January 2018

Planning season is pretty much behind us. Of course with 78Madison working with a lot of travel and destination clients, we tend to have a more keen understanding of that segment than most. So what are some of our key predictions for 2018?

FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM are going to start phasing out.
Don’t panic, it won’t happen tomorrow. BUT, 78Madison really does believe people are starting to rethink their love affair with these two social media darlings. What once was an authentic social media platform seems to be quickly becoming a channel for blatant marketing. Where once users could dictate how and what they wanted to see from their friends, now they are told what is “relevant” for them to see and what is not. Influencers cloud “authentic” encounters, and a slew of fake news and annoying ads ad clutter. Further, research suggests Facebook and Twitter may have negative impact on mental health. Listen, while social media is not going away any time soon, we think it is ripe for a new vehicle that might be less intrusive. Let’s wait and see what happens.

These F-Factors will continue to be a leading driver of affluent travel decisions in 2018. We saw this trend begin to emerge in 2017, and believe it will take off in 2018.

People are looking to “Create Memories” as they travel. In the past, people tended to go to places that were “popular”, the place to go, but weren’t necessarily “personal”. People are planning memories more than vacations…yes, a distinct difference.

Again, this is not new…but the trend is growing and travel accounts cannot ignore it.

78Madison predicts that the trend toward secondary cities and more rural areas – like our client Gadsden County Florida – will continue in 2018. This morphs a bit into the “memories” prediction; travelers are looking for country, rural, historic, laid back, memories.

Many of us in the hotel/resort world would like to just see this go away – but it is not. Despite fierce regional legal battles and a significant setback in New York, which could set precedence around the world, Airbnb will continue to grab market share from the luxury sector. This will particularly play out as Airbnb expands its upscale portfolio and adds relevant travel products like flights, tour guides and experiences as well as concierge and housekeeping services to its offering.

A thing of the past, we think.

We believe smaller players in all areas of travel will continue to consolidate to better compete against the giants. This includes travel agents, destination management companies, wholesalers and hotel companies.

We’re thinking that price integrity will get worse before it gets better, and we feel like 2018 will potentially bring an explosion in the war between OTAs, desperate wholesalers and hotels. In fact, large tour operators are getting just as strong and aggressive as OTAs. Many are reselling to OTAs making the trail of origin even more complicated to trace – and hotels are getting fed up.

We of course could be wrong, but we’re thinking 2018 will be a year of reckoning for dominant OTAs. We predict further consolidation to counter the influence of Google and Facebook, which are stealing their marketing dollars and suffocating them with quicksand-like ad buys. OTAs are going to further align themselves with content to keep relevant eyeballs close and build their own loyalty programs.

What do you think will be the big trends in travel?

Joe Bouch
CEO, 78Madison

78Madison is a full service marketing communications firm – advertising agency – located in Orlando/ Altamonte Springs Florida.