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  • How will people unwind in 2016?
  • How will people unwind in 2016?
    Matthew Kenwrick, Creative Commons (2012) ©
REPORT

2016 Expert Outlook on leisure

What kinds of hotel do people want to stay in? How can the craft world ‘go digital’? And will VR take over the holiday industry or will it be confined to gamers’ homes? As part of the 2016 Expert Outlook series, three industry insiders give their views on the future of leisure and tourism.

Location Global

Scope
For the leisure Expert Outlook 2016, Canvas8 speaks to tourism trend watcher Goof Lukken, the editor of Craft Focus magazine Julie Bonnar, and Henry Stuart, the CEO of Visualise.

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Goof Lukken is a lecturer for the Academy for Tourism at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, and the founder of leisure consultancy firm Vrijetijdskennis.nl.

There will be more extremes in the leisure industry next year. You have ‘glamping’ on one side, with tents that are already completely furnished and set up for you, and ‘bamping’ on the other side, which is camping in the most basic way – really wild camping in nature.

People tend to like more quiet, back-to-nature type of holiday homes like Centre Parcs or the new retreat that has opened near Disney, called Villages Nature. It is a collaboration with Pierre & Vacances, and it's themed around going back to nature – all the apartments are completely sustainable – so there won't be any Disney characters. There's a big market for people who want to be in a themed environment that they can connect with, like a farm in which they can learn where their food comes from.

People are looking for very extreme and unique accommodations, such as sleeping in a harbour, on trains, in a rescue boat, or in a themed hot air balloon room. They want to create a story, even if they're only going on a short stay trip. Supertrips has an inventory of unique places where they can stay. At the same time, there's still a market for basic stays at a farm or accommodation at a holiday home or campsite. For the future of these parks, having a good price will be all-important.

VR could transform the theme park experience based on personal preferences VR could transform the theme park experience based on personal preferences
Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons (2010) ©

Where it used to be very clear that you worked from nine to five Monday to Friday, and enjoyed your leisure time exclusively at weekends, that’s not the case anymore, with leisure and work fusing. People tend to be connected to their work even when they are on vacation, so Wi-Fi is necessary if you want to entertain young adults in the future.

Virtual reality is growing, with Europa Park becoming the first theme park to use VR in its roller coasters. So you put on the Oculus Rift, sit down in the rollercoaster and you can choose your own experience. One time you're doing a western theme, another time a medieval theme.

Brands are taking gaming concepts – which you’re used to at home – into theme parks. Through this they are able to connect to the generation that grew up with computer games. They’re using new technology in which you just make gestures, so you don't need the plastic pistol or console anymore. Legoland and Merlin Entertainments are going to use this tech.

Where it used to be very clear that you worked from nine to five Monday to Friday, and enjoyed your leisure time exclusively at weekends, that’s not the case anymore, with leisure and work fusing

People are actively seeking out new attractions and accommodation. While that used to be the task of travel guides like Lonely Planet or Michelin, online platforms are now more influential, with various niche websites helping you find those unique places.

With Sandemans New Europe – “home of the famous free tour in 80 cities across Europe, the Middle East and US" – you are able to book a free tour and decide what you want to pay. You can decide to pay nothing, but in the end people tend to pay more than the company would actually charge. It's about the experience and making a good story.

People are looking for a more personalised experience when they travel. They’re interested in where locals are going and they don't want to visit the usual tourist hotspots. TripAdvisor and Ask a Local are big platforms in achieving this experience. It’s very easy to get feedback from these online communities; if you tweet or go these platforms you'll get advice from local people.

Travellers are learning to live like a local Travellers are learning to live like a local
Madhan Kumar, Creative Commons (2013) ©

Julie Bonnar is the editor of the UK's leading craft and hobby industry publication Craft Focus. It has a circulation of 6,086 and provides market analysis and latest trends in the crafting industry. 

The crafts industry has had a bit of a shake-up over the last couple of weeks. Trident Exhibitions, which runs the Creative Crafts Shows and is one of the big events organisers, went into liquidation. It will change how crafters get hold of their products; people go to these shows to purchase products, so it might force more people online. The shows have also been places where crafters can go and meet like-minded people. Crafting can be quite isolating – you're often knitting or sewing at home – but these shows give you the opportunity to go and meet others.

People are looking to the internet to learn new crafts and a lot of companies and bloggers have picked up on this, and they're doing step-by-step projects, make-alongs, sew-alongs, knit-alongs and videos that help people create. Online education is going to be big in the forthcoming year.

The craft and hobby industry moves really quickly and trends come and go. Crafters are always looking for the next big thing. Traditional crafts, such as painting, woodworking, sewing, patchwork and quilting, are now being picked up by the younger generation. Also, there's new things coming along, with the phenomenon of adult colouring books helping to drive sales of markers, pens, paints and pencils.

Handmade weddings will continue to be popular next year. It’s not because people want to do their wedding inexpensively, it's about making a lifestyle statement

People's perception of crafting is changing too. Because everyone is so busy and everything's moving quickly, it gives people a chance to unwind, relax and do something that they enjoy. Additionally, consumers don't want mass-produced anymore, they want handmade, fuelling the upcycling and DIY movement. I've seen a lot of rejuvenated furniture on eBay and similar sites, where people have painted furniture and created these beautiful designs on sideboards and things like that.

TV producers have clocked on to this love of craft, with programmes like The British Sewing Bee, The Great British Bake Off, and now The Great Pottery Throw Down. They’re encouraging the market to grow, causing manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to develop products that react to the changes. For instance, they're producing chalky paints and spray paints for upcycling furniture. And weaving is quite popular at the moment too, so there are weaving kits coming on to the market now.

Art Gallery Fabrics has developed a loyal following of sewers, dressmakers and quilters who make use of its massive range of fabrics throughout the year. Its marketing is second to none; it has great information on the fabrics, with lifestyle pictures to let crafters see how they can incorporate it into their homes.

Traditional crafts have a new generation of practitioners Traditional crafts have a new generation of practitioners
Ars Electronica, Creative Commons (2014) ©

The big brands for 2016 will be those that adapt to the latest trends. Customising your home is perceived as a part of modern living now, while there’s increasingly a crossover between crafting and DIY, incorporating knitting, painting and sewing. Handmade weddings will continue to be popular next year. It’s not because people want to do their wedding inexpensively, it's about making a lifestyle statement.

Zentangle is the latest hobby craze that's sweeping across Europe. It’s the art of creating images with repetitive patterns. You just take a piece of paper and doodle all over it. It's fun, relaxing, and you can see that it's beginning to affect other craft areas, lately coming into embroidery and sewing.

The popularity of the sew-along has come about through social media and growing access to online resources. For example, say you have a new sewing pattern. A sew-along will last about a week and an online workshop will take you through one stage of the process each day, explaining what to do step-by-step.

Over-worked individuals are turning to the arts for stress relief Over-worked individuals are turning to the arts for stress relief
No Ordinary Designer Label (2012) ©

Henry Stuart is the CEO and co-founder of Visualise, a virtual reality production company. A pioneer in VR since 2006, Henry has produced content for the Royal Wedding, London 2012 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. 

Next year will see the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR released to consumers. For all of these headsets, the primary thing that’ll get them into people's homes is going to be gaming, so that's where the biggest push is going to be.

VR is going to allow you to have the craziest experiences in games, experiences that are wilder than real life, and play with toys that are more amazing than anything you could ever afford. You're not going to need to buy anything real in the future for your kids, because why would you buy them a Scalextric track when they can drive a real Formula 1 car in one of these games?

It's a very strange feeling when people first put a headset on. To overcome that, you're going to need something that's so special that people won't stop talking about it. In the past three years (since Oculus got announced on Kickstarter), we have had a huge amount of time in which nothing has been released. That's because they realised early on that if they don't absolutely nail it, and make content which is really compelling and comfortable, then it's going to fall flat on its face.

You're not going to need to buy anything real in the future for your kids, because why would you buy them a Scalextric track when they can drive a real Formula 1 car in one of these games?

Once that gaming revolution happens and the first wave of stuff comes through, it will pave the way for other industries. At the end of 2016, we're going to have 10 million VR users across the world. Then, in 2017, they are predicting that 12 million headsets will be sold.

The music industry is really important to this, because Spotify and other streaming music services have eroded the traditional channels of funding for the industry. Live gigs and touring have become a lot more important and many artists make the majority of their money from doing these long road trips. So what better way for an artist to finish off a tour than to have the last gig recorded beautifully in VR. Anyone can buy a VR ticket to it, and they'll have the best seat in the house. They'll be on the stage, next to the drummer, next to the singer, in the crowd – they can choose their own camera positions.

In the travel sector, we did a campaign with Thomas Cook called Try before you Fly, where we were commissioned to go to New York to capture the best bits of the Thomas Cook holiday. We did stuff like taking a helicopter ride over Manhattan, going through Central Park, and watching jazz. Then we took it to stores in the UK and Thomas Cook did a trial to see how it affected people’s interest in visiting New York. They found that it had a 190% increase in people booking trips there. In the future, you could be at home with your VR headset and check out some holidays through a VR app. You can pass it to your partner and say, “Hey, what about Morocco? Look at this, this looks stunning.”

Related behaviours
Rewilding: People are seeking to restore the lost values of nature.
Experience Hunters: When people have enough stuff, they seek experiences.


Author
Rowan Twine