David Mattin, global head of trends and insights at TrendWatching, urged travel firms to look beyond their everyday competitors at the brands “rewiring” consumers’ buying habits.
“It’s not just a case of competing against travel brands – you’re competing against the brands and businesses who are creating expectations that will spread to your industry, your business and your doorstep,” said Mattin, whose firm tracks market trends for clients including Google, Twitter, Disney and Unilever.
In his keynote presentation during the forum, he outlined a number of trends for travel businesses to consider and take inspiration from.
Mattin highlighted a craze he called “the quintessential self” – playing on growing consumers’ desire for self-improvement.
He cited initiatives from the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, which partnered with Nike to offer personal trainers for guests, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which runs early morning fitness classes around its exhibits.
Mattin also showcased tours offered by US-based operator Abercrombie and Kent, which are led by reporters from The New York Times who have worked extensively in the destinations being visited.
“It’s culturally enriching and bringing to life places you may have only just read about,” Mattin added.
He signalled the need for firms to focus on how they are viewed by potential customers.
Mattin said that due to increased use of smartphones in the workplace, “consumers can see through the four walls of your business like never before” and told delegates that customers wanted brands to offer them “guilt-free luxury”.