The Future of Travel in Japan and Asia

Early in June I had the good fortune of attending my first travel conference: WiT Japan & North Asia 2015 held by the organization Web in Travel. The overall theme of the event was “a new dawn rises”, so I'm sure you are wondering, what exactly does that mean? Well, it definitely means that some big changes are happening that will bring about some cool trends along the way.
Taking a look at the WIT 2015 audience might give you an initial idea of this “new dawn”: The attendees and speakers were representatives from major Japanese online travel agencies on the one hand and startups and  travel related online/mobile platforms and apps.
They are all interested in the same thing: What will the future of travel look like, what do travelers actually want, and how can we make that possible?
Here are my three main take-aways from WIT 2015:
1. The Travel world is mobile
With smartphones, tablets and portable Wi-Fi in everyone's pocket nowadays many people have leapfrogged over websites entirely and are going directly from analog (travel books) to mobile. With applications offering logins with social media network accounts, searching, buying and sharing is all happening in one go from the same platform. For travel related companies that means offering a mobile app is absolutely necessary to keep on top of the game, for users it makes planning a trip much more convenient.
2. Sharing is caring
On social media platforms we share our daily activities, events and even our latest workout session with friends and strangers alike. This kind of community mindset is translating into the offline world and people have even started sharing spaces and experiences. Mobile and online platforms like airbnb, Uber and meetup are revolutionizing the way we travel and engage with others on the way.
3. Experiences over possessions
Yes, it's great to stay at a nice hotel, go shopping at the famous mall down the street and have an easy meal at the restaurant right next door. But the new traveler wants something bigger: to experience the city, the country, the people! They'd rather go to the little quirky cafe a couple of blocks off the main road or spend a little more on travel costs and less on accommodation, but in turn have a more authentic insight into the place they're visiting. The Asian travel market is picking up on this and major online travel agencies as well as new startups like us here at ODIGO are beginning to offer services that allow tourists to feel less like a tourist and more like a local.
A big shift is happening in the world right now, societies and long-established behavior patterns are changing and making great things possible. The “new dawn” is created by passionate, adventurous people all over the world and I am excited to be a part of it!
Want to know more about Jenny and her favorite spots in Japan? Click the link below!

Jennifer Weiss