Instagram is the new Google for travel startups

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Hello from Skift. It’s Friday, June 3 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

Rashaad Jordan

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains what’s driving tourism right now, how Instagram is the new Google and why KLM’s outgoing CEO is optimistic about post-pandemic tourism.

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Episode Notes

As travelers hit the road in droves this year to make up for lost time during the pandemic, they do so with new priorities. Yet Lebawit editor Lily Girma reports that the travel industry isn’t developing a more sustainable model for meeting travelers in their new mindset.

A new traveler sentiment report from social media marketing agency Sparkloft Media reveals that novelty, purpose and connection are top traveler goals. This shift, Girma writes, means travelers are prioritizing their passions and hobbies over a specific country when deciding where to visit. The report also aligns with recent data that consumers are spending more money on experiences than on physical items and are looking more for sustainable hosting options.

The growing number of digital nomads is an important development in the travel industry, and Girma writes that the booming market for digital nomads is prompting countries – especially low- to middle-income countries – to strengthen their infrastructure and services. . But she adds that there are bigger concerns that the travel industry doesn’t discuss, one of them being how will destinations deal with the impact of unattached people on communities around the world. ‘welcome.

Then investors and startups think they’ve found the next Google when it comes to travel sales. But what is it? They’re turning to Instagram to drive bookings, writes Travel Tech editor Tim Mullaney.

Tripscout, a Chicago-based startup that raised $10 million in venture capital, is one such company. It sells hotel rooms through a private Instagram feed that users can access to get otherwise unadvertised room rates. Tripscout CEO Konrad Waliszewski said having 30 million followers on its more than 100 Instagram feeds opened up a new channel for the company, which launched an Instagram-based travel agency on Thursday. Users can access the discounts – which are available at thousands of hotels through partnerships with Hotelbeds and HotelPlanner – by sending a “hotel” message to one of Tripscout’s Instagram accounts.

Curacity is another startup that is turning to Instagram to sell travel. The company, which organizes discounts for Instagram influencers who post about travel, uses data about specific audiences from content creators to match them with hotels trying to reach certain demographics. Curacity takes a 10% commission on bookings it can prove it has generated, a figure well below the norm of major online travel agencies.

Finally, airline industry executives have predicted for the past two years that hubs would struggle to resume large-scale travel, believing that travelers would prefer to fly point-to-point. But KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said the death knell for hubs was prematurewrites Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Elbers, who will leave KLM on July 1 to be the next CEO of Indian airline IndiGo, admitted that the pandemic had virtually paralyzed the Dutch carrier for a few weeks in April 2020. But he said KLM had largely maintained its network in square. , with Amsterdam – and its airline – serving as the only connection for some city pairs. These flights have allowed KLM and its Amsterdam hub to stay connected to its passengers, and the carrier has restored between 80 and 90% of its pre-Covid destinations.