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At the end of the day, it’s all about hospitality, but the vacation rental industry faces unique challenges in delivering on that promise. Technology will be key to providing an elevated guest experience across this fragmented market.
Hotel owners have their hands full with choosing the appropriate operating model, ensuring their properties are being run efficiently and effectively, and remaining innovative and thoughtful. Doing all of this in an increasingly complex environment can be challenging. Some will need the major brand chains' help, some won't.
Optimizing a fragmented and traditionally offline model is obviously going to take time. However, we expect key players in the tours and activities space to increasingly try new strategies not only to increase scale, access to distribution, and consumer reach, but also to enhance in-destination experiences for travelers and locals alike.
The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, with brands shifting to asset light and consolidating, soft brands and non-branded operators growing steadily, and the distribution landscape becoming increasingly competitive. Nevertheless, hotel owners stand to gain if they focus on acquiring and developing the right real estate, choosing the appropriate franchisors, managers, and partners, running their properties efficiently and effectively, remaining innovative and thoughtful, and maintaining that ever-needed hospitality factor.
This was a record year of funding for travel startups. It's exciting for travel to be in the spotlight, but it also means that founders and their VC backers see a field full of market openings, oftentimes at the expense of established incumbents. Travel leaders need to keep tabs on what is driving the latest opportunities.
WeChat, China’s most popular app, has infiltrated the daily lives of its nearly one billion monthly active users. The popularity and penetration of the app in the country makes it an attractive platform for global travel brands looking to unlock the China market. Without a thoughtful WeChat strategy, however, this is easier said than done.
A record amount of venture capital was invested in travel startups in 2017 driven by unicorns, like Airbnb, emerging technologies, expansion outside of core geographies, and traction in new verticals. The industry is no stranger to disruption, but we may be seeing some of the greatest changes of the last two decades, and we expect this momentum to continue into 2018.
Believe it or not, these are still early days for Google in travel. Without question, the company will continue to grow its multi-billion dollar advertising business by securing stronger direct relationships with both the supplier and the traveler.
There is room for optimism heading into 2018 for the global travel industry with numerous indicators pointing to a solid year of macroeconomic growth.
There is room for optimism heading into 2018 for the global travel industry. Emerging and developing markets are showing healthy signs of growth, and global consumer and business confidence is high. Policy uncertainty and geopolitical tensions can’t be ignored, but outside of any major shock, we expect travel to benefit from a solid year of macroeconomic growth in 2018.
If you're reading this, then you already know that blockchain is the disruptive technology behind bitcoin, with applications reaching beyond banking and finance. You also know that Blockchain has various potential applications in travel. Online distribution is a unique case and a potential fit, due to the decentralized nature of blockchain platforms. But its success will ultimately depend on proactive adoption and willingness to break away from traditional digital frameworks and configurations. Our channel checks suggest that their is in fact a case for the technology. However, proponents will need to move fast to create compelling use cases that can deliver attractive cost savings, and/or better customer experience than what's currently out there.