Travel & Hospitality

Market shifts, microtrends and expert opinions that signal significant change for global travel and hospitality companies and consumers

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01 : 09 : 21

An art exhibition questions how we use our senses, Airbnb responds to the Afghanistan crisis and Baby Boomers offer an entertainment opportunity.

Fintropolis teaches financial literacy in the metaverse

Fintropolis by Ally and Minecraft

US – With many young people accustomed to metaverse platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft, new game Fintropolis is recreating real-world financial scenarios in pixels to help boost money literacy and planning among future generations.

Created by online bank Ally, the game can be explored via Minecraft, with characters that guide players through activities, from understanding cash flow and budgeting to learning about stocks and shares investing, how taxes work and how to buy a home.

Targeting middle school children and their teachers, Fintropolis serves to prepare Generation Alpha for financially healthy lives. Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally, explains: ‘Fintropolis has the potential to give millions of students the knowledge and confidence needed to make better money decisions, which can affect their lives in profound ways.’

While the wider metaverse has become a youth hub in which the future of socialising, entertainment and creativity is already in play, Ally is showing how metaverse platforms can serve a deeper purpose by educating and upskilling audiences, and preparing them for independence.

Strategic opportunity

Game play often exists in fantasy worlds, but brands can also use it as a valuable tool for teaching the public about more mundane practices or processes, providing life-long skills or awareness

This accessible exhibition encourages touch and smell

The Blind Spot at Utrecht Central Museum The Blind Spot at Utrecht Central Museum
The Blind Spot at Utrecht Central Museum The Blind Spot at Utrecht Central Museum

Amsterdam – Utrecht Central Museum has unveiled The Blind Spot, a 4D exhibition that makes art more accessible for the visually impaired. The exhibit adds extra dimensions – such as sound and smell – to recreate famous paintings, allowing both visually impaired and sighted visitors to experience art in a more sensorial way.

While touch is typically restricted in exhibitions, the Dutch museum encourages people to feel their way around the paintings. In addition to being guided by an audio tour, sighted visitors are encouraged to wear a blindfold, allowing them to forgo their sight completely and activate their non-visual and lesser-used senses.

While scent has previously been explored by curators as a way to immerse people in arts and culture, the exhibition demonstrates how touch and sound can be used to make art more accessible, as well as stimulating people's senses.

Strategic opportunity

Our visual-first world is overwhelming for today’s consumers. Stop relying on visual cues and instead tap into the enlightening power of sound, smell and touch when it comes to retail experiences

Airbnb opens its homes to Afghan refugees

Global – The home-sharing platform has committed to providing 20,000 Afghan refugees with free temporary housing in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country. With thousands of people from Afghanistan currently displaced, Airbnb is using its assets for social good by turning its global network of housing into safe spaces.

Airbnb is allowing its community of hosts to open their homes up to refugees for free, paying the hosts for the cost of the stays. The initiative is made possible through the brand’s independent non-profit Airbnb.org, which invites donors to make contributions to its new Refugee Fund. Airbnb has a history of providing temporary accommodation relief at times of need, and its network of homes makes it well equipped ‘to respond to one of the most significant humanitarian crises of our time’, explains co-founder Joe Gebbia.

By responding urgently, Airbnb has demonstrated how Civic Brands in the travel and hospitality sector can repurpose their spaces at a time when displacement is rife.

Airbnb Airbnb

Strategic opportunity

Prepare for potential future catastrophes. Take stock of your assets – from physical spaces to employees – and consider how these can be donated to a social cause in times of global upheaval

Stat: Baby Boomers prove valuable for streaming services

Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition by Xiaomi, Beijing Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition by Xiaomi, Beijing

According to Deloitte’s latest Digital Consumer Trends research in the UK, Baby Boomers are proving to be a lucrative audience for streaming and video-on-demand (SVOD) services, with 57% of research respondents aged 65–75 now having a login to a video streaming subscription, up from 36% in 2020.

Furthermore, Deloitte notes that while 15% of overall research respondents have cancelled a video streaming service in the past year, the 65–75 age group are half as likely on average to have cancelled their subscription, making them a valuable audience for SVOD and wider subscription platforms.

According to Helen Rees, a director in Deloitte’s technology, media and telecommunications practice: ‘[Those] aged over 65should be a clear focus for streaming platforms in the year ahead as they look to set themselves apart in a crowded market. Platforms that invest in quality content and stories that strike a chord with older audiences will reap the rewards.

Indeed, all sectors are being challenged to better cater for and market to Boomer audiences something Alternative Ageing blogger Suzi Grant discusses further in this interview.

Strategic opportunity

Use market research and focus groups to better understand the mindsets and attitudes of older audiences. Many Baby Boomers came of age in the 1970s – an era of activism and rebellion – so what type of content might therefore appeal?

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