4 -min. read

After some high energy games involving ping-pong balls, giant inflatables and rubber tubes; some seriously impressive beatboxing; and dunking our Event Director in the pool, we collected our collective under the main stage tent at this year’s Ministry of Ideas to kick things off with Big Ideas. We invited five speakers to take the stage for three minutes and 45 seconds to tell us about a Big Idea they think might just change the future of travel – and from fitness communities to pop-up talent schools, they didn’t disappoint. Here’s the lowdown on our five Big Ideas for 2017…

Want to KO OTAs? Learn to harness the power of social media to drive direct bookings
Eric Shepard – Founder, Trill

Eric Shepard

“Travel is the new bottle service for millennials: it’s all about capturing that Instagrammable moment”

Eric explained how today’s social media-obsessed generation are all about sharing experiences online – and for such a social savvy group, we need a social travel agent to disrupt the way users discover and book travel experiences. Eric’s idea for a TAKE OFF platform offers a way for influencers and everyday travellers to monetise their content by pulling geotags and public Facebook and Instagram posts to showcase potential itineraries, providing targeted trade experiences based on trending destinations and specific likes and interests. Worried about OTAs? Here’s your chance to take them down by going native when it comes to direct bookings…

Millennials aren’t just after one thing – so here’s what you need to do to inspire them
Pavia Rosati – Founder / CEO, Fathom 

Pavia Rosati

“For millennials, contradictions are not a conflict: contradictions are the norm”

Tired of talking about millennials? Pavia explained how often, brands are getting them all wrong by grouping them together. Instead, Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) and You Only Live Once (YOLO) are the contradictory extremes that sum up millennial attitudes about travel. Millennials range from late-stage teenagers to young parents, so when we make the too-common mistake of lumping them into one bucket, we lose. They have different needs at different phases, and are fluid about their habits, desires, and preferences at all times. It’s time to stop thinking that all millennials want one thing and instead, for hotels to know what they represent so their clients can find them.

Forget the hotel gym – it’s time to dream bigger when it comes to today’s wellness-obsessed travellers
Erik Jafari – Co-Founder / Creator, Locke Hotels

Erik Jafari

“Social media has been promising connection, and yet we’ve never been lonelier”

Erik took us back in time to highlight that although in many ways we are highly evolved creatures, we still have the same core needs as Homo Sapiens did 20,000 years ago: we rely on community to survive. When it comes to wellness and/or fitness, hotels are missing a critical opportunity to respond to this need for community. Enter a member’s club-style ecosystem with a focus on community-based wellness and fitness, where public spaces are owned and run by local best-of-breed operators. Erik proposes a haven of co-working space, restaurants, bars, organic grocers, fitness studios and hotel where residents can stay as long as they like and plug into a community of individuals who share their values.

Addressing the gap between emerging economies and unskilled workers through pop-up hospitality schools
Harsha Chanrai – Founder / CEO, SAIRA Hospitality

Harsha Chanrai

“Through community and education, we can reduce turnover rate – one of the largest and costliest challenges we face as an industry”

According to Harsha, when launching in a new destination hotel brands have historically discovered a lack of well-trained local applicants, resorting to poaching existing staff or recruiting from abroad. SAIRA disrupts these traditional routes of finding employees through bespoke pop-up hotel schools that give applicants the necessary skills and training for these positions. SAIRA partners with hotel brands for funding to train locals and create loyal, passionate and ambitious employees to work at luxury and lifestyle hotels. Meanwhile, the hotel partner is perceived positively by the community and creates a strong impact pre-opening by investing in their futures, sponsoring education and creating career opportunities.

Getting in bed with today’s generation of nomadic travellers via disruptive short-stay membership models
Janine Yorio – CEO, StayAwhile

Janine Yorio

“We don’t want to travel any more – we want to live somewhere else”

Janine explained that digital nomads have been living nomadically around the world for several years and have recently been the focus of some travel startups. StayAwhile makes a multi-city lifestyle comfortable and sophisticated by designing for people who move around between several cities rather than committing to living in one place. Shana Sigmond, former head of design for WeWork and on the team that designed Ace Hotel, designed the StayAwhile apartments, which are furnished with midcentury, vintage and modern furnishings. They are also connected by technology, making it easy and seamless to move between locations.


Tim Snell

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