When you think about traditional travel, you might either think of your favorite airline and where they fly or you would think about the destination city, say Rome. All that is changing based on new travel startups which are making us rethink where we even want to go and what we might have to pay. Even though we are moving through a pandemic, the travel industry is poised to rebound stronger than ever. According to Statista.com, globally, travel and tourism’s direct contribution to GDP was approximately $2.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019. That is an amazingly large industry to disrupt, even in emerging niches like finding cheap flights and destination travel based on your budget
I recently sat down with the founders of two startups looking to do just that. Brian Kidwell, the co-founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights and Al Simon, the co-founder of Elude agreed to give me their insights on just how travel might change in in the future. Based on our conversations, here are six insights they provided.
Community unbundling: More industry-specific and niche online communities will be created that serve customers outside of the big social media giants of today. Companies like Facebook are trying to serve every single person on the planet, which opens an opportunity for other companies to focus on serving a very specific set of customers extremely well. Like travel.
Customers as owners: Due to the new crowdfunding regulations and platforms such as Republic and Wefunder, there will be an increase in companies that align incentives with their customers by crowdfunding part of their investment rounds from new and existing customers. You just might want to invest in a company where you use the travel service.
Domestic travel preference: A preference for domestic travel due to Covid-19 will see this trend continue for at least the next couple of years. Every country’s government is taking a different approach to allowing visitors for tourist purposes. This is making logistics for domestic travel, worldwide, much simpler leading to more domestic beach vacations and visits to outdoor locations like national parks.
Need for increased personalization: A personalized travel booking experience will allow users to achieve their ideal vacation with ease. Today, people might spend countless hours scrolling for trip inspiration, searching, opening tabs, and deliberating over destinations instead of traveling. People would much rather know instantly what trips are available from the nearest airport, with dates, location, and price customized specifically for their budget and timing needs.
Unique destination discovery and instant booking: The Millennial and rising Gen Z travelers will be looking for unique travel destinations that give them a great, albeit new experience. With social and digital media allowing people to experience the world’s most unique places and hidden cultural gems from their living rooms, people want the tools to get them to those destinations. When they find the right trip, they want to book the trip easily and quickly.
Increase in flexible lifestyles and remote work life: As more companies are adjusting to hybrid workplaces, workers are taking advantage of this newfound flexibility. As the world continues to open, people want to take advantage of the increase in travel opportunities and the ability to live more remote, flexible styles. That is leading to a higher frequency of trips. Gone are the days of once-a-year, 10-day vacations. Now, people are looking for more trips, shorter duration and travelling to unique experiential locations.