TBWA’s Backslash releases travel report in latest ‘Future Of’ series

With the travel industry experiencing major disruption for the past two years, TBWA Worldwide’s Backslash, TBWA’s cultural intelligence unit, has released the ‘Future of Travel’ report in its ‘Future Of’ series, outlining what it found to be the “must-watch” categories in travel and travel marketing.

In an online seminar with Backslash discussing one of the key areas of the report, named The Great Redemption, Intrepid Group CEO James Thorton named climate change as “potentially an even worse disaster than COVID” for the travel industry.

Thorton continued: “There is no vaccine for climate change. So, if we don’t take care of the planet that we live in and take care of the unique environments that we sell and protect local communities, then there just won’t be a travel industry for us to sell.

“Customers have to take action in terms of where they’re choosing to spend their money and research really carefully. Businesses have to take action in terms of making sure that their experiences are sustainable and communities, they need to continue to take actions and make sure that they’re actually supporting companies that are truly bringing benefit into their local area. It’s not going to be one or the other.”

TBWA Sydney strategy director, and Backslash lead, Matt Moran said: “The United Nations recently identified Australia as one of the top five Climate Change Vulnerable Hotspots for the global tourism industry. Since the pandemic’s pause on travel, we’ve seen what’s possible when nature has a chance to restore itself.

“We’ve seen the rise of Responsible Restrictions that help us preserve the places we love while limiting the impact of travellers. From destinations setting visitation limits, to implementing lotteries and reservation systems for over-visited destinations. As one of our Australia’s most valuable industries, taking an active role in promoting sustainable and responsible travel behaviours is a way travel brands can move to protect our environment and the industry.”

The Great Redemption is one of four areas covered by Backslash’s report on the future of travel, the other three titled: Anchlorless Living, Travel’s Turn Inward and Destination Unknown.

The Great Redemption section of the report found a trend towards more responsible travel, with local concerns to be addressed as well as a more sustainable approach. The report also recommended that companies overcommunicate to their customers for any inconvenience.

TBWA Worldwide’s chief strategy officer Agathe Guerrier said: “The pandemic upended business and leisure travel as we knew it, and time away from travel showed us that we were ready for a reset. While travel volumes are likely to remain depressed for a while, there are many new opportunities for brands to add value in the category. As often, the businesses that play a role in shaping the future will be the ones to secure their place in it.”

Backslash’s director of cultural strategy Cecelia Girr added: “Travel is at an inflection point. For decades we’ve enjoyed limitless travel without much guilt, but we’re finally realizing that mass tourism comes with consequences. So while we may be booking fewer trips in the future, the trips we do take will be more intentional. And because of that we’ll see businesses start to shift their focus from high volume to high value, which is a really hopeful turnaround.”

In the report Anchorless Living examines remote work as a new form of business travel, Travel’s Turn Inward explores travel itineraries focused on the mind and body, and Destination Unknown looks at a trend towards taking the path less travelled, particularly the hedonistic.

The report is the result of months-long research with 44 Culture Spotters contributing from 26 of TBWA’s offices.

Backslash’s previous in the series was the ‘Future of Retail’ report, released in June this year.


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