What’s in store for next year? Tourism predictions for 2012…

What’s going to happen in 2012?

They’ve been saying it was the year of mobile for a decade; social media is well and truly entrenched, so what’s new?

What changes do we predict might be normal by next Christmas?
To find out, Fossick’s Genevieve Atkinson decided to ask a few movers and shakers what they predict for the coming year.

James Hacon; Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur in Tourism & Hospitality

Growth of Last Minute Bookings
When coupling the lowering of rates on ‘distressed inventory’ and the ease for travellers to book when on the road with mobile technology, I believe we will see further increases in last minute bookings. In fact with many of the largest OTA’s not supporting destination marketing and the continued undercutting of long-lead trade generated sales, I would suggest that as an industry we are actively encouraging our guests to leave booking their accommodation until the last minute. So don’t be surprised when you see an increase of walk-ins and a decrease in forward bookings.

Back to good old fashioned values
In a society where so many of us are constantly plugged in to technology, so much of our communication is through email and all too often we are just another number. I believe that we will start to see a further turn towards people wanting ‘real experiences,’ personalised service and attention. I believe the time is done for customers who are forced to choose between price and quality, our customers are expecting good service regardless of the price they pay!

Boycotting of establishments not offering free Wi-Fi
This is more of a hope that a prediction. I know many of my friends are no longer staying in hotels or frequenting cafes that don’t offer free Wi-Fi. Let’s hope those charging exorbitant prices for internet bring themselves into the 21st Century and realise that charging for internet is like charging to have a television or telephone in your room!

The growth of Google+ and slow in growth for Facebook
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but my friends don’t seem to be nearly as active as they once were on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not predicting the downfall of Facebook – in fact I think it will continue to have market dominance. I would however be on the watch out for Google+ that has been slowly creeping up in popularity and infiltrating our email accounts one friend at a time. With people being more selective as to which social platforms they spend their time, they will also become more selective on who they will be engaging with. We’ll see smart companies, that understand social media is all about relationships and being social, continue to see great results, with companies seeing it as another PR platform fail dismally.

Veronica Nobbs;  Founder  Get a room – same day hotel bookings.

The growth of location-based services within the activity space.
Like many other sectors the activity industry continues to struggle. Yes coupon sites do provide another channel, however location based last-second ‘deals’ will prove to be more sustainable.

Smaller players getting better at social media
Smaller travel players looking to place smarter strategies around their use of social media, looking to add value to their customers as opposed to simply pushing advertising to them. A great deal of business still do social media terribly, and many in 2012 will look to reevaluate their approach.

Rise of booking travel on the go
Consumer behaviour within the travel space will continue to change with the continued rise of booking travel on the go, with the likes of Hotels.com and Expedia already experiencing notable growth in the mobile space. As a result more and more companies will seek to enter the space as well as established players introducing additional products.

Tony Marks;  Chairman Rotorua Tourism

Year of the Chinese Travel
Looking back from say 2016, 2012 will be seen as the year when the Chinese dominance of inbound tourism to Australia and New Zealand really started. Businesses will either have to adapt rapidly or see their market share of all inbound decline precipitously. Alternatively, we will have the rise of businesses who will unashamedly focus on the dwindling but yield positive USA or European travel

The growth of personal travel managers will accelerate
While some will operate from travel agencies, most will set up independent businesses and use an affiliated agency buying power. They will cater for an aging market prepared to do some research but really wanting someone who genuinely cares about their travel needs. The key issue will be getting sufficiently close to your customer to be able to not ask them the cliched ” where do you want to go ” but to supply great answers to the more critical ” why do you want to go ” ?

Airlines will become even more focused on ancillary revenue
They will continue to be vertically integrated , web based and seek to wrap up as much of the holiday dollar as possible – bit like the old charter operations in the UK. Being squeezed on a $ 2300 fare to London or a $ 200 fare across the ditch will be increasingly unattractive.

Michelle Ackers; New Zealand Tourism Industry Blog

2012 Will Follow Similar Trends as 2010/11

In general I think 2012 will see some keys trends for the NZ tourism industry continue, namely:

  • Strengthening of the China and India inbound markets to New Zealand due to the increased marketing presence in these markets by Tourism New Zealand and various airlines’ commitment to increased flight schedules
  • Continuing decreases from UK/Europe travellers visiting New Zealand. We can blame the state of their economies which are still in dire straits with exchange rates not in their favour for travel outside of their borders; increased British departure tax; and possible changes to the Air New Zealand flights from London…
  • Continued growth of the cruise ship market for visitors to New Zealand. Cruise ship packages are cleverly marketed offering value for money in tough times. People love the inclusive food offer and the ease of planning a cruise holiday. Australians in particular are lapping this up – evens kiwis are jumping onboard in Sydney or Auckland to enjoy short cruise breaks.
  • Slow forward bookings. This is still a problem for most tourism businesses, airlines, wholesalers, inbound tour operators and agents…people are just waiting to book anything until closer to their travel dates, making it a nervous wait until peak season hits.

Online Mobile Marketing in Tourism will Hit its Straps
Large tourism organizations have already become adept and clever with the use of mobile technology – smart phones, apps, social media etc but I think 2012 will see more of this coming from smaller businesses and organizations as they become accustomed to the technology and how to use it effectively.

Genevieve Atkinson;  Founder of Fossick. The locals guide to where to stay in Australia, NZ & the South Pacific.

Reviews will cross the divide into normal not new
For many properties reviews are still annoying, like smart phones or social networks, but as the social networks have crossed the line this year. I think the need and desire for guest reviews will cross the line in 2012.

The rise of permission advertising
We have permission marketing, but I think the advertising industry needs to be disrupted. Group buying sites were the tip of ice-berg and highlight the issue the most businesses today are struggling for consumer attention. My predication is that we have attention around the wrong way and we will see the beginning of self -selected advertising.

QR codes getting massive
Everyone else will say mobile will be huge, but my predication is that QR codes will help bypass the need for apps for everything and create ways for consumers to quickly engage with websites. However the websites needs to be more mobile friendly.

Disagree, have your own predication? please leave a comment.

One Comment

  1. Motella December 24, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Great round-up Gen.

    I’ve added a few predictions for 2012 of my own:

    http://motella.blogspot.com/2011/12/motella-2012-predictions.html

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