Week 1 - 2023 in Focus: A Mosaic of Travel Trends, Hospitality Battles, and the Globe Voting
First week of the year, so far so good!
TLDR: Too Long Didn’t Read
In the follow-up section, the European Travel Commission has revealed that the EU's 2023 travel numbers are still below 2019 levels, with France, Spain, and Italy remaining the top destinations 🇪🇺✈️📊.
In the main hospitality news, there's an ongoing battle for loyalty program dominance, with Marriott and Hilton leading the way 💼🏨. However, Accor and IHG lag due to late investments and a smaller market footprint 🏨💰. An analysis suggests that hospitality brands often focus too much on utility rather than emotion, with Airbnb being an exception 🏨❤️. Volcano tourism is on the rise 🌋🏞️, and an explanation of flight regulations sheds light on safety measures ✈️📜.
In externalities, more than 50% of the world's population will be voting in elections in 2024 🗳️🌍, and Germany has recorded its lowest CO2 emissions in 70 years 🇩🇪🌿.
Academia explores the impact of work-family conflict on employees 📚👨👩👧👦, and the best books of 2023 are highlighted 📖📅.
Finally, insights into mobile tech trends in Asia 📱🌏 and meeting Chinese guest expectations 🇨🇳🏨 are provided 🤝🌟.
0. News snippets
Not important enough to expand on, but worth hearing about
The Economist has released the top ten economic charts comparing Biden and Trump, quick tip the only attributable difference is illegal immigration | 64 top hotel openings according to hospitality design have been released here, if curious check it out | Interest cuts likely not to happen due to solid employment gains despite the high rates, for more here.
0.5 Follow up
Where we follow up on news from previous weeks
Final 2023/2019 numbers for EU
With all the talk of recovery from COVID especially in 2019, the European Travel Commission has released the actual numbers for the entire region. Guess what it is not as good. Bot for internal and external travel. In fact, the EU is still below 2019 level arrivals. The top 3 destinations are still France, Spain and Italy. Collectively taking up around 36% of the entire arrivals. The commission also provided a forecast. Expecting a steady annual growth of between 8-11%. Like anything else true in life, linear growth is definitely one of them.
1. Main Hospitality News
Core news related to the industry
Loyalty card wars
There is a sort of battle going on for loyalty programs between various leading hotel chains. Marriott and Hilton so far are winning. The most intriguing part is not the leaders themselves, but the growth ratio of various models. While Accor and IHG cannot be seen on this list is mainly due to reasons. Late investment and rebranding according to skift and less footprint in the market. Meaning Marriott and Hilton have a very high density of their hotels spread across US. Or it could just be chalked up to the amount of hotels/beds each chain has. Since Accor is also practically unavoidable in the EU yet, its Loyalty numbers are half of that of Marriott.
Hospitality brands are too much into “utility” not “emotion
Supposedly, no hospitality brand is in the top 100 according to the “Interbrand Top 100”, except Airbnb. Why? The answer to that was attempted by the director of Brand from GetYourGuide (still not in the top 100 either btw). In short, hospitality brands forget to focus on actual brand-building and instead just focus on utility. Hospitality should work with people outside the industry, aka Google (the industry's best friend). Lastly focus more on emotion, not just reliability. With all the ad campaigns we have seen coming from various players, it is hard to agree with the above.
Volcano tourism on the rise
Of all the extreme forms of tourism out there, volcano hunting is one of them. So much so, that local tourism agencies were “disappointed” when during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull all European air travel was stopped, and they couldn’t bring tourists there. This type of tourism can obviously kill, like during the 2019 eruption in New Zealand, where 22 climbers died. But in a nutshell, we can probably learn from this that if it burns, blows up or makes exotic noises, tourists will be there to see it!
Why do flight regulations exist?
This week we found the century-old question (probably) as to why certain airline rules exist. Euronews provided straightforward answers to the following questions: Why must I keep my seat upright? It helps people behind you to get out faster in case of an emergency. Why keep the window blind open? It allows the passengers and crew to see any emergencies, so keep your eyes open! Why are the lights dimmer at landing? To prepare your eyes for an emergency landing when the lights would be forced to turn off by other factors. Overall reasonable rules, that make our lives just a tat bit safer.
Econimics, finance, geopolitics. All have an impact on the hospitality sector.
The majority of the population is due to vote in 2024
More than 50% of the population will have to vote for their political leaders in 2024. India, Russia, the US, and more. While some elections are perhaps already decided ;) others not so much. And their results can decide the fate of billions. Make sure you know your local dates and attend. For more on this, check out the Reuters World News podcast over here.
CO2 output lowest in 70 years (in Germany)
Germany has managed to register the lowest CO2 emission output in 70 years. The reasons for this are mixed and not necessarily positive. On one hand, renewable sources for the first time became 50% of total energy production. Coal burning dropped to 1964 levels. But, and here is the gist. Industrial output has decreased and with it emissions. Not because it became more efficient, but because less was produced. Who knows, maybe glueing yourself to the asphalt does help after all.
Scientific papers related to the topics above. For those who want to know for sure ;)
Works and family, impact on employee
A pretty big topic in an industry where over hours is a very common occurrence. A recent academic paper looks into how Work-family Conflict is impacted by the ability to control work time and organizational commitment. If the employee is dedicated to work, the family is unhappy, but if the employee gets control of their work time, the family is happy. Funny enough family did not impact employee outcomes (work results).
Books, podcasts & the big stuff.
Best books of 2023
If you are into reading, why would you be reading this section otherwise, GoodReads (a leading social network for book readers) has released their winners of the year for various genres. As voted by the readers themselves. Check it out over here.
5. Tips & Tricks / Tools & SaaS
Any new software you can use? Industry tricks you missed?
Asia tech trends and how to meet Chinese guest expectations
What mobile tech is being used in Asia? With all the talk of the Chinese and others coming to Europe, a solid understanding of Asia’s demographic and their expectations could surely help. For starters, almost 80% of Chinese expect to book and pay with their mobile, vs around 50 in Europe. If interested read more about their mobile tech and behaviours here.
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