In recent years, the sharing economy has begun to transform many aspects of life. It is enabling individuals, companies and communities to re-imagine how they live, grow, connect and operate sustainably. Tourism has emerged as one of the leading sectors for growth in the sharing economy as visitors and residents share homes, cars, boats, four course meals and a whole lot else.

As the sharing economy has ballooned to attract users and providers of all ages and walks of life, it’s clear that sharing someone’s apartment or car isn’t always just about saving money. A multitude of drivers have pushed sharing to become the mainstream practice that it is today and there are many lessons that tourism destinations and businesses can learn from that as they grapple with reforming laws to keep consumers safe, and competition fair.

In the coming weeks you’ll be able to learn more as TOPOSOPHY’s experts release a groundbreaking report called The Sharing Economy in Tourism and the Hospitality Sector with lessons to be learned on all sides and many opportunities to share opinions as TOPOSOPHY plans Sharing Economy Workshops across Europe in 2015.

Here’s a sneak preview of the report. Enjoy!

Sharing Economy & Tourism


More and more destinations around the globe gradually become aware of the influence that the growing start-ups of the sharing economy have upon them. We refer to a fascinating thematic area, which involves so many different issues such as the changing perceptions of new demographic groups about the nature and quality of travel-related services, the reaction of destination authorities according to the cultural and political context of each place, the regulations that could contribute to the establishment of a level playing field for all stakeholders involved, and several others.

In fact, About-tourism has been monitoring this trend for quite some time and today we are ready to announce the conduct of a research concerning the influence of the sharing economy in tourism and hospitality industry in Europe. Our key objectives are to explore what trends and factors have led to the emergence and expansion of this new phenomenon in the field of tourism as well as to emphasize on those opportunities and challenges international destinations are facing in trying to integrate such activities into the economic and social fabric of their areas.

Accordingly, we are excited to invite members of the start-up community in the field of tourism along with tourism industry leaders and destination authority officials to provide their valuable insight through the online questionnaires of About-tourism. This integration of viewpoints will allow our research team to expand the scope of research and made valid statements about current trends and future prospects.

We estimate that it takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the survey, so if you feel you can to contribute to this project please click on the link below that corresponds to your group of stakeholders, or cut and paste the respective URL into your browser to access the questionnaire.

1st Questionnaire – Sharing-Economy Start-Ups:

2nd Questionnaire – Tourism Industry Associations & Private Sector Leaders:

3rd Questionnaire – Destination Authorities:

Your input is very important to us and will be kept confidential. Furthermore, we will send you a report of the main findings and conclusions after completion of the project hoping to stimulate a vivid debate about ongoing development in Europe and elsewhere. Stay tuned!

Location Based Information & The Mobile Traveler

With mobile travel research and bookings still emerging and expected to grow rapidly, brands have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. According to eMarketer estimations,  16 million people in the US will book travel on a mobile device this year, with that figure set to more than double to 36.7 million people by 2016.

Part of mobile’s appeal to travel consumers is its ability to draw on location-based information, aiding customers on the move who are looking for car rentals, hotels and other services on short notice.

A Q1 2012 report by mobile-local ad network xAd found that almost half of all local travel searches completed on a mobile device in the US were related to transportation. Travel agencies accounted for another 25% of searches, tours and attractions constituted 14% of searches and 12% of searches related to lodging and resorts.

Relatively high clickthrough rates were found for all three subcategories of hotels and lodging, car rentals and airlines. The CTR for ads shown after an airline search was an impressive 17.8%, followed by 17% for car rental searches and nearly 10% for hotel and lodging searches.

According to the report, the leading secondary action—the user’s next action after an initial click—for both car rental and airline searches was the placement of a phone call to a business, at 73% and 89%, respectively. For hotel searches, more than three-quarters of secondary actions consisted of looking at maps and getting directions.

These secondary actions are the result of reluctance among consumers to navigate brand websites on a mobile device. Instead of dealing with an inconvenient interface on a small screen, customers preferred to call businesses directly. In the case of those performing hotel or lodging searches, consumers turned to map and directions apps to find the information they sought. In both instances, users sought the most efficient path, underscoring why brands seeking to secure bookings from mobile customers must focus on optimizing local search with a click-to-call button in results.

In a new Location-Based Advertising and Marketing research report, Berg Insight estimates that the total global value of the real-time mobile LBA (Location-Based Advertising) market was €192 million in 2011, representing 5.0 percent of the total mobile ad spend. Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 90.9 percent, the real-time LBA market is forecasted to be worth € 4.9 billion in 2016, corresponding to 28.3 percent of all mobile advertising and marketing. Key drivers for LBA include the growing attach rates of location technologies in handsets, as well as the increasing consumer acceptance of LB Services in general.

Location is only one of many components in successful targeting, and marketers must also strive to leverage other contextual and behavioural information. High-precision real-time geotargeting is today sparsely used, and rightly so as most campaigns do not require targeting with an accuracy of a few meters. Hyper-local campaigns are nevertheless becoming more common.


Check Out More Trends on Tourism & Travel here

abouTourism’s TrendSpotting 2012 is Here!

abouTourism brings you a compilation of the latest Tourism and Travel Trends to shape the industry

Moderate growth is expected for the tourism industry in 2012, despite the uncertain global economic outlook. Factors such as rising incomes in emerging markets and stable unemployment and disposable income in mature markets are expected to drive demand this year. We have entered a period of drastic change and the industry is reinventing itself to meet changing expectations, rapid technological advancements and a shifting world economic environment.

Visit our TrendSpotting 2012 Page to see all the key trends to influence the global tourism and travel industry in 2012. The list keeps growing as it is frequently updated with all the latest tourism and travel trends. Enjoy!

New Tourism Report shows Luxury Brands Thrive as the Economy Strengthens

With a strong economic resurgence under way, luxury brands seem to be benefiting from the increase in discretionary income and corporate travel budgets more than any other tier. That is at least what is shown in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry Report for Q1 2011 by Perceptions Inc., the web-focused Voice of Customer (VoC) analytics provider.

Luxury brands were among the most negatively impacted by the recent economic downturn. Economic indicators such as increases in employment, disposable incomes and corporate budgets for business travel, all point to the reasons of their strong recovery.

Price still remains a key motivator in booking, even among luxury brands as travelers continuously browse multiple sites to secure the best deal possible. However, with a healthier economy, other factors will weigh in on the booking decision, such as brand reputation and services offered.

2011 will be a year of opportunity for hospitality brands to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering products and services that their competitors do not. With consumers being less financially restricted than in 2010, they may be willing to spend more if what they are buying increases perceptions of the value they are getting.

Other important findings from the report include:

  • Business travel increased from 29% in Q4 2010 to 32% in Q1 2011, while leisure travel decreased from 63% to 60% during the same time period.
  • Luxury hotel stays increased from 36% in Q4 2010 to 44% in Q1 2011. As a result, there was a decrease in visitors who stayed at midscale and economy hotels.
  • Technical difficulties increased from 14% in Q4 2010 to 18% in Q1 2011 for visitors who came to make a reservation and encountered booking problems.
  • Business travelers continued to have difficulty finding specific information related to their stay, such as conference room details, maps/distance to meeting locations and shuttle service.

The report analyzed immediate post-experience feedback from more than 130,000 people visiting over 100 hospitality and tourism sites to identify the most important online issues and trends facing this unique industry. For the full report click here.


Study Snapshot: Traveling through the recovery

Even after the general economy recovers, the environment will likely still contain challenges for travel companies, writes Deloitte in their latest whitepaper titled “Traveling through the recovery – Ways THL companies should consider navigating the upturn”. While certain regions will show improvement in occupancy rates, the industry will need time to heal.

Over the last several years, tourism, hospitality, and leisure (THL) companies have experienced a downturn of historical proportions. Companies were glad to see 2009 come to an end. The protracted US recession that began in late 2007, and the global meltdown of financial markets that occurred a year later, led to a sharp cutback in spending from businesses and consumers. As both leisure and business travel contracted, many sectors suffered multi-year declines that were the worst ever recorded by industry-watchers.The US Travel Association estimates that total travel expenditures in 2009 were $704.5 billion, representing a 9% decline from 2008. Spending declines have been across the board and include international visitors and domestic travelers.

Business travel, a large source of revenue for many hotel chains, has also been sharply curtailed. The declines came as companies looked for cost savings amid falling profits. Businesses cancelled many conferences and events or turned to video-conferencing. Increased scrutiny from the public on corporate travel spending was also partly responsible for these cutbacks.

The lodging industry experienced particularly steep declines during the recession. Smith Travel Research (STR) reported that occupancy fell for three consecutive years; in 2009 it was down to 55% — far below the 63% average of the last 20 years. Revenue per available room (revPAR) in 2009 dropped by a record-setting 16.7% and was the second consecutive annual decline. The luxury hotel segment has suffered the worst decline of any segment, with revPAR down 24.4% in 20092. A sobering January 2010 comment from STR in was that “Every day in 2009, the industry sold 159,000 fewer rooms, and revenue was down more than $41 million. That amounts to 58 million fewer rooms, and $15.2 billion less in revenue. Those are huge numbers3.” Other hotel-related results were equally grim. In 2009, the hotel industry’s estimated pre-tax income, at $12.8 billion, was half of its 2008 figure, according to Standard & Poor’s. The industry’s financial troubles have led to increased defaults on mortgages, and hotel construction has been sharply curtailed as a result of the weakened demand.

By late 2009, however, signs were emerging that the worst was over for travel-related companies, both in the US and abroad. As shown in the chart, the hotel industry’s year-over-year comparisons, while still negative, are inching their way toward positive territory.

Bottom line, it may be a slow and difficult turnaround in the days to come. As a result, travel, hospitality and leisure companies (THL) may need to prepare themselves for the long haul. Many will need to do more with less money and less resources – and be clever about it.

Even after the general economy recovers, the environment will likely still contain challenges for THL companies. While certain regions will show improvement in occupancy rates, the industry will need time to heal.

US travel-related spending in 2010 expected to be helped by the anticipated passage of the Travel Promotion Act, which will likely increase advertising in foreign markets to encourage international travelers to visit the US. Additionally, the improving economy should ease budget constraints for both individuals and businesses. In early 2010, analysts were already noting that corporate meetings and conventions appeared to be picking up, following the steep declines of the last two years.

Despite recent signs that a recovery has arrived, most economists do not expect it to be robust. The economy is still far from healthy. Unemployment is likely to remain high in 2010 and growth in consumer spending should continue to be subpar over the next year or so as Americans work at paying down the high debt they accumulated during the house-as-ATM boom period of the mid-2000s. They also are expected to be saving more for retirement, particularly as the oldest Baby Boomers start turning 65 in 2011. We expect tourism, hospitality and leisure to be one of the last sectors to experience a turnaround, given that most spending in this area is highly discretionary.

Bottom line, it may be a slow and difficult turnaround in the days to come. As a result, THL companies may need to prepare themselves for the long haul. Many will need to do more with less money and less resources – and be clever about it.

The report suggests several areas that THL companies might want to consider to help them “own the upturn” as the market slowly begins to heal. The following five insights may offer some of the best opportunities for hotel companies to improve cost expenditures, streamline operations, and connect with customers:

  • Information-Driven Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Initiatives
  • Virtualization and Information Technology (IT) Cost Reduction
  • Retaining and Managing Talent
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Strategic Cost Reduction

Click here for the full report


European Hospitality Outlook Survey – DLA Piper March 2010

A survey of 417 European hotel executives has revealed weak industry confidence and dealt a blow to hopes of recovery this year.

Only two per cent of respondents expect a sustained upturn this year, despite 37 per cent predicting one year ago that 2010 would bring solid growth.

These worse-than-expected results are compounded by fears from over half of hoteliers (55 per cent) that room rates will not return to pre-financial crisis levels until after 2012.

Highlights of DLA Piper’s 2010 European Hospital ity Outlook Survey include:

■ 54 percent of respondents describe their 12-month outlook for the European hospitality industry as “bearish,”down from 84 percent in 2009. Bullishness is up from 5 percent to 27 percent.
■ 45 percent of respondents cite a decline in room rates as having had an adverse impact as opposed to 37 percent mentioning a decline in occupancy.
■ Only 2 percent of respondents expect to see a sustained recovery in the year ahead, but 54 percent see recovery a year away, up from 39 percent a year ago.
■ 68 percent of respondents view the economy and mid-market sectors as the most attractive opportunities for
investors in the next 12 months.
■ 33 percent of respondents anticipate a slight increase in the amount of new-build activity in the coming year,as against 20 and 13 percent foreseeing a slight decrease and a significant decrease respectively.
■ Respondents identified India (24 percent) and China (28 percent) as representing the best opportunities for significant growth for their businesses over the next three years.
■ 33 percent of respondents are seeking “considerably less” advice and guidance from their bankers than 12 months ago.
■ The Eco or Green sector is the most attractive opportunity for only 6 percent of respondents.

Click here for the full report


TrendSpotting 2010

2010 brings new challenges to the global tourism & travel industry. abouTourism went through the most popular articles & studies and collected the major trends for 2010. Please feel free to send more web links & resources referring to tourism & travel trends.

Latest Trend: Statistical Survey Report on Internet Development in China

A new report recently released by the China Internet Network Information Center reveals that online travel booking in 2009 increased 77.9 percent, a growth rate that exceeds online shopping (45.9 percent), online banking (62.3 percent) and e-mail (29 percent).

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