20 January 2020 07:22

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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When we ring in this new year, we’ll also be welcoming a new decade. It’s a time to not only place bets for the years ahead, but for a retrospective to show how far our industry has come. Since 2010, industry conversations and predictions have been diverse: with views on the economy, different types of travel and new technologies being heavily debated. With a new year and decade ahead, we’ve got some predictions of our own – ones that will remove friction for travelers and bring perhaps some more surprises.

The Obvious Bets

Generational and Geo-economic Shifts

While the “OK Boomer” meme may be a bit extreme, it does illustrate a widening gap among the ages – unique perspectives, interests and values define the generations, changing the face of travel and how travel providers are expected to engage with each.

According to Expedia Group Media Solutions research, younger travelers crave unique experiences and adventure, fully embracing the #YOLO mentality. And now here comes Generation Alpha. The good news for the year ahead: they’re being born to Millennial parents, who aren’t slowing down when it comes to travel. The challenge: They may be young, they may be small, but they are mighty and pack a lot of punch when it comes to influencing family travel decisions.

In a decade, members of Gen A – which is expected to be the most formally educated and wealthiest generation – will be turning 20 years old. In college and/or working, they’ll be making their own travel decisions as they blaze their own way around the world. Expect them to crave a fully digital, frictionless travel experience – exploring new destinations via their home virtual reality sets as they shop for their next trip, bringing loved ones along through augmented reality, advanced bots that instantly serve up one-click bookable travel itineraries that are personalized from where they’ll stay down to where they’ll eat. It’s a safe bet that this generation will be well-traveled, in both the physical and virtual sense.

In the new year, many areas of the world may remain unpredictable due to various factors, such as trade wars or political election climates. Despite any uncertainties impacting travel in the year, the rising middle class globally, and specifically in places like Africa, means people are getting better, and more, access to good wages. And what seems painfully obvious, but we’ll say it anyways, better wages equal more people traveling and powering consumption for years to come.

The Mildly Interesting Bets

The Changing Face of Work

While the 9-5 desk job may still be a norm for many, it’s increasingly becoming less of an occurrence for employees. As companies invest more resources into employees’ well-being and provide more flexible travel and ‘work from anywhere’ policies, employee satisfaction and productivity are getting a boost, increasing happiness and freedom in their personal lives. In the years ahead, people will have more time, and perhaps money, based on provided benefits such as childcare, to be used for things like travel.

However, the art of business travel will never go away, in fact, it will become more important as companies grow and look to carve out a competitive advantage. A company’s travel policy reflects its culture and commitment to its people, becoming a core offering that attracts talent.

Let’s look ahead at the possibilities of connected travel between work and play. Your office closure or your planned time off is reflected on your calendar. Through AI, a personalized trip can be predicted, and you’re notified. “You have PTO coming up, time to book a trip?” “Do you want to extend your business trip next month to London for a family vacation?” And, with a click of ‘yes’, you’re on your way to a personalized itinerary based on your needs and preferences.

Diversity in Accommodations

Business travel to bleisure (extending a business trip for leisure), family travel to those traveling for healthcare – all factors driving diversification in accommodations. With travel demand on Vrbo for houseboats, yachts, RVs and Airstreams up 30% year-over-year, the next wave of unique accommodations has arrived. Diversification is important, as travelers should always have the choice in what bests fit their travel needs, though chain and independent hotels will remain a critical piece of the ecosystem.

By applying AI, companies can predict what consumers will buy based on personal buying patterns, and shopping for accommodations is no different. Imagine a booking experience that automatically recommends a specific hotel property based on your previous booking patterns from your past solo trips. We’re only scratching the surface of what we can do to deliver more personalized experiences, and faster than ever before.

The Outlandishly Bold Bets

Redefining the Airport Experience

It’s the age of the swing traveler – people who prioritize better fares and airport amenities, like shorter security lines and better dining options, even if it means passing on a (much) shorter drive to the local airport in their town or city. As such, to capture these travelers, airports in the coming years will increasingly reevaluate their offerings – variety of travel routes, parking options, local cuisine, shopping, etc. – ultimately redefining the airport experience.

Purchasing Hyper-Personalized Experiences

As airports become destinations, they’ll also benefit from increasing personalization through amenities, similar to their hotel counterparts. In the next decade, it’s possible that travelers will purchase add-ons via mobile apps based on their preference and pocketbooks, like VIP entry through special security lines, transportation from the curb to the gate, packaged meals provided before boarding, in-flight curated content, in-flight WiFi, and pre-arranged transportation from the airport. Many of these services are available today but need to be purchased separately. Bringing them together on one platform would bring value to both the traveler and the supplier.

Hyper-personalization doesn’t end at the airport. Even though amenities are long-standing perks of the hotel experience, they are also ready for re-invention. Travel profiles will soon contain details to make hotels truly a home away from home, by including things like Netflix login details to have your shows ready to watch upon entry to your hotel room, the temperature that you like your room, or food and beverage options ready when you arrive.

Taking Risks

The growth of the global travel industry, one of the largest industries, is accelerating at a rapid pace, creating huge opportunities for everyone delivering amazing experiences for travelers.

And remember those surprises?

Collaboration is the key to making those moments happen, as is a little bit of risk. A collaborative approach remains a top commitment to our travel suppliers, as is putting our own capital on the line for researching, developing and testing technology so they don’t have to. In 2019 we invested over $1.7 billion in technology and content, and while we won’t even begin to speculate what that number will grow to in the future, what we do know is that this makes the years, and decade, ahead a lot less risky for all our travel suppliers, delivering greater opportunities for shared growth.


Written by Abhijit Pal, Head of Research, Travel Partners Group, Expedia Group

Credit Suisse publishes study on the prospects for the Swiss retail sector

Credit Suisse published the annual "Retail Outlook" study in collaboration with the consulting firm Fuhrer & Hotz. Nominal sales in the Swiss retail sector stagnated in 2019, while weaknesses in the global manufacturing industry and a strong Swiss franc are likely to hamper dynamic growth in 2020 as well. However, population growth in Switzerland and a slight rise in purchasing power, which will be boosted by the unusually low increase in health insurance premiums for the coming year, should support nominal retail sales and help them to grow slightly. Retail Outlook 2020 shows which tenants will subsequently take over empty premises caused by structural change, and presents "flexible retail," a concept that could help the retail sector.

An analysis by Credit Suisse economists shows that nominal sales in the Swiss retail sector stagnated in 2019. Purchasing power remained at roughly the same level as in the previous year. Only population growth supported the stationary retail trade in 2019 against growing competition from online trade and the increased attractiveness of shopping tourism. The apparel and footwear segment continued to suffer from structural change and was responsible for the slight overall decline (-0.3%) in the non-food segment. Food and near-food, by contrast, recorded a slight increase in sales compared to the previous year (0.5%).

Structural change contributes to the reduction of quality of stay

Along with stationary retail sales, the structural change has also affected real estate providers, who are feeling the effects of falling demand for sales outlets. In addition, towns and villages are facing vacant retail premises in their centers. A vicious circle looms, in which vacancies and declining supply density lead to declining visits, existing retail outlets face a drop in sales, and vacant space is even more difficult to rent out. Ultimately, fewer stationary shops and vacant space lead to a reduction in the quality of stay in the town centers affected.

Sales areas become more flexible and pop-ups gain momentum

In order to counteract this, there is a growing trend toward changing how space is used. Only 20% of the retail space advertised for mixed use is rented out again to retailers. Instead, restaurants, but also hairdressers, beauty salons, and office users move in. According to Credit Suisse economists, flexible and innovative forms of retail space could attract more retailers in the future. In recent years, the advertising of flexible sales areas has more than doubled. The expert survey conducted by Fuhrer & Hotz also identified a desire on the demand side to make Swiss retail space more flexible in terms of rental conditions, infrastructure, and other criteria such as the legal framework for adjusting the permitted opening hours. Pop-up concepts are a form of flexible rental conditions. They are used to test new business concepts under real and time-limited sales conditions, to expand point-of-sale marketing, and to bridge the gap between two rental agreements. However, according to the survey and an analysis of advertised sales areas, the potential of pop-ups lies primarily in locations with high customer frequency. In this respect, they are not regarded as a panacea against structural change in the retail sector.

Digital in-store media for smooth and checkout-free shopping

In addition to real estate providers, retailers must also demonstrate flexibility. For stationary providers, digitalization at the point-of-sale is a central issue. The focus here is on the payment process in particular. While self-service checkouts are taken for granted by consumers and experts alike, Fuhrer & Hotz's Omni Channel survey shows that other digital in-store communication formats that should be aligned with the customer's journey also have potential. Since generation Y and Z consumers are significantly more interested in new self-service technology options than baby boomers, retailers are likely to intensify their efforts to try new formats.

Outlook 2020: Population growth and purchasing power as drivers

According to economists, weaknesses in the global manufacturing industry and a strong Swiss franc are likely to hamper dynamic growth in 2020. However, population growth in Switzerland (forecast: 0.9%) and a slight rise in purchasing power, favored by the unusually low increase in health insurance premiums, should support nominal retail sales and help them to grow slightly (forecast: 0.4%). This assessment is largely in line with the assessment of the companies surveyed by Fuhrer & Hotz: 70% expect a largely moderate increase in sales in 2020, which is mainly attributable to the expected positive development of online sales.

EFFIE Awards India 2020 raises a toast to best-in-class brands & campaign stories

The Advertising Club India hosted the latest edition of the coveted “EFFIE AWARDS INDIA 2020” presented by COLORS. Announced at a celebratory event at Taj Lands’ End, Mumbai, the awards that have become a benchmark of effectiveness and breakthrough brand and media strategies saw the entire media and advertising fraternity be a part of the event. Hindustan Unilever Limited & Star India Pvt Ltd were adjudged joint winners as EFFIE Client of the Year, while McCann Worldgroup India & Ogilvy Group were named EFFIE India Agency of the Year. The coveted Grand EFFIE was won by the EightyTwo Point Five Communications Pvt. Ltd. for the Bisleri Packaged Drinking Water – “Samajhdar Jante hai”.

Speaking about winning at the coveted EFFIEs, Partho Dasgupta, President of The Advertising Club said “I would first like to congratulate all the winners of the awards. Winning an EFFIE has always been a matter of great pride for every marketer and each of the winners are truly deserving of this recognition. EFFIE India Awards 2020 continues to be the highest honor in innovation and effectiveness and with this award we continue to be committed towards recognizing and rewarding thought leadership showcased by brands and advertisers.”

Elaborating on the awards Mr. Mitrajit Bhattacharya, Chairperson, EFFIEs said, “Like every year, this year to we saw some of the best and game changing work being entered for the awards. The superior quality of work has led to the marquee award categories like i.e. Client of the Year and the Agency of the Year for the first time in the history of the EFFIE’s being won by not one by two winners each.” He further added, “We are sure that the continuous evolution of the awards to reflect the changing media landscape by adding new and relevant categories will ensure that the awards continue to stay relevant and highly coveted.”

The move will expand S4Capital’s content expertise and strengthen its presence in eight locations across the Americas, as well as add a new office in Spain.

S4Capital plc (SFOR.L), the new age/new era digital advertising and marketing services company, announced that its global content practice, built around MediaMonks, has agreed to merge with the fully integrated digital agency Circus Marketing ("Circus").

In Latin America, the move follows last year’s merger of MightyHive, S 4Capital’s programmatic practice, with Brazil-based consulting firm ProgMedia to further enhance its programmatic capabilities.

With Circus on board, S4Capital will further strengthen its content expertise and position in the LatAm region through the addition of projected revenues of $38 million and gross profit of $20 million in 2019 (up 21% and 25% respectively on 2018) and 350 professionals, working collaboratively as one team across eight locations in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Los Angeles in the United States and into Spain for the first time.

Formed in 2005 and headquartered in Mexico City, Circus is a purely digital agency that creates content strategies and high impact campaigns for the world’s top new economy brands. It counts Netflix, Spotify, Google, Facebook, Uber and others among the clients on its A-list roster.

Furthermore, Circus is ranked #26 in Adweek’s fastest growing agencies 2019 list, along with MediaMonks and Firewood, and has been awarded Agency of the Year 2019 and 2020 by IAB Mixx Mexico. A video featuring Circus is available here. Consideration will be just over half in cash and the remainder in S4Capital Ordinary Shares, with
customary lock-ups. The cash portion of the consideration will be funded largely by the overaise in connection with the equity issue financing MediaMonks’ merger with Firewood in October 2019.

Valuation multiples are consistent with the Company’s usual metrics of approximately 1-2X revenue and 5-10X EBITDA, including contingent consideration.

Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman S 4Capital: “Bruno Lambertini, Ignacio Liaudat and Luis Alonso and their colleagues at Circus share our vision of focusing on purely digital content, unencumbered by analogue baggage. Circus also embraces our data-driven holy trinity model and embodies faster, better, cheaper or speed, quality and value. They are buying into our unitary model, combining seamlessly with our content and programmatic practices.”

Bruno Lambertini, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Circus: “Our culture is defined by diversity and the varied expertise of our team, and I am confident this merger will enrich our community even more, enabling us to bring our unique point-of-view on creativity to the world. We believe in ‘emotions driven by data’ and by bringing our talents, expertise and networks into the S4Capital family, we’re building a solid framework for the new era of advertising.”

Wesley ter Haar, Founder MediaMonks: “Beginning the new year with a curtain raiser, Circus joining MediaMonks and the S4Capital team is something I'm immensely proud of. We’re excited to welcome three amazing entrepreneurs, Bruno, Ignacio and Luis, into the S4Capital fold. We’re also looking forward to expanding our focus and footprint in Latin America and beyond, with 350 of the best creatives and content developers for modern brands in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world, with a client list to prove it. Having a group of self-proclaimed misfits like Circus join the family proves once again that we’re building the biggest and best tent in the industry for talent. We should have skipped the holidays and started 2020 before year-end!

Fever 104FM has received an award instituted by the central government for creating awareness on yoga and promoting its practice in an innovative way.

The award, Antarashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman (ADMS 2019), attracted over 150 entries from all major media houses across the country. Fever FM, bagged the award in the category of electronic media (Hindi) for its International Yoga Day programming under the umbrella of the #BharatPositive Initiative. The initiative received the accolade for the innovative way in which the radio medium was used to create awareness and promote the practice of Yoga by none other than Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

On Tuesday, the award was presented to Harshad Jain, Chief Executive Officer, Radio & Entertainment, HT Media Ltd. & Next Mediaworks Ltd, by Prakash Javadekar, the Union Information & Broadcasting Minister. Commenting on the achievement Harshad Jain said, “We feel extremely proud and honoured to be the only private radio station to win this coveted award. At Fever, our philosophy has always been to use the power of radio to bring about a positive and impactful change in the society. Bharat Positive campaign has been a game changer for us and such accolades are a validation for our efforts and motivate us to continue our work across such initiatives in the most innovative and entertaining manner.”

Also present at the event were Shripad Naik, the Union Minister of State (independent charge) in the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and other senior officials from the ministry.

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