Last Wednesday 6th July, Ogilvy Labs hosted its Future Travel Lab Day in the Amphitheatre. With speakers and exhibitors from across the travel and tourism sectors, many insights were shared throughout the day as presentations were given to clients and people from across the Ogilvy Group. Here are our top takeaways from the event:

1. Your brand story must be authentic

Paul Archer, Managing Director of Duel and Guinness World Record holder for the longest ever journey by taxi, explained that a brand needs a story built on experiences. Having travelled around the world in a taxi, generating a huge amount of press from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, he explained that if he had gone with the intention of becoming famous he would have failed. He set off on his journey to have fun with a friend and this snowballed into fame, setting the foundation for his future business, a crowdsourcing content site, simply by chance.

2. Engage your target market by making experiences bespoke

Chad Cribbins, CEO of Firef.ly, a personalised travel guide, emphasised that it’s no longer enough to offer people experiences. Instead, businesses must tailor their offer to the consumer to create brand loyalty and stand out from their competitors. The more tailored the offer, the more appealing it is to the target audience.

3. The future is sharing

The sharing economy has been growing for seven years now, according to Benita Matofska, founder of non-for-profit organisation The People Who Share, and is estimated to be worth £15 billion already. Using Airbnb and Uber as examples, Benita said that those who have succeeded most in the sharing economy are also in the travel and tourism sectors. It is predicted that the sharing economy will become 20 times bigger in the next decade and Benita pointed out that businesses who can work with this community are set to profit most from this expansion.

4. If tailoring experiences is the door to success then data is the key

1.4 billion passengers use London transport every year and each day those people are providing TfL with vast quantities of data. Jason Da Ponte, Innovation Manager for TfL, reiterated Chad Cribbins’ view of bespoke experiences but emphasised that the best way to fulfil this goal is with detailed data analyses. There are millions of iBeacons on the TfL network which record temperatures, timings, voice volumes and countless other factors in order to analyse the quality of each passenger’s journey. TfL can use this system to make infrastructural changes to create better experiences for its customers.

5. We will only continue to travel if our destinations are still enjoyable

With an ever-growing population, Rachel Armstrong, a sustainability innovator and frequent TED talker, explained that it is more important than ever that we try to find ways of helping our environment to accommodate this growth. In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments, such as plastic bags, straws and soda bottles, are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day. Rachel believes that the solution to this lies in creating hybrids of algae and plastics to help biodegradation as well as creating materials with the properties of living organisms. Her underlying message was that in the future there won’t be a travel or tourism industry if we continue to destroy the environment around us.

6. People value experiences over possessions now

Marshall Manson, CEO of Ogilvy PR UK, and Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, agreed that people would rather pay for an experience rather than a product these days. For example, a trip to Machu Picchu is seen as exotic and adventurous whereas buying a car is simply seen as the norm. With this in mind, it’s clear to see why people who tailor experiences in the sharing economy will profit more than those who do not offer personalised, cheaper alternatives.