Travel trends are making the market more intriguing than a TV series, with a new generation of actors ready to rise to the fore and outclass the older generation.
Let’s do a recap of the last episodes aired in recent years.
It happened that the online bookings for hotels and airline tickets have exceeded those made in agency, it happened that many search engines have been created to help travelers to select the best offers from the hundreds of companies and existing hotels and then it happened which in 2007 it was opened Airbnb.com.
The story about Airbnb is the classic dream of every startupper, of those guys who from their room in the apartment shared or garage at home parents take out a company that worth billions. Their story, that of the three founders is so, but that you can discover it elsewhere, now we must talk about the market.
Yes, the market, because if the stories behind every great company are interesting, well, the stories that lie ahead for the future are as much interesting; and these stories are stories of market trends all to understand.
In fact, starting from the last few months was shaping a new line of thought among investors around the world, the idea that the super start-up assessments are no longer sustainable from the financial market because they are not incurred from the real market.
Simply put, startups, thanks to the financial investment, growing at a rate that the real market, in many ways still not fully recovered from the crisis, can not endure.
Companies make communication and have valuable products, but the real market, dictated not only by numbers, but also by habits hard to extinguish and human anxieties, does not react with the same speed, so do not buy products as you would expect.
In fact, just think that the 48 technology companies, backed by stories of financing from venture capital that have gone public offering in 2014, 35 are now traded below the initial public offering price and in Q4 there were only 9 Unicorn compared to 23 in Q3 of 2015.
Whereas of newspapers and news programs that make their audience on the bad news and there are already too many, we have the pleasure of telling positive stories and see the change with positivity.
With this in mind an ideal subject is precisely Airbnb, which opens us also the speech on the market of traveling in general.
The travel market is a market dominated by big players and has undergone major changes of trend in recent years. The main change was about the experience that the traveler began to ask.
In fact, after years in which the hotels, especially those of the same hotel chain, that were all the same in every part of the world, have began to differentiate, even within the same chains, each hotel to match as closely as possible to the mood of place in which it is inserted, so as to be the most truthful possible.
So we are passed from chains of hotels all the same despite that they were in Berlin rather than in Austin, to the explosion of hotel chains such as Four Seasons or Mandarin which have Hotels around the world, all with high levels of service, but all different from each other, in line with the place where they offer their hospitality.
This trend was also crucial for another type of market expansion, that one of the B&B, Bed and Breakfast. In fact, in the 90s and before, it never heard speak about B&B, a few persons did not even know what it was. Instead, thanks to the trend mentioned above and to the Internet, resulting in the possibility of self-promotion, even these have had great succes.
And it is between Internet and the trend of the demand for a true hospitality, tied to the real sentiment of the place that finds its fortune Airbnb.com; and we’re not talking about a little story, but one of the few startups that is marking record numbers.
Think that in 2013 Airbnb.com revenue was approximately USD 250 million and in 2015 a figure of around 900. It means that it had in two-year growth of 360%. Not bad I’d say.
That said it is still considered a startup, it still closes at a loss of around 150 million in 2015, dictated by the costs for market acquisition.
According to the company will be 2020, the year in which the company will become profitable, with revenues that will reach 10 billion US dollars, with an Ebidta of 3 billion.
Airbnb.com will definitely take a big slice of the traveling market, to the detriment of other competitors, chief among them may be Priceline, now the largest group of offer in the traveling market, currently estimated 63 billion US dollars.
But one to which we will have to watch is the trend that will dictate Airbnb.com, or rather, what is already supporting, because this desire shown by the market, the real market, should take the attention also of hotel groups which are still offering experiences of “Hotel of a chain”.
In fact, the brand of Airbnb.com aims precisely to the authenticity of the experience. As you enter the site there is no written nothing else than “Welcome home”, stressing that you will spend the night at the home of a person truly of the place, a local, feeling a real experience.
This is what tells us the market, the traveler wants to make real experiences, which are available to everyone or super luxury.
Thanks to this trend and greater ease in sharing spaces of the millennials generation, today Airbnb has arrived to be worth 25 billion US dollars, about twice Expedia.
The value of this trend does not end here, especially for those who looks far. In fact, those who invest in Airbnb went even beyond 2020, the year in which it will become profitable. In fact, if we make a comparison with an international giant of the Hotellerie we understand that the value of “online” in the assessment of companies pushes more than those “classic.” Marriot International, the largest hotel group in the world, which manages more than 4,087 properties in 80 countries, with a 2014 turnover of 13.8 billion US dollars, is valued 21 billion, about 4 in less than Airbnb which currently not reaches one billion of turnover.
But it is not only the “online factor” to dress the overlord clothes in the market, indeed Expedia, that does its business online and already generates 6.5 billion in revenues, with an EBITDA of 1.1, it is not evaluated as Airbnb. Why? Because the projected growth rates in 2015 to Airbnb have marked + 90% compared to + 17% of Expedia; this instead is a value dictated by the power of the share economy.
Inside all this talk about trend that goes to the authenticity of the trip comes a loud voice a new actor who surely will have its say in the traveling market, we are talking about Secret Escape. Secret Escape actually has little to do with the discourse on the authenticity of the trip, but it has a lot to do with Millennials.
In fact, Millennials are a numerically huge generation with a correspondingly large overall spending power, but contrarily of the period in which they were born, that is, between the 80s and the beginning of 2000, in which the economy galloped, the period they had (we had, even I am a Millennial) to move from adolescence to adulthood has been distorted by the economic crisis and recession. This for Millennials meant a stop for the future development that they had setted, but on the other hand has also pushed to real innovations in all spheres of life, especially in the technological one.
That said, Secret Escape fits perfectly to the attention of that Millennial who would like to try the luxurious Hotel, just like he dreamed that he would of course done in his adult life when he was a boy, and instead he has seen the economic crisis faced, with an unemployment rates youth huge.
With the very strong discounts that can realize Secret Escapes and the related improvement in the overall economy, now a very big slice of Millennials can afford to book a trip by staying in one of the fantastic hotels that can be found available on the app.
Secret Escape travels right on the sentiment of the reappropriation of the future (which has since become the past) glorious that they wanted to live, Millennials and not. We refer more to the millennials because they are more practical and wont to buy something even relatively expensive through an app on your phone.
This feeling of re-appropriation of the glorious past, updated and technologically contemporary, is a feeling to be reckoned with. Indeed Secret Escape, created in 2010, has collected 60 million dollars in the last fund raising last year, fund raising led by Google Ventures and Octopus Investments. In this round there were also Index Ventures and Atlas Venture which were already inside the investment in Secret Escape.
By investments that we see in the branch of traveling, we understand that the trends with greater strength are certainly three. One, that is also true for many other sectors, is that of sharing, so strong that someone calls this economy the “share economy”.
More specific on the traveling industry, which however has much in common also with the food industry, it is the trend that sees people looking for the authenticity of the place, the authenticity of the journey, from where they sleeps to what they eat.
Finally, a trend that has so far had less boost, but if the economy will see a strong recovery could be one of the trends creators of major turnover in the coming years, in the traveling industry and others, is the trend of the re-appropriation of the glorious future/past of the Millennials.
I do not know if we have to thank the crisis for all these new scenarios, but it is certain that by now it has happened and to tell the truth I do not think that our future will be bad, indeed, it is likely that the near future will be explosive, not only for travel.
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