August 22, 2013

Talk of Peer Power and FOMO at LA Tourism Forum

Posted by: in North America

On Monday, we wrote about digitally empowered travelers, based on last week’s Los Angeles Tourism’s Market Outlook Forum. The forum also touched on Peer Power, one of our 10 Trends for 2013. Given that Los Angeles hotels are at 80 percent capacity on an average night, according to Ernie Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism, the area represents a huge opportunity for peer-to-peer lodging platforms like Airbnb. Wooden said the largest hotel in L.A. is “someone’s couch,” and while most of those are hosting friends and family, the P2P marketplace is expanding tourists’ circle of friends to include vetted hosts via services like Couchsurfing.

Meanwhile, the phenomenon of social media-propelled FOMO (fear of missing out) presents a huge opportunity for travel and leisure brands to create easily shareable experiences that will drive demand among social networks. Wendy Kheel, VP of tourism insights at Los Angeles Tourism, urged travel organizations to “be innovative in creating memorable moments.” Hashtags and social integration are just the tip of the iceberg for peer-driven tourism.

While input from friends and relatives is still the top planning resource used by travelers before arrival, according to Kheel’s survey of Los Angeles visitors, in close second is information gathered on mobile devices. Post-arrival, mobile becomes the No. 1 resource, with a third of visitors relying on it, versus a fifth who consult with friends and relatives. Tools that allow travelers to easily access those opinions, and also harness wider sources (like Atlas Obscura and Google’s Field Trip app), are at the intersection of the two most used planning resources. 

Image credit: Atlas Obscura

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