb that many extra tourists.And especially tourists spendingmoney: UNWTO figures show thatyear on year, Chinese tourists spent30 percent more when travellingabroad than previous year.From hotels, airports, malls andretailers hiring Manadarin speakingconcierge services, to countrieseasing visa norms and doing jointmarketing agreements with China,everyone wants the hordes ofChinese travelers spendingmoney, especially the recessionand debt crisis beset Europeanand North American countries: U.S.,UK and Australia are banking onChinese visitors to shore up theirsputtering economies.Neighboring destinations like HongKong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea, Japan,Singpore, already very popularwith Chinese, are re-architectingtheir tourism policies wholesale toaccomodate these big numbers.Even countries like Gambia,Kazakhstan and Pakistan, not onany mainstream tourism map, arestepping up their marketing effortsto lure the mainland travelers.If you’re in travel anywhere in theworld and don’t have an evolvedand nuanced China strategy, youaren’t a serious player in 2013.Further Reading:Chinese outbound tourism growingrapidly via SCMPChinese and Russian visitors ledthe way for busiest year of tourismin planet’s history via SkiftChinese tourists are set tobecome the world’s biggestoverseas spenders via Skift
  4. 4. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 2The travel industry has beencompletely upended by theunbundling of fees, with airlinesleading the charge. Airlines havegone far beyond checked bag feesand are now dreaming up new paidservices, including bag deliveryand pre-ordered gourmet meals onboard. As airlines are expected topocket $36 billion in fees in 2012,other travel sectors are quicklygetting into the act, too. Hotelsare building new spas to buildon these ancillary services andfees, and turning once-includedservices into a la carte ones inorder to charge extra for additionalhousekeeping services, bathroomamenities, or even television.Expect more demands fromconsumers for transparency withall the new fees being added on(the U.S. Federal Trade Commissionwill be knocking on more doors forsure), as well as a host of startupsand solutions to manage andnavigate around these fees.Further Reading:22.6 billion reasons why airlinescan’t wean themselves off feesvia SkiftHotel industry finds its bigancillary revenue driver: spasvia SkiftOpt out may lead to drip pricingvia Hotel News Now2. ANCILLARY FEES ARE THE NEW NORMAL
  5. 5. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 3HotelTonight is a very well-fundedapp built to do one thing andone thing only: Book last-minute,same-day hotels in the city youare in. Every day at noon localtime the app gives you deeplydiscounted rates at five hotelsavailable in your chosen city.The innovation is not just on thesimple curation concept, butalso on UI and design: gorgeousdark tones and a simple one-click to book using your storedyour credit card info. The appfills a real need in the market,especially for business travelers,and no wonder it is growing like aweed. Expect more such curatedsingle-function startups to cropup. In reaction to HotelTonight,Priceline already launchedTonight-Only hotel deals, andexpect further challenges fromother established players.Further Reading:HotelTonight expands in Europeand Mexico with localizedlanguage capabilities via SkiftHotel Tonight lets users addwhimsy back into their urbanescapes via SkiftHotelTonight adds personalizedoffers and user ratings for greaterchoice via Skift3. LAST-MINUTE MOBILE HOTEL BOOKING
  6. 6. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 4Tingo, part of the giantTripAdvisor family, is intenton bringing transparency tohotel travel pricing. With Tingo,consumers book a hotel room atthe lowest available refundablerate and the service automaticallyre-books the reservation in thefuture if the rate drops. No extrawork is involved from the user’sside, and they get notified aboutthe new lower price until 24 or 48hours before check-in, when thefinal price is set.Long term, the macro trends areclear: price transparency willbecome norm, and expect it to cometo airlines and other parts of travelecosystem as well. While it’s a realbenefit to travelers, hotels can usethe fluctuation in their prices toupsell consumers on goods like aroom upgrade, a drink at the bar, orspa services (see “Ancillary fees arethe new normal”).Further Reading:Save money even after you bookvia BBC TravelTripAdvisor’s Tingo refunds ifrates drop before your stayvia USA TodayWill the Hospitality IndustryTango with Tingo? via HotelNews Resource4. THE RISE OF PRICE TRANSPARENCY
  7. 7. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 5Food tourism is one of thefastest growing sectors for thediscerning traveler, and nowWhole Foods has launched a newventure to capitalize on the trend.Called Whole Journeys, it offersworldwide tours focused on theproduction and consumption offood. It’s a clever brand extensionfor Whole Foods: The companyalready has a massive followingof dedicated, wealthy, anddiscerning consumers who arelikely to salivate at the newsand become the venture’s firstcustomers. Expect more suchefforts from larger consumerbrands as they try to build ontheir “authentic” cred in varioussectors, especially retail.Further Reading:Foodies’ dreams come true withlaunch of a new travel venture byWhole Foods via SkiftWhole Journeys: Whole FoodsMarket’s New Travel Venturevia The Adventure PostGastronomy and the hunt forauthentic experiences: the futureof food tourism via Skift5. TRAVELERS ARE HUNGRY FOR FOOD TOURISM
  8. 8. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 6As the airline experience continuesto deteriorate and fragment—atleast in the Western world—airports are seeing a buzz of activityand are reinventing themselvesaround user experience and design.The new normal as exemplified byIncheon International Airport inSeoul, Madrid’s Barajas Airport,or Singapore’s Changi Airport, arecentered around innovations likeairy, light-filled primary spaces,less-intimidating security andbaggage claim areas, simplesignage, solutions to satiate ourneed to be connected (free Wi-Fi!),and more shopping and diningoptions near gates. The moresuccessful ones have becomeplaces where people want to spendtime and have experiences and notjust pass through. Whether it isChicago’s O’Hare newly launchedfarmer’s market inside the terminal,or Munich’s onsite brewery, theairports are becoming moreinspirational, aspirational, andnurturing. Imagine that.Further Reading:The Airport Of The Future Is AboutMore Than Takeoff And Landingvia Fast Company Co.ExistAre airports the new malls forholiday shopping? via SkiftAirports are becoming activityhubs to take advantage of listlessflyers via Skift6. AIRPORTS AS DESTINATIONS
  9. 9. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 7Starring in a film has becomea surefire way to boost tourismfor a destination. Tourism inNew Zealand boomed followingthe Lord of Rings trilogy and thecountry’s tourism board has everyintention of that happening againwith the release of The Hobbit. Ahuge marketing campaign aimedto make the country synonymouswith “middle-earth” includedaircraft livery and in-flightvideos. VisitBritain similarlyintegrated tourism marketingefforts with the Bond filmSkyfall just as the U.S. state ofVirginia began touting itself asthe site of Lincoln’s filming andNorth Carolina turned HungerGames into an advertisementfor its outdoors. Now destinationmarketing organizations arerealizing the trend and looking toconvert international attentiona destination can draw from amovie into travel bookings. Expectto see the trend pick up in 2013with more planned campaignsand bids to become the venue—beyond tax break incentives—forhighly anticipated movies.Further Reading:James Bond and his latest movielends a helping hand to UKtourism via SkiftEU-backed attempt to boostmovie-inspired tourism acrossEurope kicks off two-year effortvia SkiftHobbit habits: New Zealand isready this time for Tolkien tourismvia Skift7. DESTINATION BRANDING THROUGH MOVIES
  10. 10. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 8Now that smartphones are at thecenter of our lives, navigation,in all senses of the word, makesup a large part of our digitalexperience. Apple realized this,and booted Google Maps offthe iOS ecosystem. That move,along with Apple’s subsequentmissteps in its own mappingeffort, touched off a wave ofactivity in the mapping world.The new Google Maps app for iOS6, launched in early December,is creating waves and Apple isscrambling to catch up.Giants like Nokia, Microsoft, AOL’sMapquest and startups such asWaze and Lumatic are building,launching and innovating. Eventhe incumbent giant Googleis launching new functions—incorporating content from Zagatand Frommer’s into results—as itraces to differentiate itself againstApple on all fronts. Expect publictransport, walking directionsand offline viewing to be a bigpush for next year, as well as theacquisition or downfall of contentand location players like Yelp,Lonely Planet, and Foursquare.Further Reading:Our long national nightmare isover: Google Maps app for iPhoneis now live via SkiftFoursquare’s founder arguesmaps aren’t about mappinganymore — they’re abouteverything via SkiftHow Google and Apple arechanging the face of mappingforever via Skift8. DIGITAL MAPS ARE ONE OF TRAVEL’S KEY BATTLEGROUNDS
  11. 11. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 9This year saw many airlinesexperimenting with digitaldevices as the in-flight mediaconsumption platform, or digital-enabled delivery of contentservices, on to users’ own devices.Tons of new investment is goinginto this undoubtedly transitoryphase, from large incumbents tostartups to even roll-up shopstaking up the charge on thedelivery side. Forward-lookingairlines are rolling out Wi-Fiacross short- and long-haulroutes like there’s no tomorrow.The content-in-air consumptionpatterns are beginning to lookmuch like on-the-ground habits:A mix of open-Web content-plus-services mixed with on-demandentertainment as well as livetelevision channels. And whileconsumer BYO trends work inairlines’ favor with these moves,it also helps cut thousands ofpounds from each aircraft and cutfuel costs, something that goesdirectly to an airline’s bottom line.Further Reading:Westjet to allow passengers tobring own portable media andditch seat-back systems via SkiftThe Year of the WISPvia MondoWindowSmart airlines are turning toiPads instead of expensive seat-back in-flight entertainmentvia Skift9. PERSONAL IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES
  12. 12. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 10A new breed of hotels popped upin Europe this year and is slowlymaking its way around the world.These so-called budget or smartluxury hotels feature clean, brightdesigns and rooms that cost lessthan the high-end design hotelsthat emerged in the late 1990sand spread through the early2000s. Designed with young,tech-savvy travelers in mind theconcept includes large communityspaces, compact rooms, free Wi-Fi,and lots of outlets. The mostwell-known is CitizenM, whichcuts its costs by designing andassembling identical rooms thatare then stacked into a finishedproduct. A similar hotel TheSuperbude 2 in Hamburg, Germanytook the award for European HotelDesign Of The Year.As established hotel brands lookto renovate and redesign theirolder properties, they’ll likelypull components from thesesmartly designed, fledglingbrands. They can also take a cuefrom Carlson’s value Park Innbrand, which is rolling out morethan five dozen new propertiesacross Europe and Asia and hasrevamped bland, older structuresinto bright, modern spots likePark Inn Antwerp.Further Reading:CitizenM: Pre-fab luxe hotel chainruns with the Ikea model via SkiftHamburg hotel created for‘next generation’ travelers winsEuropean design award via SkiftThe Daniel Hotel in Viennavia yatzer10. AFFORDABLE DESIGN AT HOTELS
  13. 13. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 11The boundary between businessand leisure traveler is blurring as“rogue” business travelers findtheir way outside the corporatewalls. The arrival of online travelmore than a decade ago and themobile revolution today led towhat the corporate travel typescall “leakage.” Business travelershave rebelled against their stodgycorporate booking tools andwant to access the deals andtools that are readily available tothem when they travel for leisure.Millennials raised on intuitive,leisure-oriented travel experienceshave come to expect more fromcorporate travel.With a majority of businesstravelers working for companiesthat don’t have managedtravel programs, they can takeadvantage of deals on everythingfrom Airbnb to HotelTonight,as well as low cost carriers.Travel and expense firm Concuris trying to help companieshandle their booking rebels withan Open Booking solution thatenables employees to make theirtravel plans directly on theseconsumer sites. Expect better userexperience, design and flexibilityfor business travelers goingahead.Further Reading:Airbnb’s busiest night revealsits new secret weapon: businesstravel via SkiftNext gen blurs lines of corporate,leisure via Hotel News NowRogue travelers present newavenue for demand via HotelNews Now11. BLURRING OF BUSINESS AND LEISURE TRAVEL
  14. 14. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 12The spectacular rise of thetriumvirate of Emirates, Etihadand Qatar airlines mirrors the geo-political rise of these tiny stateactors onto the world stage, ridingon a wave of sovereign oil wealth.All the airlines’ activity also meanshuge airport hubs, and new onesbeing built almost overnight. Theairports Emirates and Etihad callhome are undergoing significantexpansions, while Qatar Airways ispreparing to move to a brand-newairport any day now.Add to that, 2012 saw theseairlines acquiring strategic stakesin low-cost carriers and nationalcarriers around the world andentering into codeshares andairline alliances. Qatar’s entryinto the oneworld alliance andEmirates’ deal with Qantas aretypical of their movements anddemonstrate that these airlinesare not rogue actors on the scenebut the new establishment, asthe center of gravity of long-haulaviation settles in the Gulf region.At the same time, Europe’s ongoingdebt crisis has left it powerless totake the bold actions necessaryto prevent it from slipping in thegreat aviation race. Expect evenmore frenzied activity in 2013as the three Gulf carriers look toexpand into North America andAfrica, both directly and indirectlythrough partnerships.Further Reading:How Middle East airlines soar andEuropean ones don’t via SkiftHow Gulf airlines will changeeverything about international airtravel via SkiftGulf’s airlines expanding globalnetwork, thanks to sovereignwealth via Skift12. CEMENTING OF GULF AS THE NEXT GREAT GLOBAL AVIATION HUB
  15. 15. 13 Trends That Will Define Travel in 2013 | 13The opening-up and the rise ofMyanmar over the last year hasbeen breathtaking in scope,and its travel sector is theone to watch for the next year.The country has always had asmall-but-well-worn backpackertrail and tours available towealthy visitors, but packagedtravel arrived in earnest for thefirst time in 2012, lured by themarketing of Burmese exotica.It is now on every top traveldestination list for 2013; Yangon,the former capital and maingateway, is the fastest growinghotel market in the world, andthe current hotel capacity wassold out for most of 2012. It isthe hottest new airline routeon the circuit, with local andglobal Asian airlines startingnew flights to it. The total touristcount will cross 1 million markin 2012, its highest ever. On thetravel infrastructure side, it willcontinue to struggle with demand,which also means tons of newopportunities for investors in allsectors of travel.Further Reading:Yangon, Myanmar is one thefastest growing hotel markets inthe world via SkiftObama’s visit to Myanmar furtherboosts tourism to the world’snewest travel hot spot via SkiftBurma tourism hits the 1 millionmark via Mizzima News13. LURE OF THE LAST UNKNOWN: THE RISE OF MYANMAR