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Skift’s 10 lamest trends in travel in 2012

Dec 20, 2012 7:49 am

Skift Take

Some of these are easy targets, some may make a comeback in a different form, but all of them have biases propping them up, and we tried to peel back those layers of biases to come up with this list.

— Rafat Ali

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

Lex Thornely  / Flickr.com

The Pop-Up Hotel at Glastonbury. Lex Thornely / Flickr.com


We’ve only been in public existence for little over four months now, and realizing that a big part of our role is busting through the hype cycle in the travel industry, both in digital and offline. So in that vein, here’s our first contribution to the global scrum of lists, highlighting the overhyped, overserved or just plain obsolete.

    • Pop-up hotels
      Pop-up anything was lame enough, now hotels? We get it, hotels anywhere! We used to call them tents. Or worse still, glamping. (Note: Ice hotels in Scandinavia get a pass on this.)
    • The rise of travel blogger
      As more and more travel bloggers start typing and hashtagging about their solo trip to wherever, they’ve emerged as a force that marketers and PR people love since they can always be counted on for a clippable quote. They’ve shown much greater skills at gathering freebies and press trips than they have actual readers, who remain blissfully unaware that most if not all travel bloggers exist.
    • Post-Arab Spring tourism trends
      Stop handicapping their tourism industry, alcohol bans or Islamists hurting tourism. They’re going to be in the toilet for a while, they’re figuring some generational, once-in-a-millenium shifts in their regions while we worry about whether we’ll still be able to drink that mai-tai at that beach resort in Sharm El Sheikh.
    • The sharing economy acting altruistic
      We love many things that Airbnb and Uber do, but we’re sick of hearing them complain about business rivals as if they aren’t trying to make serious bank off of their industry disruption. How about you start your path towards altruism by finding a way to conduct business without tens of thousands of illegal apartment rentals or not operating illegal taxis?
    • The re-emergence of the neighborhood travel agent
      There were enough glowing stories about the return of the travel agent in the U.S. and UK press this year to make us think our eyes betrayed us every day we walked by the empty Liberty Travel across from our office. It’s true that specialist agents are finding a way to thrive, but Jack and Jill Traveler will never, ever return to a bricks and mortar retail agent to book those tickets to Florida or France when they have Hipmunk and Tablet at their disposal.
    • Velvet rope travel websites
      The daily deal sites are dying and the more upscale beyond-flash sales versions that came in the second phase are going through a rethink. Gilt’s attempts to sell off Jetsetter can’t be the best of news to up-and-comers like Valet.com (which has a cover charge) or WantMeGetMe.com (which doesn’t). Scaling, both on supply and demand side, is an issue everyone faces after the novelty wears out.
    • Complaining about Tripadvisor and or Yelp
      It is almost 2013, you’re the last one on earth to be discover how unreliable their reviews are. And yet you use them every time. Or at least all your neighbors and their family members do. So stop complaining about them.
    • Virtual service agents at airports
      If we strangle a virtual agent’s neck after listening to the same message for the 12th time while waiting in the long security line, will she survive? Will we be questioned by airport security? You know one really great way to communicate directions and news to travelers without annoying them? A sign.
    • Iceland
      Not to break your heart, but Iceland’s over, at least from being-on-bucket-list perspective. It is the easiest country to go to, everyone’s been there, taken photo in the blue lagoon and pretend to be the first ones to do it. Iceland is now like Thailand and Italy, you don’t boast about it, you just go. Now if you want to talk about melting-ice Greenland …
    • Social travel websites
      It’s called Facebook and it won already.

Disagree? Or have your own? Let us know below.

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