Travel & Hospitality

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

News 19.04.2023

Need to Know

Mini presents canine digital family member Spike, Netflix Spain mixes marketing and fashion upcycling and why Chinese youth are turning to temple tourism.

Mini unveils new four-legged digital assistant

Spike by Mini, Germany

China – Mini has unveiled its new intelligent personal assistant at the Auto Shanghai international trade fair. A digital English bulldog called Spike, the assistant will be accessible via the cockpit of the five-door Mini Concept Aceman.

The bulldog, with its compact and powerful stature, reflects British heritage and the characterful Mini brand, which has long been associated with Britishness. Although Spike is not new – Mini introduced him in 2001 – his new digital version further strengthens the brand’s connection with drivers’ individual style. More importantly, it offers a more emotive interface with the car as consumers become ever more comfortable with using bots and avatars as interfaces.

The introduction and upgrade of digital features in the auto sector comes at a time when cars are increasingly drawing on virtual platforms, extended reality and even cryptocurrency to create immersive and entertaining in-vehicle experiences, as revealed in our Auto Entertainment report.

Strategic opportunity

Optimising digital frontiers to make vehicles more fun and interactive can attract younger auto consumers – and also help to build more emotive relationships with consumers.

Netflix Spain turns promotional vinyl billboard into free handbags for fans

By Georgina by Netflix, Spain By Georgina by Netflix, Spain
By Georgina by Netflix, Spain By Georgina by Netflix, Spain

Spain – A colossal vinyl billboard displayed on Madrid’s main street and promoting season two of Netflix’s reality show I Am Georgina will soon be transformed into designer handbags and gifted to fans of the show. The streaming platform found inspiration in a similar activation from Target, which joined forces with designer Anna Sui in 2009 to turn its Times Square billboards into 1,600 limited-edition tote bags.

To win one of the unique bags, viewers had to spread the word on season two’s release by sharing a billboard photo on social media by 31 March. Not only is Netflix showing a solid commitment to upcycling its goods in the public eye, but the platform is also enhancing the promotion of the show’s new series on social media for free. Georgina Rodríguez’s fans competed for the prize while interacting with Netflix Spain and answering its call to action rather than passively scrolling.

In Feedback Frontiers, we previously analysed how brands are treating every micro-interaction as a valuable opportunity to lean in, learn and improve their model as communications with consumers become more circular and conversational.

Strategic opportunity

Retain your consumers’ attention with innovative calls to action that are in tune with their values and interests – and make them feel part of a community

Saint Laurent Productions brings the luxury megabrand on the big screen

France ­– Luxury houses often dabble in culture, whether it is by renovating monuments or curating branded exhibitions. Now the sector is entering cinema with the launch of Saint Laurent Productions, a subsidiary dedicated to producing fully fledged movies. The first two Saint Laurent short films will premiere during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023: Strange Way of Life, written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, and a second work yet to be revealed.

While fashion houses have been known to fund films or dress actors, the Kering-owned brand goes one step further by producing the movies from A to Z, involving creative director Anthony Vaccarello in the process and even placing his name on movie posters. Saint Laurent’s signature aesthetic will be palpable in the films, but the brand clarified that it will not be making fashion films, but stand-alone movies intended to be viewed in cinemas or on streaming platforms like any regular movie.

At LS:N Global, we highlighted the importance of building up emotion and creativity into a brand universe, and Saint Laurent’s new venture speaks volumes about the growing role of luxury megabrands as cultural compasses.

Saint Laurent presents Strange Way of Life by Pedro Almodóvar, France

Strategic opportunity

Luxury brands can capitalise on their cultural cachet. Saint Laurent-produced films are an example of that – a savvy business move that will propel the house’s aesthetic further into the mainstream by bringing it to life in movie sets

Stat: Chinese Millennials and Gen Z boost local temple tourism en masse

Lost & Found, Airbnb, China Lost & Found, Airbnb, China

China – A March 2023 study released by Chinese travel platform Ctrip states that one in two temple visitors have been Millennials or Gen Z since February 2023. This wave of younger consumers turning to temples went hand in hand with a surge in guests overall of 310% since the beginning of 2023 year on year. This is in a country with a median age of 38, and where half of the population are either Millennials or younger, according to the UN.

Although some youngsters enjoy the peace of the spiritual place, where they pray and burn incense, others queue before temples to access adjacent stores and buy coveted blessed bead bracelets. The latter are a hit on social media; over 30,000 posts included the keywords Yonghe Palace bracelets on Xiaohongshu in 2023, according to Jing Daily. The jewellery pieces are only available on weekdays and in real life, pushing consumers to visit the temples and skip school – to purchase them.

In Alternative Spirituality, we previously looked at how spirituality and folk religion are gaining cult online followings, allowing Gen Z to regain control in a global climate of disorder and disharmony. LS:N Global will soon publish updated insights on the opportunities presented by modern mysticisms and introduce the innovators taking spirituality to new frontiers.

Strategic opportunity

Although Gen Z are the least religious demographic, they are open to a new kind of spirituality that embraces wellbeing and blessed merchandise. How can your business adopt this softer approach to religion to understand Gen Z consumers better?

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