Trends of the Past and What Awaits
Jan - Feb 2016
Good to Know
By 2020, two out of every five travellers are expected to be Asian
The needs of changing lifestyle and the technology strengthen the tourism industry with each passing year, keeping the thrill and excitement intact among the travellers.
The year 2015 has been nothing short of thrilling for those in the travel industry. In fact, this might be the most inspiring time to be in the industry. By 2020, two out of every five travellers are expected to be Asian and will account for nearly half of the global tourism expenditure. Naturally things are going to change rapidly alongside evolving traveller demands.
2015 Sharing economy flexes corporate muscle
The ‘sharing economy’ started to become a reality in 2015. Now a fast growing multi-billion dollar segment of the global travel industry, the sharing economy is increasingly becoming a consideration for corporate travellers. As the lines between business and leisure travel blur, employees in 2015 started to expect the same type of experience for business travel as they do for leisure.
Asian airports respond to the needs of Low Cost Carriers
Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) continue to take Asia by storm, but as they evolve their services, airports have to reevaluate how they service this new mix of short and long haul LCC models. Why did Asian airports invest in serving LCCs? Because a growing share of airline seats today are on LCCs. Airports in Singapore and Malaysia have been trying to woo LCCs not only by building terminals but even airports dedicated to LCCs. Airports are also trying to keep airport fees down to enable LCCs to continue offering low-cost tickets for passengers.
When experience trumps money
Gone are the days where cost trumped everything else – brands are now looking at offering unique experiences that money can’t buy. Hotels for example, increasingly curate a spectrum of elevated experiences for long-standing members as part of their loyalty programmes. By offering these experiences, brands hope to create a connection more meaningful than just a hotel room or collection of award points. 2015 has all been about building real loyalty, not just transactional loyalty, treating guests like family rather than customers.
Virtual finally becomes a reality
For a long time, travel has been the only product that people had to ‘buy before they try.’ But new technology in the form of virtual reality (VR) is shaking things up, allowing travellers to experience their potential destination before deciding if they want to go. Imagine being able to escape the grind of a daily routine, to jump straight into the bustling streets of Shanghai or the sandy beaches of Thailand from the comfort of your living room. What sounds like an experience straight out of a science-fiction movie might soon become reality.
Collaboration not consolidation
Travel has become more collaborative, both in terms of how people travel, as well as how travel providers work together to meet travellers’ needs. In the global travel ecosystem, collaboration means bringing the full spectrum of travel players and intermediaries together. Travel players can no longer innovate in insolation but need to enter the next era of travel via collaboration, powered by technology. 2015 truly welcomed the era of collaborative travel!
2016 Rail will go high speed and crossborder
A few years ago, who would have anticipated that it would one day be possible to travel overland from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore in just 2.5 hours? The era of rail has arrived in this part of the world, with high-speed projects zipping through the corridors of Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and China are all on the case. High speed rail is commonly viewed as delivering economic, environmental and social benefits.
Airports as destinations
Imagine airports becoming destinations, not just stopovers. As demand for air travel increases, this might become reality sooner rather than later. We have already seen this with airports building their own hotel complexes in an effort to transform themselves from travel hubs into standalone destinations. Let’s see what they hold ready for travellers in 2016!
The demise of seat-back entertainment
After years of big investment, airlines have already started talking about the plan to toss seat-back entertainment and instead stream to travellers’ devices. Indeed, some airlines in other parts of the world have indicated they may do so as early as next year. It may be a bold move, passengers may end up with a better entertainment experience and a lower cost to the airline. All you need is a well charged device. Who will be game to make the first move in Asia Pacific?
Robots take over traditional service roles
While we saw small steps into this space in 2015 it hasn’t taken off – we think 2016 will be the year. Skynet, anyone? We are not talking about robots taking over the world, but we expect to see the use of artificial intelligence to bring about new levels of automation, while allowing ‘real’ people to deliver a personalised service and that human touch.
Managed travel 3.0
If technology is a creator of experience, then managed travel is most definitely an instrument of change. The corporate traveller is expecting more, and knows that technology can and should support a more connected experience within the boundaries of corporate policy. They know professional and personal can co-exist in business travel. Managed travel will make strides in 2016.