The WTM (World Travel Market) is not a trade fair like any other. It is held in London every year in the first ten days of November and it represents, for all operators in the sector, the time of reflection and analysis on the performances of the tourism sector at international level.
Popular universities and major bureaus of trend analyses present their studies.
In this short article I will try to bring to you all, what impressed me during the most recent edition closed just last week.
The analyses presented by Euromonitor International and PhoCusWright have highlighted some trends that affect closely the Italian market, the first of which is the increase of bookings from “mobile device”.
The growth and spread of smartphones have radically changed the world of tourism.
As is evident from the graph, $ 250 million of online sales from “mobile” are now exceeded and the trend is growing strongly; the consequences on the market of hotel reservations are basically two:
• the rapidly increasing inclination to last minute booking (one to three days before arrival) and, in parallel,
• an increase in long term planned reservations (12/14 months).
The impact on “pricing” strategies are obvious: you must enter the fees on the various booking channels with an advance of at least 14 months and raise rates on the last days.
Use of revenue analysis software is recommended, but not always the programs are adapted to each reality.
In a talk in London with Enzo Aita, manager of a company specialized in revenue and analysis systems, we said: “Of course it is necessary to take into account these instruments without which it is impossible to predict a price for the sale of a night in 12 / 14 months’ time, but human intervention is always important; the software does not know when the most popular soccer team plays”. In fact, programs take into account the historical occupation, the current one and the rates charged by the competition, but they cannot monitor special events that take place in various cities and that must be evaluated by knowledgeable experts in the local market.
The second consequence of the growth in “mobile” was presented at WTM on several occasions and regards the development of the algorithm by which Google ranks the websites in the search results pages.
The change is radical: the most important search engine in the world, in fact, decided to index taking into account the “mobile” sites first.
The “Mobile First” words bounced in all the seminars with a major impact on the public.
This means, in fact, that many internet sites which no longer correspond to the new rules will be out of the Google ranking, positioned in the hundredth page.
So some hotels will suddenly become invisible, unavailable, out of business.
Certainly everyone was very cautious this year about the economic performance of various countries, the Trump effect, Brexit and the instability in some European nations did not allow to make reliable forecasts.
But, despite this, I was struck by the development of investments of various airline companies on the new supersonic aircrafts.
Virgin Group has founded a company characterized by an onomatopoeic name: BOOM!
Launching supersonic airlines between Europe and America and between Europe and Asia will favour new tourism development areas, reducing time and costs.
We will go from New York to London within the day and come back home for a dinner with friends…
The new lines and cost and time reductions allow different tourist flows involving all European locations.
The last note, from the trends in tourism recognized by Euromonitor, regards the increase of services offered by the hotels.
Especially one struck me most, besides the obligatory Wi-Fi, the refrigerator and the safe; it was the concept of the tourist BAG-FREE, travelling without a suitcase. Interesting, isn’t it?
Right now in the US there are rooms for sale where, by specifying during booking your size, you can find a complete wardrobe of clothing fitting you. You can rent them or buy them if you feel comfortable with that shirt or the pants or that jacket.
With a little ‘courage and some wise co-marketing, this idea it can be advantageous to promote the style and Italian fashion. Come on! Who will dare to dare?