Let's have a closer look at emerging "Onlife" trends that were in question at BTO 2020. In this part of the article I will speak about social trends, while you may read on tech trends here
. Social trends Unite
There are really good news on collaboration and its nature inside digital presence of the tourism sector - businesses start to show less concern for the rivalry as the times are changing. Indeed it is just way more efficient to remain united and to join forces on the market. The shared platforms make it much easier to analyze the data on web visitors and on actual conversion rates, like some distribution portals - they may now link you to the competitor website or to offer his services among their own… it is a growing feature for example for some airline companies, while Paris and London have sponsored one promo campaign in the US for both destinations. I should admit, I really like this trend as collaboration is so much better if you act more like partners, at least in some fields it can greatly benefit both! Empower
There was also a lot to discuss on destination management, it was nice to see that many destinations now aim at creating their own digital tourism ecosystem - integrating all actors of the local offer into one web-platform with higher visibility and promotional potential.
There is a growing popularity of the promotional strategy "bottom-up" which means that the destinations are eager to tell themselves through the ambassadors, tourists, locals leaving behind an "ancient" strategy of imposing promotional plan top-down. This just does not work anymore. The concept of crowd-storytelling proves to be much more influential, it may be expressed in official hashtags or shared blogs. The main feature is that with the support of the local destination management organization (DMO) people get a channel or a tool to create and tell their own story of love for a certain territory or its tradition. Italian great examples are Abruzzo smart ambassadors program and a recent novelty, the official hashtag for Tuscany #mytuscany is … where everybody can add their own experience and feeling. In the case of Abruzzo, people started to create their own micro-teams with different specializations inside, so with the input of the DMO and the region, the collaboration starts to flourish and the local associations and businesses express their interest too. It is just enough to start the process and encourage the local community to become proactive, when the initiatives will be already coming from them.
" The main task of Destination managers in this case is to elevate the local innovation, amplify and transform it. Putting the others in the condition to create - this is leadership. It is not about losing control, it is about creating an ecosystem that is alive and prospering"
, says G.Sainaghi "Visit Flanders". Personalize
The tourists themselves tend to choose more individual and unique experiences, the further you go to personalize their trip, the more are the chances they get interested and speak about you online. There are already the algorithms to target and explore the preferences of every single tourist, so each of us may get personal ads and they may be changing according to our response. Business to Customer (BTC) becomes Business to Me (BTM), it may seen a bit invasive but the technology is already there and the outcome for the travel personalization will be getting more and more surprising… Are you ready? Provide an alternative
The digitization process goes hand in hand with a growing amount of people in search of digital detox. Having identified this trend and thanks to hard work with the local community, the project of "Recharge in Nature" in the heart of the Dolomites in 2019 received 19 000 calls for 10 free places to spend a week there. This initiative has helped to launch a destination that is changing its perspective. Climate change requires us to reimagine the holidays in the mountain, this is a great challenge but as this example shows it becomes possible and opens new perspectives if you engage the local community. Embrace the change and lead it
Sustainability is one of the most important world trends, in tourism as well. While some trends remain still future trends, this one is already our present. Everybody acknowledges the need for the change of perception, openly or behind the doors among their collaborators, I am sure all of us agree that we must act now.
From the words of Piero Serra, product manager of Skyscanner, the number one topic among the airlines before lockdown was sustainability and how to reduce the emissions of the industry. Skyscanner has taken the initiative in partnership with some leading companies and has implemented a new type of search filter according to carbon footprint of the flight and the route. Not only that, they try to work on finding ways to sponsor and produce more sustainable fuel that has nearly 80% less of emissions. The future lies in hybrid or electric planes but there is still a lot of work and research to be done to bring this shift to life. "To lead this change it is a huge opportunity and a huge responsibility. We want to encourage green travelers, supply will adjust.
", says P. Serra. In any case such a confirmation from the industry gives us hope that the changes are coming and they are really welcome by the big players too.