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15 Jan Kite Trends Report – Issue 1

As we ring in the New Year and settle back to our desks, we thought we’d look at the year ahead and sum up some of our favourite and most intriguing industry trends to inspire and possibly even surprise you with our very first Kite Trend Report.

From ‘Healthy Hotels’ to the evolution of brand journalism, it’s definitely going to be an interesting year ahead.

Enjoy, and please let us know what you think!

VIRTUAL REALITY

With backing from Facebook, Google and Samsung who are all creating features and products to support virtual reality (VR) combined with the hotly anticipated release of VR device Oculus Rift set for early 2016, this techie trend satisfies our desire for experiences and immediate data.

Experience industries, and industries that centre around big purchase decisions, such as travel, real estate and automotive will especially benefit from VR.  Marriott Hotels have recently incorporated VR as part of their offering through the launch of ‘VRoom Service’ – a guest service that allows guests to order VR experiences to their rooms – and ‘V Postcards’ – a travel content platform full of immersive travel stories that customers experience with a VR headset and headphones, in an effort to transport them to the destination.

INSTAGRAM STORIES

In Australia, five million people are active Instagram users. Many brands are using the platform as a mini publication to create ‘Instastories’ – a combination of journalism and visual content. National Geographic for example leverages their writers and photographers to upload beautiful imagery with captivating stories and facts collated from their travels.

This subtly encourages longer levels of engagement on a medium that is typically for shorter attention spans and ‘just browsing’ through captivating imagery. In addition, this also offers the opportunity to make use of real travellers and influencers (e.g. those in the NT in real time) and tailor their content.

* Social Media News December 2015

HEALTH IN HOSPITALITY

From juice cleanses, to all natural ingredients, to fitness trackers and everything in between, keeping healthy and fit is no longer driven by an end goal, it’s a reflection of how our lifestyles have shifted.

So much so is this trend that the travel industry has coined a term called ‘Sportspitality’ – hotels are no longer just treating their gyms as a standard add on. US gym chain Equinox announced in August that they will open a chain of dedicated ’Healthy Hotels’ – the first being a flagship in NYC that completely caters the hotel experience for fitness junkies, complete with a 60,000 square foot gym and healthy eating options for guests, recognising an increasing desire for travellers and business travellers to keep up their routine when away.

With prominent fitness brands increasingly seeing the need to cater to business and leisure travellers– LA spin-class institution SoulCycle are also on the bandwagon, setting up a permanent base at Miami’s 1Hotel – we’re interested to see how this trend will evolve even further and the implications on other travel services.

CONSUMER VIDEO DEVICES

With technology becoming more sophisticated by the minute, consumer recording devices are becoming cheaper, smarter and allowing consumers to produce better quality videos instantly.

While GoPro has been popular since its launch in 2002 and is synonymous with adrenalin and adventure, we’ve also seen Polaroid launch its 35mm Cube camera, while Ricoh have recently launched a camera that enables consumers to create 360 HD content in an instant, meaning that consumers will now be able to create more premium quality video content with the intention to share, which is something brands can leverage more.

BRAND OWNED JOURNALISM AND CONTENT

While branded content is indeed nothing new, in 2016 we will see this evolve into more sophisticated brand journalism.. This also consequently means that brands will focus on reaching smaller numbers through highly targeted and niche messaging. The key to successful content is authenticity.  For example, adventure apparel brand Patagonia, who are renown for their commitment to the environment, publish content about conservation and wildlife preservation on their blog, The Cleanest Line. While the blog is accessible on Patagonia’s website, it’s a completely separate venture from the brand, and taps into a niche topic that resonates with their audience without pushing the brand too overtly.

CONSCIOUS TRAVEL

Many studies have shown that Millennnials are highly conscientious and empathetic and when it comes to travel, meaningful experiences take supreme over indulgence.

So much so that we are seeing a complete shift in the type of experiences that Millennials choose to partake in, which is driven by the desire to make a difference. Networks such as Helpx and Workaway allow longer-term travellers to help out in local communities in exchange for things like free accommodation and meals, encouraging more sustainable travelling experiences.

An example from the cruise industry, Carnival’s new cruise brand will depart for the first ever volunteer cruise into the Dominican Republic, where travellers can combine sun and sand with teaching English and helping local communities, instead of the traditional booze fuelled Spring Break. The key for brands will be incorporating and, committing to, socially conscious travel into the entire travel experience to make it easy and shareable for this connected audience.