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- Branson bets on diversity, sustainability and customer-centricity. From boats to plans to spaceships, Sir Richard Branson is quite the travel guru. He pioneered taking a customer-centric approach to air travel and created a brand that other providers have since tried to emulate. He entered the cruise sector, and through promoting diversity, has democratised access to the luxury yacht environment. Now he is taking on the space race and is keen to advocate travel that protects the planet we live on. Richard Bransons recently did an interview with Conde Nast and shared what he’s excited about in travel at the moment.
- Up-design to upgrade and upsell. While this summer has been an incredible season for the travel industry with hotels finding themselves completely booked out. At the same time, travellers want more out of their experience, and having room upgrades and beautiful design really does matter. Travel tech company Oaky has found that its upgrade to hotel rooms has delivered 75% more room upgrade revenue to its customers. It’s also been able to help boost revenue through upselling things like spa treatments and food and drink deals. So let it be clear, travellers want to treat themselves – personalization and aesthetics makes it happen.
- How cities are becoming more inclusive spaces. The way cities are designed and planned is changing. Reflecting our changing societies and changing needs, cities need to adapt. Now, some of the top travel destinations are also paving the way in new perspectives to urban design, creating spaces that are more inclusive and accessible to visitors of all backgrounds. In Vienna, for example, public spaces have been redesigned from a female perspective – from wider pavements for prams to better lighting in parks and football pitches reimagined to encourage female participation. Barcelona and Paris have also gained a feminist perspective, and the cities are opening up as a result – with more bike lanes and pedestrian zones in development.
- Getting the squad on tour has been made easier. Organising group travel is a complicated affair. One of the most challenging aspects is making sure payments are made in a way that is fair and accessible to everyone involved, and for when the friendship group is ganging together for a getaway, there’s always one unfortunate soul who has taken the task on board. At the same time, group travel is soaring in popularity amongst the millennial generation of adventure seekers. SquadTrip is aiming to fill the gap. The startup has just launched a platform that will help travel professionals target millennial travellers by offering flexi payment options – including payment instalments, apple pay and promo codes – all in one easy-to-use platform. So it’s never been easier to get the squad together!
- Hospitality continues to digitalise. The hospitality sector is running fast down the digitalisation track. One big trend is increased digitalisation of ordering and payment systems, giving consumers a mobile-based experience and the restaurant/hotel clearer real-time oversight. Manchester-based wi-Q has developed a platform – called Dash – that hospitality venues can use to manage food and beverage orders in real time, customers can also use it to order and pay via their mobile. It all helps speed up order management, prep and delivery – enhancing the experience for all and meeting new consumer habits and demands. The startup just raised £3 million.
- Harnessing AI to make booking and planning travel smoother. As travel companies hunt for ways to make travel and tourism simple and easy for travelers, AI-based tech is in demand. Lithuanian-based startup Eddy Travels has been helping consumers find cheap travel deals with its AI travel assistant. It’s just been snapped up by global digital travel marketplace TripAdd as they move to enhance their offering with even more consumer-centricity. Eddy Travels took part in last year’s FutureTravel Summit Pitch Competition – so what does the future hold for this year’s participants?
- Startup and corporate collabs to enhance traveller experience. One of the biggest trends de jour in the travel industry is, of course, the move towards consumer centricity and personalisation. Startups are the ones leading tech development on this, bringing innovations that allow for hyper-personalization. Today, travel titan American Airlines have announced a new partnership with Spotnana – a Travel-as-a-Service platform – that will allow travellers enhanced booking flexibility and a more seamless and tailored experience.