Here at TOPOSOPHY we believe that you can only take the best decisions when you can see the bigger picture – so we’re starting the New Year with in-depth analysis of the biggest trends emerging in global tourism and

Will the Apple Watch break new ground where other tech wearables have failed to do so?

Will this be the year when we see Airbnb take the leap and merge with a major online travel agent?

Will we ever reach ‘peak selfie’?

Will DMOs take more initiatives in community and economic development?

Discover our top 15 travel trends for 2015…

Want to know more about TOPOSOPHY? Find out here.




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!

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!

Why the Travel Industry Needs to Wake Up to Mobile

61% of online travel companies surveyed in a recent global EyeforTravel poll do not have a mobile friendly website. 71% do not have a mobile app.

There are many articles and presentations circling around at present detailing a multitude of mind blowing statistics highlighting the growth of mobile and the importance of this key trend for the travel industry but why is the travel industry not listening?

It’s no longer just a handful of customers looking for your brand via mobile – it’s millions. Jeremy Copp, VP Mobile Europe, comScore, a speaker at the EyeforTravel Summit event in May, shared that in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Spain, UK, Italy), 11.3 million consumers accessed travel services via mobile in February 2011 alone. Travel application access grew by 52% YoY.

Out of the EU5, 36% of mobile market now use apps or their mobile browser. Interestingly, Spain is leading the way in terms of smartphone adoption (adopting at a higher rate than even the US) but EyeforTravel found that French travel companies were the heaviest investors in mobile followed by Germany.

For the travel companies that are investing in mobile, experiences have been largely positive. So how are such companies taking advantage of mobile and preparing for future growth in this area? Dan Craig, e-Commerce Director, shared that they invested heavily in mobile in 2009 & 2010 and are now seeing the rewards. This year they saw a 500% YoY increase in bookings via smartphones.

Craig found that investing heavily in native apps has been very beneficial as native apps provide a superior user experience than the web and lead to higher customer engagement and loyalty. From’s experience, customer primarily want to use mobile for last minute bookings and itinerary look up so they have designed their app around these key features .

Craig emphasized a fact that is often not considered when deciding where to allocate app spend – tablets are rapidly replacing laptops and desktops in the home particularly for ‘fun’ and ‘easy’ tasks. As leisure travel surely falls into this category, designing an app for tablets might just be worth that added investment.

Another important consideration when developing your mobile strategy is the fact that travel consumers are likely to be experiencing your brand on various different devices (tablet, desktop, mobile) depending where they are and what’s quickest and easiest for them at that time. A cross device experience for the customer should therefore be considered.

Nathan Clapton, VP Mobile Partnerships, Mobile, TripAdvisor shared that 6 million unique visitors now visit the TripAdvisor mobile site per month. He recommended launching new features quickly and acting fast to fix and improve user experience issues. In the rush to develop mobile apps, many forget to promote the app once it’s launched and in the following months. Clapton’s, emphasized the key to TripAdvisor’s mobile success was their approach to ‘promote, promote, promote’.

Clapton also shared that it’s worth considering whether your mobile app would be suitable to be featured as a pre-loaded app on a device. Pre-load is a powerful discovery channel (with many preferring apps with map features).

Mobile is only going to continue to grow. The rapid development of social networking sites and the consequent need to be constantly connected is fuelling mobile growth. Japan’s social networking site ‘Mixi’ shows how social networking trends can encourage mobile access and overtake desktop access. 84% of their page views are now via mobile (report by Morgan Stanley as cited by Dave Scheine, Director of European Operations, Yelp).

Many travel companies don’t want to hear that they need to invest money into yet another distribution and marketing channel but quite simply, if your customer is searching for travel information online and your site is not optimised for mobile or you don’t have an app then chances are they will find your competitors first.


Market Snaphot: London Tops the List of European Destinations, Gulf travellers lead global recovery and Credibility becomes a Key Marketing Factor for US Travelers

  • European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report 2010: Figures from 101 European Cities.

European Cities Marketing (ECM), the leading network of city tourism organisations in Europe, launched the sixth edition of the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report on Friday 11th June, during its Annual Conference in Las Palmas.

The report includes the latest figures about the performance of European Cities in 2009 and illustrates the main trends in city tourism between 2004 and 2009 from 101 European cities. In addition, the Report includes an estimation of prospects for 2010 based on an expert pool of 89 managers of ECM-member cities.

The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report focuses on the strategic and competitive position of European city destinations and provides insights into long-term trends as well as recent developments in the European city tourism industry. The report converts statistical data compiled from ECM member cities into comprehensive managerial information and makes it easily accessible, mainly by the graphical representation of charts. ‘It is an indispensable resource for every city tourism manager. We are very pleased that this year’s report has benchmarked a record number of cities,’ said Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, President of ECM, during the ECM Annual Conference in Las Palmas. He also added that the data had never before been available so early in the year.

Top 10 City Tourism Destinations in Europe

Total bednights 2009 in mn.

1. London, 45.0%

2. Paris 33.9%

3. Berlin 18.9

4. Rome 18.6

5. Madrid 13.7

6. Barcelona 12.8

7. Prague 11.2

8. Vienna 10.5

9. Munich 9.9

10. Amsterdam 8.6

Source: ECM calculations


  • Gulf travellers lead global recovery

The recovery in global travel has taken off faster than expected, led by traffic through the Gulf’s big airports. International tourism arrivals in the Middle East climbed 33 per cent in the first four months of the year compared with the same period of 2009, the highest of any region, according to the World Tourism Organisation. This compares to 7 per cent growth for the global travel industry, even after the disruption caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Tourism and air travel in the region are outperforming Europe, Africa, North America and Asia Pacific, fuelling optimism about a recovery in the regional economy. Tourism accounts for almost a fifth of Dubai’s economy.  Read the full article at:

  • Credibility: A Key Marketing Factor for US Travelers

One of the most vexing challenges for the marketers of travel services is that of addressing a fundamental dilemma in contemporary marketing practice: it has become more difficult to influence prospective customers as it has become easier to reach them, says Peter Yesawich, head of the Ypartnership. Personal recommendations have the most credibility while social media have the least, a new analysis reports.

“The question of source credibility is therefore one of great interest to marketers of travel services, particularly as it relates to the degree of influence consumers ascribe to the kaleidoscope of information now available on destinations and/or specific travel service suppliers,” Yesawich says. “And given the explosive growth in the number of sources from which consumers can now sample commentary, it’s important to understand they ascribe far greater confidence to the information they receive from some sources than others.”

This “Credibility Continuum,” as measured in the new Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2010 Portrait Of American Travelers, stretches from the personal testimonials of friends and family members (the most credible) to the content found on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (the least credible).

For more information visit:

  • Airlines to sell the majority of tickets direct to passengers by 2013: Survey

A survey has indicated that airlines are investing in IT to provide richer functionality to their online customers and creating additional channels to market in order to increase the level of direct sales now that online distribution is almost universal.

According to the 12th annual SITA/Airline Business IT Trends Survey, the airlines which carry the bulk of the world’s air traffic, are on course to sell the majority of airline tickets direct to passengers by 2013. The record 129 airlines who responded to this year’s survey carry over one billion passengers and are currently selling 40.8 percent of tickets directly to the public which breaks down as: over the Internet, 25.8 percent; through call centres, 10.7 percent; and interlining, 4.3 percent. These 129 airlines intend to bring their level of direct sales up to 55.1 percent by 2013. While sales through airline call centres and interlining will remain largely static, direct channel sales through websites are expected to jump to 37.9 percent.

In order to increase online sales, airlines are prioritising the implementation of new functionality on their web sites in the following ways: online shopping tools (61 percent have already implemented this); change/cancel/rebook (52 percent); and frequent flyer redemption functionality (51 percent).

In all, 129 airlines responded to this year’s survey, including 14 percent classified as low cost carriers; 81 percent full service carriers; 5 percent charter carriers.

Read the Full Article at:

  • Beyond Airport Security

Business travelers respond to recent terrorist activity with perspective that focuses on fundamental intelligence weakness, not lapses at the airport.

Airlines have proven a target for terrorists, but are they an easy target? The consensus, after a Nigerian passenger attempted on December 25 to mix and detonate explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, is quite possibly yes. There is controversy, however, about what aspects of international airport security need to be addressed and how best to do it.

Read the full article at:

Americans will Travel Less (& Austrians will travel more) this summer..

One in Four Americans Plan to Travel Less This Summer. When asked about their summer travel plans — including vacations and weekend trips — in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 27% of Americans say they will travel less this year than last while 18% say they will travel more. Another 37% say they will travel the same amount, and 18% say they don’t travel much. These travel intentions appear to be highly influenced by consumers’ economic confidence.

Those who rate the current economy “poor” are much more likely to say they intend to travel less than those who rate the economy “excellent/good” or “only fair.” Similarly, those who say the economy is “getting worse” are much more likely to say they intend to travel less than who say it is “getting better.” It appears that consumer expectations about the future of the economy play a role in their comfort with spending money on travel this summer.

Just about as many men under 50 years of age say they will travel more as say they will travel less. On the other hand, many more women of the same age say they will travel less than say they will travel more. While more men and women over 50 say they intend to travel less rather than more this summer, the intention to cut back on travel is particularly strong among women over 50. In the East, just about as many Americans say they will travel more as less. In the other three regions, far more say they will travel less this summer than travel more.  (source:

On the other hand, a recent survey among Austrian travelers revealed greater optimism regarding their summer vacation. Most of the Austrians plan to go for holiday this year and to spend more.

The crisis in Austrian tourism is expected to be overcome in summer 2010. According to the latest study by, an online research company, nearly 80% of all Austrians plan to go on holiday this year. 54% of all respondents claim that they will definitely go on holidayand 24% said that they will probably take a vacation. The findings suggest that Austrians are prepared to spend around €600 per person for their summer vacation this year, which is more than last year.

“Nearly three quarters of all respondents stated that the financial crisis had not very much impact on their vacation behavior. 46% of all respondents said that the crisis had rather less impact and 28% was sure the crisis had no impact at all,” added Thomas Schwabl, managing director of

After a period of cautious management of their finances it seems many Austrian travelers want to spend more and enjoy their holiday freely this summer, which of course is good news for all tourism service providers. The study further revealed that 40% of the respondents plan a two weeks holiday while more than a third (almost 35%) plans about a week-long summer vacation. Only 13% plan to limit their holiday to 3-5 days.

Summer vacation is a high priority for many Austrians. 70% of all respondents view their summer holiday as very important or important. Only about 10% consider the vacation in summer to be less important.

Moreover, the majority of Austrian holiday makers (54%) prefer to spend their holiday on a beach. 27% is planning a family vacation and almost the same amount of tourists is planning a city or cultural trip.

The study also focused on the preferences of Austrians with respect to booking. About 40% of all the respondents book their vacation shortly before leaving for holiday while 38% book long time in advance. About 29% of the travelers choose travel agencies to take care for everything even in case the accommodation is provided directly in the resort. However nearly 11% do not book their holiday at all and simply choose their accommodation as they reach their destination.

Sources: Tourism-Review.Com

Staycations: Much more than a trend..

A staycation, (a term which was only recently added to the 2009 version of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) according to The New York Times, is “a neologism used by [those] who prefer to unravel the mysteries of the world from the comfort of their living room couches.”  Staycations have achieved high popularity in the US during the financial crisis of 2007–2010 in which unemployment levels and gas prices were quite high. However, the long-lasting global economic crisis and its impact on the tourism industry caused a lot of skepticism to the travel industry and made a lot of analysts to  believe that staycations is not just a trend but a ssocial phenomeno which is here to stay. To this direction  Sarah Sharma (M/C Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2009) points out that:

”The emergence of the Staycation occurred precisely at a time when American citizens were confronted with the reality that their mobility and localities, including their relationship to domestic space, were structurally bound to larger geopolitical forces. The Staycation was an invention deployed by various interlocutors most threatened by the political possibilities inherent in stillness. The family home was catapulted into the circuits of production, consumption, and exchange. Big TV and Big Box stores furthered individual’s unease towards having to stay at home by discursively constructing the gas prices as an impediment to a happy domestic life and an affront to the American born right to be mobile. What was reinforced was that Americans ideally should be moving, but could not. Yet, at the same time it was rather un-American not to travel. The Staycation was couched in a powerful rhetoric of one’s moral duty to the nation while playing off of middle class anxieties and senses of privilege regarding the right to be mobile and the freedom to consume. The Staycation satiates all of these tensions by insisting that the home can become a somewhere else.”

Throughout the 2007-2010 period, lifestyle experts, representatives from major retailers, and avid Staycationers filled morning slots on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and CNN with Staycation tips. CNN highlighted the Staycation as a “1st Issue” in their Weekend Report on 12 June 2008 (Alban). Throughout the summer ABC News’ homepage included links to specific products and profiled hotels, such as Hiltons and Holiday Inns, where families could at least get a few miles away from home (Leamy). USA Today, in an article about retailers and the Staycation, reported that Wal-Mart would be “rolling back prices on everything from mosquito repellent to portable DVD players to baked beans and barbecue sauce”. US media continued to build over the staycation phenomenon by gradually connecting it with all major issues of our days including the global financial downturn and the global warming. As Shara Sarma succesfully points out:

“‘Playing on the American democratic ideals of freedom of mobility and activating one’s identity as a consumer left little room to re-think how life in constant motion (moving capital, moving people, moving information, and moving goods) was partially responsible for the energy crisis in the first place. Instead, staying at home became a way for the American citizen to support the floundering economy while waiting for gas prices to go back down.  And, one wouldn’t have to look that much further to see that the Staycation slips discursively into a renewed mission for a just cause – the environment. For example, ABC launched at the end of the summer a ruse of a national holiday, “National Stay at Home Week” with the tag line: “With gas prices so high, the economy taking a nosedive and global warming, it’s just better to stay in and enjoy great ABC TV.”  It comes as no shock that none of the major networks covered this as an environmental issue or an important moment for transformation. In fact, the air conditioning units in backyard tents attest to quite the opposite. Instead, the overwhelming sense was of a nation waiting at home for it all to be over. Soon real life would resume and everyone could get moving again.”

In the other side of the Atlantic and UK in specific, VisitEngland announced a couple of weeks ago its findings from the first significant research into the staycation phenomenon . Tourism statistics indicate that in 2009, England enjoyed an 18 per cent increase in the number of holiday trips taken with holiday makers spending £1bn more than in the previous year. The research discovered that the uplift in tourism last year has helped awaken a latent pride in England as a holiday destination, and as a result, in the longer term, almost half the population expect to take more domestic breaks then than they did in the past.

The research identified two groups who changed their behaviour in 2009 to generate the uplift in domestic holidays. Together, these two groups, the ‘Staycationers’, account for one in four of the population. One group ‘Switchers’ accounted for 13 per cent of respondents and included a high proportion of families. This group was primarily motivated to ‘switch’ a foreign holiday for one at home because of financial constraints.

The second group, ‘Extras’, accounted for 15 per cent of respondents and tended to be younger, and were more likely to be single. This group was less affected by the credit crunch and their economic situation and was more motivated by a desire to explore the UK and go somewhere new. In addition to more domestic breaks they also took more overseas breaks.

The quality of experience has certainly led those who took a holiday at home last year to consider including England as part of their holiday mix this year. 86 per cent of Staycationers (those groups that the research identified as responsible for the uplift) described their holiday experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’, and 80 per cent described their break as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ value. Over half said their holiday was better value than the overseas holiday it replaced.

Findings from this research show that 90 per cent of Staycationers expect to take at least one break in England this year. Some people will choose to travel abroad again when they can afford it, but with half the population expecting that they will take more domestic breaks even beyond 2010, the year of the staycation seems likely to have a longer term impact for English Tourism.

James Berresford Chief Executive VisitEngland said: These findings prove that England’s new found popularity as a holiday destination is not merely a flash in the pan. Of course, circumstances last year certainly encouraged more Brits to take a break at home, however this research shows that there is a more permanent shift in attitudes to holidaying at home. It’s a hugely rewarding experience to rediscover your own country and it’s clear that once you do, you want to do it again and again.’

He goes on to say: ‘England is a wonderful destination. We have some of the world’s best countryside, coast line, cities, festivals and people – literally on our doorstep! With so much on offer to see and do I’m not surprised England is becoming more and more popular with Brits as a top class holiday destination.’

The research was carried out over two stages. In an initial quantitative stage ,1000 adults aged 18+ were interviewed about their attitudes to the credit crunch, their holiday behaviour in 2009 and their plans for 2010. A qualitative stage followed with 8 group discussions in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds among respondents with a variety of opinions towards domestic breaks. (click here for the full report)

To conclude, the staycation phenomenon is just one example of a behavioral shift caused by a rapidly changing travel cost structure. Certain destinations are experiencing stronger staycation interest than others, but with a an international increase in major tourism markets and no foreseeable reprieve from high gas prices & other effects of the financial crisis it looks like the staycation isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer – Interim Update

International Tourist Arrivals 2010

• After an exceptionally challenging 2009, international tourism demand is steadily regaining momentum. Preliminary figures compiled by UNWTO for the first months of 2010 indicate an intensifying of the upward trend experienced since the last quarter of 2009, when international tourist arrivals increased by 2% after 14 months of negative results.

• Of the 77 countries that have so far reported international arrivals data for one or more months of the first quarter of 2010, 17 are still negative, while 60 show positive figures, of which 24 double-digit. Based on this crosscut of destinations, arrivals growth worldwide in the months of January-February is estimated at 7%. Some 29 countries already reported March data, all of them positive, clearly pointing to a continuation of the current pace of growth.

• January and February are important months for leisure tourism in the summer of the Southern hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere for winter sports tourism destinations. On average the two months represent around 13% of the yearly total. In 2010, international tourist arrivals in January and February totalled over 119 million. Of course this year’s results compare to very poor first months of 2009 –the worst part of the crisis– when international arrivals declined at a rate of -9% and with only 112 million arrivals the number fell below the level of 2007. Compared to the record year 2008, with 123 million arrivals in January and February, the current volume is still 2% short.

• Growth has been positive in all world regions, led by Asia and the Pacific (+10%). The three countries of the Middle East that have reported results so far also point to strong growth, though, compared to very subdued first months of 2009. By subregion, South Asia (+15%), South-East Asia (+10%), North-East Asia (+10%) and North Africa (+8%) did better than the world average, while growth is still weaker in Europe and Americas (both at +3%).

• Quite a few countries posted double-digit growth in the first months of 2010, i.e. Estonia (+14%), Israel (+37%), Hong Kong (China) (+14%), Macao (China) (+16%), Japan (+29%), Taiwan (pr. of China) (+28%), Indonesia (+14%), Singapore (+21%), Vietnam (+36%), Guam (+10%), India (+13%), Nepal (+30%), Sri Lanka (+50%), US Virgin Islands (+15%), Nicaragua (+16%), Ecuador (+14%), Kenya  (+18%), Seychelles (+16%), Morocco (+14%), Egypt (+29%) and Saudi Arabia (+45%).

Excerpt (first 8 pages)
Full 20 pages document available through UNWTO e-library
News release: International Tourism: First Results of 2010 confirm Upward Trend
Comunicado de prensa: Turismo internacional: los primeros resultados de 2010 confirman la tendencia al alza
Communiqué de presse: Tourisme international: Les premiers résultats de 2010 confirment une tendance à la hausse