A consistent theme of my blog that I hope has not gone unnoticed is that the scope and pace of change is engulfing us all now is unlike anything previously experienced. It’s not just the speed with which a new idea can now catch light and spread – look at the success of Airbnb and its many competitors – but the potential for its radical disruption of the norm. That’s because you are not looking at minor adjustments to business as usual but a fundamental shift in “Story” – the narrative, values, beliefs that we use to guide our choices and actions as individuals and as society. Once you understand the dimensions and characteristics of that shift, you will see all manner of opportunity and implications.
Having said that, I am amazed at the relative lack of interest in such high/deep level analysis – most people in tourism seem content to be fed a diet of trends that often appear in international events almost at the point of being past their sell-by-date. Recently one tourism conference declared in 2013, that “experiential travel is now hot.”
Expect to see the word “conscious” appear with increasing and alarming frequency. Alarming because we all know how the force of a new idea can be significantly weakened with either repetition or mis-use. (the word “paradigm” comes to mind). By way of example, I am sharing the work of a relatively young New York agency “spark& honey” who describe themselves as “trend watchers and tacticians, strategists and savants, creatives and quants who live to help brands hijack, accelerate and ignite culture”.
Here are two provocative slide decks – the first on Conscious Brands and the second on the Collaborative Economy. These are simply two manifestations of a deep shift in values.
A year ago, we highlighted the emergence of Airbnb “10 Reasons Why Airbnb is an awesome Travel Enterprise . In this deck from spark & honey, you can see how the collaborative economy is creating new competitors from unlikely sources that are affecting hospitality and transportation more widely.
To be honest, I am tired of being told I am “ahead of my time” because as time speeds up, those who are considered to be “out front” might have something highly relevant to say. But if noses are permanently to the grindstone, their owners may not have noticed the acceleration!
Another way to look at ‘conscious travel’….are travellers conscious of the fact that when they ‘Go-Direct’ and handle their own travel arrangements with the actual tour operator or accommodation provider that they should not have to pay the retail price?
We are addressing this aspect of conscious travel by inviting travel and tourism businesses to offer direct booking savings to our members.
We do not sell travel or take reservations and do not charge any travel business for any of our services when they give our members the true and honest ‘outlet’ price. In addition we showcase small and medium sized travel businesses that are not generally represented by the traditional travel industry thereby contributing to local economies around the world.
We also welcome wholesalers who can offer a wholesale price covering a wide selection of their products.
Retail agents who have knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities are also welcome and may charge their full price if our members are getting the consulting expertise that they want and need. Expert (not necessarily ‘specialists’) retail travel consultants may be able to offer our members excellent value which can often save them time, money and effort regarding their travel plans. Today, experts can be based anywhere on this tiny planet enabling our members to access expertise that may not be locally available.