In 2022, the ITB travel trade show was held for the second time digitally and without visitors. From 08 – 10 March, politicians, digital and travel experts discussed partly live at Messe Berlin, partly online. Despite the pandemic and the Ukraine war, everyone is looking positively towards the future and preparing for a comeback of the travel industry.
The following topics in particular were on everyone’s lips: workation, flexibility, digitalization.
Trend towards workation
More and more people are opting for workation. Flexible working conditions and the ability to work from anywhere you like, are driving many travelers to book an extended stay in a vacation accommodation and work remotely from there. According to Patrick Andrae, CEO of HomeToGo, this development is just the beginning and will bring many new potential guests to the market.
But it’s not only employers that have become more flexible, so have the search options on Airbnb. According to Kathrin Anselm, General Manager DACH, CEE & Russia at Airbnb, guests can now search not only specifically for accommodations in a certain region, but according to parameters such as “bright apartment,” “apartment in the south,” etc., and several months in advance. This is the company’s response to the changing needs of its community.
Automation and digitization
In addition to the increasing need for flexibility, the digitalization and automation of the travel industry represent an important trend, especially for Axel Hefer, CEO of Trivago. While online portals have been on the rise for years, developments during the pandemic are now leading to the need to further automate manual activities. For the travel industry this means, for example, online check-in or smart locks. These trends became a necessity during the pandemic due to hygiene measures. However, as many people who lost their jobs in the travel industry, left for other employment in 2020 and 2021, there is a shortage of employees in tourism now. This gap is expected to be mitigated by automating small manual tasks.
Outlook: How FeWo landlords can use the Metaverse
The outlook from Jan Starcke, Travel Industry Lead at Meta (formerly: Facebook) was also inspiring. Even though Mark Zuckerberg’s first glimpses into the Metaverse last year did not convince everyone, Starcke points out that we are only at the beginning of a development here. The new virtual worlds will not be “switched on” overnight, but will develop gradually. So there is plenty of time for hosts to think about how they want to use the new technology for themselves. One possibility, for example, would be a virtual tour of your vacation home.
We at Smoobu are not surprised by the developments towards workation, flexibility, digitalization. We have already reported on the trend towards workation and the need for flexible booking conditions in our blog. In addition, we have been focusing for years on the automation of smaller processes, such as sending booking confirmations as part of guest communication or the paperless online check-in. As a host, this not only ensures that you don’t forget anything, but also saves you precious time.