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Understanding Trends for Strategic Opportunity

What is a trend? According to Wikipedia, "A trend is an assumed development in the future that will have a long-term and lasting effect on and change something." Trends in an industry like tourism usually have far-reaching outcomes. Think about the impact of eco-travel,

which was once a little esoteric niche, is now an integral part of the tourism industry. Things like nutrition have a significant impact on tourism. How many hotels have responded to this with healthy offerings? The trends are endless. The question is, which ones create an opportunity for your organization.

Distinguishing Between a Mega, Macro, and a Micro Trend.

Trends come in all shapes and sizes, literally, but they are most often analyzed in three categories: mega, macro, and micro trends.

1. Megatrends: Megatrends are long-term developments over several decades that have a significant and lasting effect on all areas of society and the economy worldwide. The five megatrends currently shaping society include the following:[1]

· A shift in economic power

· Demographic shifts

· Accelerating urbanization

· Rise of technology

· Climate change and resource scarcity

These megatrends are shaping society and, within that, the tourism industry. Understanding these broad trends provides a backdrop in viewing what is happening today and what might happen in the future.

2. Macrotrends As Stan Mack of Demand Media says, "A macro trend is a large-scale, sustained shift…" Where people live, what jobs they take, their modes of transportation, whether they save for retirement, whether they seek higher levels of education are all trends.

3. Microtrends: Microtrends are always based on a broader megatrend and are much smaller in impact and length of time. Often micro trends are driven by social media.

A DMO can ask several essential questions with regards to trends, including the following:

ü What impact do trends have on the tourism industry and your organization?

ü What impact do trends have on a organization operating environment (e. g. customers, legislators)?

ü What significant changes will there be?

ü What does this mean for your organization?

How to Process Trends

To obtain structured results from trends, a DMO needs a systematic approach to identify and understand how they can impact their organization and organization. This approach includes the following steps:

· Collection of Information- Collection of different trend information from a variety of sources.

· Thematic clustering of trends- This includes the combining and grouping of trends-based themes.

· Assessment of trends: Relevance for your organization or DMO, the scope of impact, time (short-to-medium-term).

· Prioritizing trends- In a way that can be most opportunistic to the DMO/Organization and integrating them into your strategy.

The findings from trend research are critical for current and future resource allocation decisions. This paper has completed the first two steps, collected the information, and created clusters around those themes.

Integrating the Organizations Future Strategy Through Trend Research

Being aware of trends impacting the tourism industry and the future direction of these trends flow into a DMO/Organizations competitive strategy. It focuses resources on innovation and opportunity. The innovation strategy is built on trend research and future information that is also relevant for the development of the organization's strategy itself. Trend research is important for all DMO decisions, not only for innovation but also because all decisions always have to do with the future. It is also important to distribute trend information widely throughout the industry and initiate a discussion about it and create an advantage.

Trends indicate change. Your organization must take advantage of opportunities or become less relevant.

  • Stay connected to current trends, or

  • Evaluate the impact that current trends will have on your organization/organization, as well as what you will do to react to those trends.

Leveraging Trends for Your DMO/Organization

· Develop an advantage by gaining insight directly from consumers.

· Identify early opportunities and take advantage of them.

· Learn to anticipate change and see it in an opportunistic framework.

· Develop scenarios to deal with future challenges and take advantage of potential opportunities.

A Final Note on Trends

  1. When looking through trends, challenge yourself to look beyond the fads and latest crazes to see longer-lasting trends that can create an opportunity for your organization.

  2. Look for the patterns of change. Put micro-trends together and see if they indicate a more significant trend on the horizon that can apply to your organization.

  3. Proactively design your strategy and marketing efforts to take advantage of trends. Design your organization with a mindset that allows it to evolve with change fluidly.

[1] Pwc.

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