Airbnb roll out a new brand identity centered on “belonging anywhere in the sharing economy”

Airbnb have recently announced and launched a complete overhaul of its brand identity. 

Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world through mobile phones or the internet. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, with over 800,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.  It has found accommodation solutions for over 15 million customers.

airbnb old logo

Old Logo

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New logo

The launch is not without controversy with a number of industry commentators poking fun at the suggestive nature of the logo in addition to claims of plagiarism.

We like it….and have taken an extract from their blog written by Brian Chesky one of the co-founders that provides insights to the thinking behind the new brand identity.

“In the end, nothing can express our identity more profoundly than the stories of people who make up this community. When we started Airbnb, I had no idea about the people we would meet, or the friendships I would make. Then I met Amol, one of the first guests, who later invited me to his wedding in India. I met Sebastian, who was trapped in his house in the middle of the London Riots in 2011. Before his own mother had a chance to check that he was okay, seven of his former guests did. And I met Shell, who saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and listed her home for free to those who were displaced. 100415a-HQ28-007 NATO Headquarters Brussels. These people, along with millions of others, have their own unique backgrounds and life experiences. We all come from vastly different cultures and places. And yet, no matter how many miles may separate us, we are united by the universal, powerful, human desire to connect, to understand, and to belong. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that belonging can take us anywhere”. — Brian Chesky airbnb_logo_4things

Read more on the drivers behind the new brand positioning at:

http://blog.airbnb.com/belong-anywhere/

Tourism New Zealand win PATA Gold Award for marketing

PATA Gold AwardsTourism New Zealand‘s 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign has once again been recognised on the world stage, with its latest win the prestigious Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award, Marketing. 

The annual PATA Gold Awards recognise tourism organisations that have made outstanding contributions to successfully promote the travel industry in Asia Pacific.  This year, more than 180 entries from 66 organisations and individuals worldwide were received.  The award will be formally presented to Tourism New Zealand on 19 September at the PATA Gold Awards Luncheon as part of the PATA Travel Mart in Cambodia. 

The Marketing Award will be presented to Tourism New Zealand for its “100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand” campaign.   Tourism New Zealand aims to leverage the huge media and consumer attention that The Hobbit Trilogy has and will continue to achieve, and convert that attention into travel to New Zealand – the country where the movies were made.  The campaign, developed in partnership with The Hobbit moviemakers Warner Brothers and Weta Workshop, has been the primary marketing campaign for Tourism New Zealand in its key offshore markets. The Hobbit and associated marketing campaigns have been a significant contributor to visitor arrival growth to New Zealand over the last 18 months. 

As an international marketing body it is incredibly encouraging to receive acknowledgement of our campaign activity from fellow international tourism bodies and professionals – and we are extremely proud to receive this award“, says Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive Tourism New Zealand. 

Our 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign continues to go from strength-to-strength, and it is fantastic to receive such significant acknowledgment as we gear up to launch our activity to leverage the third and last of The Hobbit movies – set to be released later this year.

Holiday arrivals into New Zealand for the year-ending May 2014 were up 8.9 per cent on the previous year with key target market for the Middle-earth campaign, the United States showing 15.3 per cent growth in holiday arrivals.

London Tops MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as Most Visited City | Global Hub

LondonLondon Tops MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as Most Visited City Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai Round Out Top Five,

London tops the list as the destination of choice for international travelers for the third time in four years, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index released today.

Now in its fourth year, the index provides a ranking of the 132 most travelled cities from around the world.Rounding out the top five cities are Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai, which are benefiting from a surge in international travel fueled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel. The index also indicates this surge will continue, even with more technology and collaboration tools available to businesses.

According to the study, London is projected to receive 18.7 million international visitors in 2014. Forecasted visitors to the rest of the top five cities include:Bangkok – 16.42 millionParis – 15.57 million visitors Singapore – 12.47 million visitors Dubai – 11.95 million visitors

“The index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard. “The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs. And, that’s where we come in. Every day, we help consumers and businesses maximize all of the travel opportunities available to them, including a safe and secure way to pay no matter where they are across the globe.”

via London Tops MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as Most Visited City | Global Hub.

Survey Says: Millennials Now Drive Leisure Travel in U.S. | TravelPulse

JAMES SHILLINGLAW | JUNE 24, 2014

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For the past 10 years, the travel industry was focused on Baby Boomers, who were considered the most lucrative market. As Boomers got older, it was assumed, they would have more time and more money to travel.

That certainly has been the case over the last decade, and boomers continue to be a major market for travel. But now the industry may want to refocus on the often forgotten Millennial or Gen Y traveler, at least according to the 2014 Portrait of American Travelers, an annual survey by MMGY Global, a travel marketing services firm.

According to the survey, Millennials those between the ages of 18 and 35 will be the driving force behind the continued recovery of the U.S. travel industry. They are also expected to spend incrementally more on travel services than any other age group over the next 12 months.

The survey found that 24 percent of Millennial travelers are planning to take more overnight leisure trips in the next 12 months, versus 14 percent who are planning fewer trips, a net difference of 10 percent. This compares with a negative net difference of 1 percent for Boomers, and negative net differences of 3 percent and 6 percent for Matures and Xers, respectively.

Gen Yers also plan to spend significantly more on leisure travel services in the next 12 months, well ahead than any of the other generational cohorts: an average of $887 on a previous-year base of $4,499. Gen Xers intend to spend the second highest increment: $666 on a previous-year base of $4,341.

According the MMGY Global, both trends are consistent with the manner in which Millennials view the sanctity of their vacation time. Last year they took an average of 4.6 overnight trips for leisure purposes versus an average of 4.2 trips for all U.S. households with an annual income over $50,000.

“Six in 10 Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material things,” said Steve Cohen, vice president of insights for MMGY Global. “This is presumably one of the reasons we’ve observed the spike in their intentions with respect to leisure travel in the year ahead…Millennials’ planning, booking and sharing habits are significantly different from those of older leisure travelers.”

All this could be good for travel agents. In an earlier survey for the American Society of Travel Agents on the value of using a travel agent, MMGY Global found nearly 60 percent of Millennials who used travel agents believed that their vacations were better than those organized without their assistance. The study also found that consumers that use an agent travel more average 4.7 trips than consumers that don’t use a travel agent average 3.6 trips.

On the other hand, Millennials’ travel interests don’t always extend to more distant destinations. Gen Yers are more likely to have taken a “staycation” during the last 12 months than all other travelers. Thirty-three percent took at least one vacation within 50 miles of their home, versus 27 percent among all other leisure travelers. One third said their choice was made to save money to take a more substantial vacation during the year ahead.

The MMGY Portrait of American Travelers, now in its 24th year, reflects the lifestyles and travel behavior of approximately 57 million American households who spent an average of $4,429 on leisure travel in the last year. Collectively, they represent nearly $240 billion in U.S. travel spending. The survey polls 2,550 active leisure travelers who reside in households with an annual income of $50,000 or more and who have taken at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months on which they used overnight accommodations.

via Survey Says: Millennials Now Drive Leisure Travel in U.S. | TravelPulse.

Boston Consulting Group – Facebook Report – Travel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity

Facebook logoTravel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity

Early Movers Can Cement Significant Advantage by Personalizing the Travel Journey

According to a New Report by BCG and Facebook BOSTON, June 19, 2014—

Although it was one of the first industries to be disrupted by digital commerce, travel and tourism has been slow to embrace the opportunities offered by mobile technology, according to Travel Goes Mobile, a new report by The Boston Consulting Group and Facebook. This reticence has left the playing field wide open for early movers. Those that miss the shift will find catching up increasingly difficult once consumers patterns of behavior and relationships with mobile apps and the companies behind them solidify.

BCG Logo“Early movers in travel, especially those companies that design successful mobile apps, have the opportunity to establish lasting advantage,” said Jason Guggenheim a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “For many travel suppliers, this means an opportunity to strengthen or reestablish customer relationships that have been eroded by online intermediaries. For intermediaries, it means rethinking their offerings to protect the positions they have established on the PC. Winners will need to understand their customers’ mobile-usage trends, tailor their marketing, and even adapt their operating models accordingly.”

Estimates of the number of apps installed on the average smartphone vary, depending on who is doing the counting, but they range from about 25 to about 40. So far, only a few travel-company apps are used regularly by a significant share of consumers. Most travel companies have converted fewer than 20 percent of their PC customers to mobile-app usage, and no travel app has established itself as the go-to resource on more than 2 percent of smartphones.

The report argues that the biggest opportunity for travel companies is to cement relationships with customers—especially a company’s best, high-value customers—by offering them truly personalized service and experience. Mobile apps generate information related to usage, searching, time of use, location of use, spending, preferences, friends and followers, and countless other kinds of data. The more a travel company engages customers through mobile devices, the more information it can synthesize to personalize messages and the in-app customer experience. This information can also be used to segment the company’s best customers on the basis of frequency of use and expenditure, among other criteria, including their current location, time of day, and status.

“The tools and capabilities available to travel companies continue to expand as digital and mobile technologies improve,” Lee McCabe, global head of travel strategy at Facebook and a report coauthor, said. “This paper reveals the extraordinary role mobile technology can and will continue to play in travel and the tremendous value it can add to travel companies and travelers’ experiences. Sophisticated apps, combined with rich data and targeting capabilities, allow for personalized marketing at scale. The ability to perfectly time and tailor messages on the basis of rich data is very powerful from a business standpoint—for both brand- and direct-response-related objectives.”

The single log-in functionality offered by Facebook, for example, enables seamless movement among apps, eliminating the need to log in for each visit. Innovations such as app install ads, conversion ads, and deep links further simplify moving among multiple apps, which is great for the user and generates tremendous data for marketers.

The report points out that mobile “gatekeepers” have the power and sophistication to vastly augment travel companies’ own data-collection and analysis efforts with the vast amount of consumer information they manage. The biggest gatekeepers today are the device manufacturers and the companies behind the main mobile-operating systems and app stores, app-to-app marketers, and social networks and messaging app operators. The top three—Facebook, Google, and Apple—currently account for half of total app usage.

The report argues that, in terms of apps, travel companies want their customers to do three things: discover and download their apps, engage with them at multiple stages of the travel journey, and find the experience so simple, satisfying, and useful that they want to come back and use the apps again—to the exclusion of other available travel apps.

This means that travel companies need to design apps with functionality that customers—especially high-value customers—prize and that other travel companies cannot match, market the app effectively for both ease of installation and engagement, experiment and bring out new functionality quickly to keep the app fresh and make it more useful, and make the experience more personal over time.

To download a copy of the report, please go to www.bcgperspectives.com.

via BCG – Press Release – Travel Companies Have Been Slow to Seize the Mobile Opportunity.

Why Uber and Airbnb Are the Only Truly Disruptive Travel Companies of This Century – Skift

For years travel industry insiders have bemoaned the fact that big, successful brands haven’t emerged since companies such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, and to a lesser extent, Kayak, made their marks at least a decade ago.

In the interim in Europe, brands such as Booking.com, Skyscanner, and Trivago have

airbnb

airbnb (Photo credit: Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta)

arrived on the scene, and in China Qunar and Ctrip are becoming household names.

The emergence of Uber and Airbnb, with valuations that dwarf those of major car rental companies and hotel chains, truly takes things to a new level as the two have the potential to be global brands despite the regulatory issues they must overcome.

Uber and Airbnb seemingly came out of nowhere, and they and their competitors are transformative in the way they are changing widely held notions of the hired car business and lodging.

Uber just landed an additional $1.2 billion in funding at a $17 billion valuation and its mobile app, along with that of its competitor Lyft, is driving incremental demand and helping to change what consumers have come to expect in car-rental services.

Airbnb, too, which has a whopping valuation north of $10 billion, is helping to redefine lodging, and as Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian states, although Airbnb will inevitably evolve, it is here to stay.

How Different Should Startups Be?

Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have the potential to be big global brands because they are truly different than the companies in their respective sectors that preceded them.

Some would say they are “remarkably different” than their predecessors.

That phrase comes to mind because I was recently talking with Sam Shank, the CEO of HotelTonight and an avid travel startup investor, about the pitches he gets from travel startups.

Shank told me that when startups talk to him about their differentiation, he essentially asks them if what they are building is “remarkably different.”

A travel startup such as Hipmunk, for example, created its Agony Index for flight and hotel search, but it can be debated whether that was a unique enough foundation to lead to later success. Hipmunk hasn’t stopped there, of course, but you get the idea.

To be truly successful, a travel startup should strive to be remarkably different from the pack — like Uber and Airbnb and their competitors arguably are.

Trip Advisor

Hopper’s Pivot

Which brings us to travel startup Hopper, and what might be called the travel startup brain drain.

Founded by Frederic LeLonde in 2007, Hopper set out to build a huge destination database and to transform the trip-planning process.

With $22 million in funding, Hopper waited for about a half dozen years before it debuted an “alpha” site, showcasing its long-awaited trip-planning product.

It didn’t impress.

Now comes word that Hopper has pivoted because after seven years in the making, Hopper discovered that travelers weren’t particularly interested in its destination content and trip-planning offering.

In its latest iteration, Hopper has travelers accessing “reports” about airfares on potential flights to discover the best time to fly.

It’s as though the Hopper team has been operating in a bubble, divorced from marketplace realities and after having fallen in love with the technology it built, it now has come up with another product that travelers won’t be interested in to justify all the labor that it did over the years.

No one has been able to make a business out of predictions on when to fly, and even Bing Travel, which inherited flight-prediction technology with its acquisition of Farecast several years ago, recently killed its flight-prediction feature.

By all accounts LeLonde is a very intelligent technologist, and he’s had previous success, having founded Newtrade Technologies and selling it to Expedia in 2002.

But, Hopper wasn’t – and apparently isn’t – creating anything that is remarkably different, whether it is in trip-planning, fare predictions, or a rumored metasearch product.

LeLonde, and in fact a whole slew of well-intentioned travel startup folks, especially those countless founders and co-founders who are laboring away at trip-planning startups and trip-planning apps in various forms, are essentially spinning their wheels and wasting investors’ money, too.

via Why Uber and Airbnb Are the Only Truly Disruptive Travel Companies of This Century – Skift.

Shaping the Future of Travel in the GCC – a landmark FREE Report from Amadeus

Shaping the Future of Travel in the GCC – a landmark FREE Report from Amadeus.

It has been an absolute privilege today to take part as the moderator in the launch of a landmark study and event organised by Amadeus.  Their new report on the Future of Travel in the GCC is undoubtedly one of the best ever and most important travel industry related reports conducted in the region.

Drawing on the expertise of industry leaders across 22 travel brands and insights from over 1,000 end travellers this report describes the key effects that will shape the future of travel for this exciting and important part of the world.

amadeus new logo on blueThe headline “Big Effect” is that rapidly changing demographics will fuel a major shift in GCC travel over next 15 years.  The coming-of-age of the GCC’s youthful population will reshape the travel industry in the region over the next fifteen years, as digital natives instinctively turn to mobile technologies and social media to plan, book and manage travel.

Today, nearly 25% of the GCC population is under 15 years of age, and as this demographic becomes tomorrow’s decision makers, it will shake up traditional behaviours to become increasingly self-directed. As outlined in the Amadeus-commissioned new report, Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Big Travel Effects, additional unfolding demographic forces such as a steady inflow of expatriate workers, robust natural population growth and a growing middle class, will combine to drive a new and divergent set of travel behaviours and needs in the region.

The report, written by Frost & Sullivan and Insights and commissioned by Amadeus, examines and contextualises the various ways a new travel landscape will develop in the Gulf region over the next fifteen years.

“The Gulf region is poised for a new era of travel as investment in infrastructure, new tourism sectors, and governmental initiatives to ease intra- and extra-regional movement make the GCC more attractive to leisure and business travellers,” said Antoine Medawar, Vice President, MENA, Amadeus. He added, “The travel providers who address the nuanced needs of the region’s population stand to thrive in the coming decades. At Amadeus our people, our technology and our innovation are dedicated to helping our customers and partners to shape the future of travel in this region.”

Further key findings include:

Economies in the GCC are diversifying beyond oil, and specialist tourism sectors such as cruise, meetings and conferences and medical tourism play a prominent role in this diversification. As a result, GCC countries have maintained an average GDP growth of over 5% in the past decade, with a greater increase expected in the future.

Tourism will have a trickle-down effect into other sectors, furthering economic growth and diversification. Hospitality and construction in particular will benefit as the number of travellers entering or passing through the region increases -Qatar expects 3.7 million tourists in 2022 due to the FIFA World Cup and is investing $20 billion on tourism infrastructure and $140 billion on transport.

The GCC is working to make travel easier, both within the region and outbound. The difficulty of obtaining a visa has been the main reason for 33% of travellers surveyed not taking trips as often as they would like. By improving accessibility within the region and abroad, the number of intra-regional travellers is expected to increase four-fold by 2030.

“Travel in the Gulf region is changing. Economic diversification and a move from oil is an important driver, but there are many more subtle factors also at play. Changes in population and geopolitical pressure to open borders and make movement easier are also impacting the future of travel here,” observed Mona Faraj, Managing Partner, Insights.

The report was informed by a survey of some 1,000 travellers from the region as well as interviews with thought leaders in the travel industry. It highlights the technologically savvy and growing population of the GCC and predicts a travel landscape will develop in the region that is highly connected, personalised, and sustainable.

To download a free copy of the report “Shaping the future of Travel in the GCC: Big Travel Effects” please visit:

http://www.amadeus.com/blog/05/06/middle-east-report/

2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Jun 2, 2014

As the travel industry starts to mature and new disruptive forces enter the fray, are you – and your business partners – ready to pivot?

skyscanner_logoIn a world where many travel brands want to drive more direct business, how do you choose the right partners? Whether it’s Google, Expedia, Skyscanner or Groupon, one pressing question is this: how are they going to assist or hinder your efforts in the fight to win the next billion Asian customers? By 2030, tourists from Asia will lead all regions of the world in total departures and travel expenditures. So yes, it’s a booming market and there are huge opportunities – as well as some significant challenges.

Over the past month, we’ve been talking to some of the speakers who presented at EyeforTravel’s Travel Distribution Asia last week. They helped us to identify some emerging trends in the region. Let’s now take a closer look.

1. Ready to pivot? Are peer-to-peer and villa rentals the next big thing?  Is this a tipping point in online travel?

Sean Seah, MD of Groupon Travel thinks so. “I think we’re at a pivot point. What I call travel 1.0 – the OTAs, search engines and pretty much metasearch too, which has been around for ages, have matured,” he says.

In APAC, specifically, this is a whole new segment, which could seriously shake up and disrupt the distribution model.“

In 2014 and 2015, the whole peer-to-peer model, like Airbnb and vacation rental space, like HomeAway, will be huge and that is going to make it even harder for travel suppliers like hotels to play the game, as these other guys are going to be just as good,” says Seah.

In Asia, there are still huge opportunities to run villas – especially for groups and families – in, say, Phuket and Bali

“The OTAs have brought transparency to the hotel space, but there is absolutely no transparency in the market for villas,” explains Seah.In other words, they are hard to find, very few are doing it and nobody has – as yet – gained critical mass. While, things are changing though this represents one of the greatest opportunities in APAC.

2. Mobile: it’s massive and it’s mainstream

For Skyscanner’s Andy Sleigh, General Manager, APAC you simply can’t succeed in APAC unless you understand mobile and are prepared to take advantage of mobile growth in a region, where around a third of the 4-billion strong population have access to the mobile internet.

“We take a mobile first approach – it’s a no-brainer when your mobile traffic more than tripled as ours did last year,” he says.

Expedia could not agree more.expedia-logo

Says Traci Mercer, Vice President, Market Management – Asia Pacific at Expedia Lodging Partner Services: “Mobile is massive, mainstream and the marketplace for travel is – Now!”

With mobile as the mainstream medium, Mercer says Expedia will be considering what the next ‘well’ is for new customer acquisitions. Watch this space.

3. Where next for wearables…and the smart TV?

For Mercer the big question is: “As we play this forward [the fact that mobile is now mainstream], what do wearables and smart TVs do to commerce online?”

In APAC, Mercer points toa leapfrogging of the PC in favour of smartphones and tablets or ‘phablets’ and this, along with the emergence of low cost carriers, is creating a larger middle class and creating an abundance of new travel consumers. Of course, when it comes to wearables, we aren’t just talking Google Glass, and there is plenty of room for innovation on this front.

4. Keep it clean, simple and transparent 

What KAYAK has seen through continued growth in 2013 is that there are similar user preferences across its various regions, and if we are speaking of integrity, it’s important to be transparent too.

“Consumers across all regions prefer a simple, intuitive and clean user interface, comprehensive search results, a fast response time, transparency in pricing, and a seamless multi-platform experience,” says Debby Soo Vice President – APAC.

KAYAK believes it is able to take its widespread and deep experience with consumer preferences in the US and apply those lessons to markets like Europe and Asia.

via 2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel.

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Sabre Renews Technology Agreement with Accor Hotels – MarketWatch

May 29, 2014 

PR-Logo-NewswireSabre Corporation, the leading technology provider to the global travel and tourism industry, has renewed its technology agreement with Accor Hotels to continue marketing and selling Accor’s room inventory and rates in the Sabre global distribution system.Travel agents using the Sabre global travel marketplace will be able to access room rates and availability for all 13 Accor brands and 3,600 hotels in 92 countries.Based on Sabre’s unparalleled access to more than 400,000 travel agents worldwide, Accor also will extend its advertising program within the Sabre travel marketplace.

“Innovative hoteliers like Accor are constantly evaluating ways to most effectively reach travel agents and travelers,” said Carlo Olejniczak, senior vice president, Global Sales for Accor.  “The Sabre travel marketplace is an important part of our sales and distribution strategy, and Sabre has consistently delivered value and creative ideas to help accelerate our growth.”David Gross, senior vice president of Supplier Commerce at Sabre, said: “Accor hotels’ brands are constantly reinventing their concept to satisfy the needs and expectations of business and leisure customers alike, and Sabre is proud to showcase Accor’s content in the Sabre travel marketplace.

“Sabre® is a leading technology provider to the global travel and tourism industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, such as passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, and flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, processing over $100 billion of estimated travel spend in 2013 by connecting travel suppliers to their most valued customers, the business traveler.  Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre operates offices in approximately 60 countries around the world.

via Sabre Renews Technology Agreement with Accor Hotels – MarketWatch.

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