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It’s a curious, eclectic list of nine trends spanning seven regions and two types of user behavior. And while they are called “trends,” they’re more like conversation starters about interesting habits and emerging behaviors.
The Americas: “PANKs – A New Demographic”
“PANKs” may not be the most annoying new term in travel, but it certainly distracts from the trend it’s trying to describe, which is the “Professional Aunt, No Kids” demo. According to Research by Savvy Auntie estimates that there are 23 million PANKs in the US who spend US $9 billion annually on children.
We’re leery about the opportunities here outside of regional travel and weekend getaways.
UK: Travel Happiness Index
We’ve looked at Routehappy.com‘s measurements before, and it’s nice to see them feature prominently in this report. The argument is that UK travelers are choosing flights based on which flights make them “happier.” While this is certainly a consideration, Ryanair, although experiencing some issues, is still the largest airline in Europe and we know that’s not a happy place.
Europe: Next Generation Peer-to-Peer
Peer-to-peer is big in Europe, so much so that San Francisco-based Airbnb sees it as its most important battleground right now. The flip side of the interest in sharing and p2p is that the activity is taking a bite out of traditional travel businesses in Europe, with lower hotel occupancy and tax revenues in destinations like Spain.
Travel Technology: Mobile Concierge
The report reads that “Mobile internet devices represented a revolution for the travel industry as they introduced a new reservation channel but they also increased customer service expectations.” Hotels and travel providers are trying to provide custom experiences to guests and visitors via apps, but they should be careful that they do not assume that mobile device usage necessarily translates into everyone wanting to use their apps. While customer service via mobile is strong for airlines, the biggest beneficiary in the hotel sector will be to the tech companies selling the services.
Middle East: Low-Cost Goes Upmarket
Business-class service at low-cost prices? It’s working with some carriers such as Jazeera Airways and flydubai. We even see parallels in the UK as traditionally budget lines such as easyJet provide a more hospitable environment to business travelers.
Africa: The Big Five with Your Little One
A demand for multi-generational holidays has led to more kid-focused safaris. This is interested, but like PANKs its very niche. We’re more interested in the rise of intra-African airlines and easing of visa restrictions.
Global Village: Vacancy on Demand – Chasing the 24-hour Traveller
“Microstays have emerged as an attractive means of boosting hotel revenues, by targeting business travellers on the move,” says the report. It is time for hotels to look beyond the bed. There’s a solid opportunity for hotels to make smarter use of their unused spaces for short-term meeting spaces, low-key events, and even afternoon naps.
Asia: Fight for Cruise Control in China
We look at this trend in our article “China’s Cruise Sector Will Catch Up to the U.S. Cruise Market in Just 4 Years”
India: The Travel Social Shake-Up
There is a big overlap between well-connected urban consumers who use social media — especially Facebook — and those who are opting for short-term escapes to southeast Asia. Marketing to these groups directly via social media, where they can also easily share the marketing with their friends, seems like a no-brainer.
Readers can download a copy of the full report here, after registering with World Travel Market.