Sustainability, ethics, and the intelligent businesses of the future – it’s with no surprise that these were some of the prominent themes at FITUR 2020, the first encounter of the year for international travel professionals. The most important event for the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American market, Fitur celebrated its 40th edition, welcoming over 255,000 visitors from 165 countries, and setting the pace for the major travel conferences due this year.
In case you missed it, here are our key takeaways from the learning sessions at FITURTECHY:
Sustainability has been a major topic in travel for quite some time, discussed extensively throughout the years and still dominating the agenda at Fitur as well. Although businesses have recognized the importance of shifting focus from exponential growth to sustainable, long-term growth, there’s still a long road ahead.
Crucially, it is the rise in awareness amongst travellers that is expected to push the travel industry forward. Surveys show that 60% of travellers nowadays worry about the environmental impact of their travelling, while 60% of consumers confirm that they would increase their spending to buy an environmentally ethical brand.
Sustainability policies aim to have a positive impact on the environment, local communities and economic development, which places destination management organizations and governments in the frontline of implementing changes as much as travel businesses. The Amsterdam model to fighting overtourism, Kyoto’s authorities banning photos in the geisha district and Portugal’s 2027 Tourism strategy are all examples of paving the way for sustainability in tourism. Sustainable strategies are expected to attract new investment too, as 89% of investors admit seeking “green insurance.”
Empowered by technology, travellers are a driving force for innovation in hospitality. According to founder and CEO of LeadClic Solutions, Manuel García Lozano, the traveller of the digital era does not differentiate between the sales, marketing or customer service departments of a travel company. Instead, they perceive a unique vision of the brand and expect businesses to act in accordance.
FITUR was the stage where ITH and IZO presented the results of their annual survey on hotel technology implementation and use in Spain. The study highlights the different perception that hoteliers have on necessary technology solutions compared to their guests’ perception. The top priority for guests for the second year running is a fast Wi-Fi connection available within all hotel facilities, followed by environmentally-friendly tech and smart hotel devices. Additionally, 44.5% of travellers say that they’d pay more to stay in a tech-enabled and innovative accommodation.
Hotels, on the other hand, value technologies and software that add value to the guest experience, such as smart TVs, CRM, and comfort management.
In terms of online distribution and OTAs, while eyes are on the big four: Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, and Google, it’s important not to undermine the impact of GDS bookings, that are growing year after year, as well as the rise of B2B models.
What trends will define the business model of companies in the travel industry? The CEO at INNSAI strategic consulting Jesús Navarro presented at FITUR these 6 macro trends that will transform the business strategies of travel companies.
Linda Pashaj is a Content Marketing Specialist at Cloudbeds, the all-in-one hospitality management suite for properties of all sizes. Her previous experience includes running the operations of a small short-term rental agency in Barcelona, as well as content management for a vacation rental software. She is passionate about travel tech, digital marketing and creative writing.