Travel Tech Essentialist #81: Radical Open Mindedness
Remember that you're looking for the best answer, not simply the best answer that you can come up with yourself — Ray Dallio
In Travel Tech Essentialist #77, I linked to visual illustrator Alex Maese’s mood booster visuals. I am happy to announce that Alex (from Barcelona) will be making an illustration for the next few Travel Tech Essentialist newsletters, starting with this one (in #1). I hope you like Alex’s art as much as I do :-)
I will be a panelist at this McKinsey conference. If you're a startup interested in pitching, an investor in search of good startups or simply you want to listen in to what's new, you can apply / sign up at www.mckinsey.com/esic:
McKinsey & Company's 5th annual Early Stage Investor Conference (ESIC) Travel Track will take place virtually on June 23, 2022 from 12pm-2:30pm US ET. The conference’s travel track will highlight startups innovating within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries and facilitating the digital transformation of stakeholders across the travel value chain. Whether you’re leading a pre-Series B start-up and are in search of a global audience, or you’re an early-stage investor and are looking for the next promising prospect, ESIC offers a unique platform for learning, sharing, and connecting. Looking forward to seeing you all there!
Please apply / register here: www.mckinsey.com/esic
1. Listen to critics
Entrepreneurs are often encouraged to ignore critics and naysayers. There is a fine line between charging forward confidently with your vision and being open to course correct based on external input. In his book Principles, Ray Dalio defines “radical open-mindedness” as the ability to effectively explore different points of view and different possibilities without letting our ego and blind spots get in the way. It requires us to replace our attachment to being right with the joy of learning what’s true. “Sincerely believe that you might not know the best possible path and recognize that your ability to deal well with "not knowing" is more important than whatever it is you do know” — Ray Dalio.
2. OTA and Metasearch Stocks
Despegar is the only OTA whose stock price has increased since the beginning of the year. The rest are down, way down, in line with market indices.
3. Talent acquisition at Airbnb
On April 28th, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky sent out an email to all employees to announce a new policy that would enable Airbnb employees to live and work from anywhere. In the 4 days prior to the announcement, Google searches for “Airbnb jobs” were 3.3X higher than “Expedia jobs”. Since the announcement, it has climbed to 23X. Not a bad talent acquisition strategy.
4. Hotel Direct Channel Performance
The Hotels Network published a series of Insights Reports taking anonymized data from their global network of more than 14.000 hotel clients using their benchmarking platform, BenchDirect. The reports compare direct channel performance by city, country or region and cover a variety of direct channel metrics.
5. Brand loyalty up for infrequent travelers and down for frequent travelers
The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University published Shifting Loyalties: Where Has All the Love Gone?, a research report by Carolyn Corda on the changing consumer behaviour and loyalties with travel brands. The analysis of brand affinity examined both search and booking behavior over the past 3 years tapping into Adara’s unique data asset which aggregates data contributed by more than 300 consumer brands over 30 data elements on 1+ billion profiles. Summary of findings:
For the most frequent traveler segment (top 5%), the loss of brand engagement is moderate at 15%.
Falling engagement levels correspond to a combination of higher leisure travel and a preference for midscale/economy hotels.
A sub-segment of infrequent travelers have increased their brand engagement over the past two years.
6. Pearls of wisdom
Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired Magazine) turned 70 on April 28, and shared 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known on his blog. Here are a few:
Three things you need: The ability to not give up something till it works, the ability to give up something that does not work, and the trust in other people to help you distinguish between the two.
Ask funders for money, and they’ll give you advice; but ask for advice and they’ll give you money.
You’ll get 10x better results by elevating good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior
Anything you say before the word “but” does not count.
Whenever there is an argument between two sides, find the third side.
Criticize in private, praise in public.
You will be judged on how well you treat those who can do nothing for you.
7. Every company will be a fintech company
Two years ago, Angela Strange (General Partner at a16z) wrote Every Company Will Be a Fintech Company, in which she claimed that in the not-too-distant future, nearly every company will derive a significant portion of its revenue from financial services. She also wrote that every company, even those that have nothing to do with financial services, will have the opportunity to benefit from fintech for the first time. Here are a few of the many signals in the travel industry that suggest that she is on the right track:
Hopper’s ﬁntech oﬀerings now represent a majority of its revenue. Hopper has raised $380 million since March 2021.
Booking.com announced in the summer of 2021 the creation of a Fintech business unit with 400+ Fintech professionals.
More than half of Despegar’s (LatAm’s leading OTA) transactions are paid via installment payments.
Travel Fintech startups getting lots of attention from investors: Selfbook ($40 million raised since Oct 2021), Outdoorsy ($120 million in Jun 2021 to support its Roamly insurance product), Fly Now Pay Later ($90 million since May 2021), Cover Genius ($70 million in Sept 2021), Battleface ($14 million in Dec 2020).
8. Cognitive science and UX
A lot of you were very interested in two stories in the last newsletter that referred to how cognitive science and UX can be used in creating better products, experiences and companies, so I’m sharing additional content that I hope you find equally interesting. Rules of UX: Perspective of Psychology in UX Design offers 5 psychological design principles for a better user experience (the post offers visual examples for each).
Zeigarnik Effect (cognitive bias): People remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.
Fitt’s Law (heuristic): The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.
Hick’s Law (heuristic): The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.
Jakob’s Law (heuristic): Users spend most of their time on other sites. Users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.
Law of Prägnanz (gestalt): People will perceive and interpret ambiguous or complex images as the simplest form possible because it is the interpretation that requires the least cognitive effort of us.
If you want to learn more about these laws, visit Laws of UX, a collection of 21 laws and best practices that designers can consider when building user interfaces.
TravClan, an India-based startup that helps travel agents build their digital capabilities, raised $4.7 million.
Chicago-based Out of Office raised $3.5 million for its trip inspiration and planning app.
Japanese hospitality proptech startup Wayfarer raised $1 million toward its mission to become the "Amazon Web Services of hotels".
Trip.com will enhance tours, attractions and activities offerings around the world through a newly announced partnership with Redeam. Read +.
UK-based finance app Revolut announced a partnership making Allianz Partners its new global travel protection partner. Read +.
Travel Tech Essentialist job board
There are currently 231 exciting jobs posted in the Travel Essentialist job board. This job board can be a great resource whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Here are just a few of the amazing jobs seen on the board:
Sensible Weather: Program Manager (LA, Remote)
YieldPlanet: Sales Development Representative Lead (Remote)
Kombo: Traffic Manager (Paris)
Selina: Sales Director North America (Miami)
Booking.com: Director of User Research (Amsterdam)
Hopper: Data Analyst Customer Research, Growth (Miami)
Browse more open roles (or add your own open roles) at Travel Tech Essentialist Job Board
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Have a great rest of the week,