How We Travel Has Become Who We Are

After suffering something of a mass hiatus during the pandemic, the travel industry is now (thankfully) back with a bang. With new hotel openings, a flurry of

After suffering something of a mass hiatus during the pandemic, the travel industry is now (thankfully) back with a bang. With new hotel openings, a flurry of revived destinations and a summer of airports at capacity, we’re not wasting any time getting back in that saddle. But with a new passion and intention for travel and adventure, the idea of “getting away from it all” is taking on a whole new meaning. As the experiences we seek become part of a story of who we are, and those brands in the world of travel start to align with our desires, is our purpose for that annual vacation or city exploration the same as it once was? And what is this new wave of travel brands offering us? 

Due to our fortuitous position on this sunny Mediterranean island, we as an agency have always been exposed to the trends, waves and evolution of travel and tourism, on our island, continent and far beyond. The rise and fall of locations, inclinations, and modes of travel, and the highs and lows that brings with it for communities and countries. And as our collective consciousness across many industries is being raised and adapting, we see that travel brands today need to go far deeper than ever before to connect with their audiences, and bring the people what they want.

Where we once experienced travel as the ultimate luxury, then welcomed the all-in-one package deal, and more recently the inexpensive, frequent hops and an unsatiated appetite for that millennial prerequisite for perspective, we are now entering a new era of cognizance, mindfulness and thoughtfulness when it comes to our travel experiences. Experience being the operative word. 

We’re slowing down, taking it in, understanding our impact, and expecting more - from the brand, from the design, from the curation, collaborations, and from the reflection of the type of life and lifestyle it promises us. As with everything, the destinations and hotels we choose, how we get there, and what we share, says a lot about who we are. So those values, the things we appreciate, the style and taste we express, better match up.

This did not happen overnight, we have Airbnb to thank for our initial steps into the experiential, promising us a new world of localised encounters. It reflected who we were as people, what we stood for, what we wanted to get out of travelling, and where the reality in 2023 has left gaping holes of disappointment in its wake, new brands and hotels are picking up the slack.

Boutique experiences oblige us a sense of the chic, groups like Beaumier give a whole new context to laid back luxury - where the cool factor takes precedence. We want Panama hats and locally-made baskets for our use in our rooms, tote bags that say “this is me”, cocktail kits in the not-so-mini bar so we can flex our new age palate for an in-room drink, a branded lens cleaner so everyone knows where we’ve stayed, creative details that surprise and delight, that are shareable and enviable. And this is just one part of the new experience.

Our propensity for remote work means we’re looking for an “office for the day” with that unique view wherever we go. Not so bad right? We can work from anywhere, why not Tulum? Brands like Zoku have built that into their core, where other more traditional holiday-orientated destinations create an opportunity to dip in and dip out. But it’s all part of the experiential package. That brings flexibility and a new vision.

When it comes to the new collective mindset sustainability is of course at the fore. The decision to travel itself is met with a new level of consciousness. How we reduce our impact matters, and how brands commit to that with authenticity is a new sell. 1Hotels brings that love for the planet into everything they do, and every way they communicate, where a sense of exclusivity and nature collide.  This love for the planet extends into a new found love for ourselves, our soul, and our wellbeing. We’re not satisfied with a regular hotel spa treatment, we want to be taken care of, from the inside out. From what we consume, literally from what we eat, to what our senses absorb, to how we nourish our mind and body, and concepts like F Zeen and Six Senses are catering to this. To go with that we’re seeking out a personalised experience that goes hand-in-hand with this new era of intention, and a vision that speaks to this evolved concept of travel. 

Hotels are no longer just hotels. They are memories. They are the past and the future. They are sentiments. Sensibilities. Scarabeo Camp is an Arabian nights fantasy and a new expression of sophistication. The Belmond Venice Simplon Orient Express is a piece of literary history. Every unique property that is adopted is something you never have and never will experience again. These are things we want to be part of. These are things that reflect the make up of who we are. 

In this new era brands need to express so much more - they are statements through colour, editing, crafting and creating. With every image that has the potential to go viral, and every influencer encounter that creates a sensation. World destinations now have their own prescribed aesthetic - Mykonos, Marrakech, the Hamptons - they’re not just places, they’re analogies for an artful conception, a motif, an allegory of interior design, as we seek to bring every part of that experience home. And into our lives. 

For travel brands it means we need to look beyond the tangible offerings we conceive, and create a world that reflects your brand, what you stand for, what you want to express, and matches with the desires, needs and aspirations of your visitors. This is not just for luxury, this is for every level of the industry and market where we have the opportunity to employ creativity, thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and the true meaning of branding. This is what sets you apart. 

Katie Tsouros is a Creative Copywriter at BRND WGN. She spends her time understanding brands, and helping them tell stories to fall in love with.