Good morning from Skift. It's Friday, June 3, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses what’s driving tourism now, how Instagram is the new Google, and why KLM’s outgoing CEO is optimistic about post-pandemic tourism.
As travelers are hitting the road in large numbers this year to make up for lost time during the pandemic, they’re doing so with new priorities. Yet Editor-at-Large Lebawit Lily Girma reports that the travel industry isn’t developing a more sustainable model to meet travelers on their new mindsets.
A new traveler sentiment report from social media marketing agency Sparkloft Media reveals that novelty, purpose and connection are travelers’ main goals. That shift, Girma writes, means travelers are prioritizing their passions and hobbies instead of a specific country when making decisions about where to visit. The report also aligns with recent data that states consumers are spending more money on experiences than on material items as well as looking more at sustainable accommodation options.
The increasing number of digital nomads is one significant development in the travel industry, and Girma writes that the booming digital nomad market provides countries — particularly low to middle-income nations — the incentive to boost their infrastructure and services. But she adds there are larger concerns the travel industry isn’t discussing, one of them being how will destinations address the impact of untethered individuals on host communities.
Next, investors and startups believe they’ve found the next Google in regards to selling travel. But what is it? They’re turning to Instagram to drive bookings, writes Senior Travel Tech Editor Tim Mullaney.
Tripscout, a Chicago-based startup that has raised $10 million in venture capital, is one such company. It sells hotel rooms through a private Instagram feed that users can access to get otherwise unadvertised room rates. Tripscout CEO Konrad Waliszewski said having 30 million followers on its 100-plus Instagram feeds has opened a new channel for the company, which launched an Instagram-based travel agency on Thursday. Users can access the discounts — which are available at thousands of hotels through partnerships with Hotelbeds and HotelPlanner — by messaging “hotel” to any of Tripscout’s Instagram accounts.
Curacity is another startup turning to Instagram to sell travel. The company, which arranges discounts for Instagram influencers who post about travel, uses data about specific content creators’ audiences to match them with hotels trying to reach certain demographics. Curacity takes a 10 percent commission on bookings it can prove it generated, a figure well below the standard at leading online travel agencies.
Finally, airline industry executives have predicted in the last two years that hubs would struggle when large-scale travel resumed, believing that travelers would prefer to fly point-to-point. But KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said the death knells for hubs were premature, writes Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Elbers, who will leave KLM on July 1 to be the next CEO of Indian airline IndiGo, admitted the pandemic brought the Dutch carrier to practically a complete standstill for a couple of weeks in April 2020. But he said KLM kept its network largely in place, with Amsterdam — and his airline — serving as the only connection for certain city pairs. Those flights kept KLM and its Amsterdam hub connected to its passengers, and the carrier has restored between 80 and 90 percent of its pre-Covid destinations.