After a tumultuous year that characterised 2020 – it’s anyone’s game coming into the new year. 2021 promises a fresh start of sorts, where we can put the challenges from this past year behind us, while only taking with us the learnings and insights that we gained from it.
Naturally, a prediction into the trends that will potentially shape 2021 will be slightly different - purely because we’ve seen massive upheavals in business operations, industry specific growth and vice versa, and from these, emerging trends that are unique to the current economic climate. So, what can we expect the new year to bring?
1. Boost in Local tourism
While international borders are slowly opening, a by-product of the pandemic has brought focus to local tourism. Taking just Singapore as an example – the local government has paved the way to breathe new life into local attractions by rolling out the Singapore Rediscover vouchers. The initiative has more than encouraged locals to ‘rediscover’ the country from the array of attractions, activities and even tours that’s available for redemption.
Outside of Singapore, countries that are much larger are experiencing domestic tourism on a different scale, with inter-state travel being the best alternative to restrictions in international flights and border control.
So, what does this mean to businesses, and agencies like us?
Acknowledging that the state of tourism may never be the same as we enter 2021 would be a start. Businesses traditionally serving customers within the hospitality space need to be attuned towards the motivations of the current pool of audience – locals.
Agencies who have clients within the space will need start having strategy sessions to explore new narratives for engaging with these audience.
If you’re a hotel– perhaps now is the time to aggressively push for partnerships, be it through Government led initiatives (SingaporeRediscovers), corporate wellness programs or even through lifestyle memberships.
2. Humanisation of Brands
At the peak of the pandemic earlier this year, brands had 2 choices: to put a hard stop on marketing spends, or to ride out the uncertainty. Each option would have bore dividends, or lack thereof, for the latter. Regardless of which option we chose, one thing is for certain – brands had to change their messaging to their audience.
Instead of being transactional in the marketing approach, brands must look beyond the economics and intrinsically understand the needs of their audience and connect with them at that level.
These 3 terms are far from being new – they were already on the uptrend as we hit 2020. So, why am I mentioning them?
Well, this year has exponentially accelerated the importance and rapid adoption within these 3 arenas. In 2021, we’ll potentially see all 3 coming to a critical mass, where it might continue to be a big part of business operations and in a large part, our daily lives.
All brands must have a strong presence online, and the lockdown made sure that those who lacked one realised the importance of it. Without digital presence, there’s no way a potential customer can find your brand in the cluttered space of the web.
For businesses that relies heavily on meeting prospects before closing a deal, holding successful virtual meetings has become vital. The usage of virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom has skyrocketed as a result from both internal and client meetings made locally and internationally. This will continue in the coming year.
Naturally, during times of uncertainty, the general public will explore alternative forms of wealth accumulation apart from the stock market. The appetite for cryptocurrency has grown rapidly, and along with it, major milestones and advancements towards being publicly accessible. Moving into 2021, Paypal will allow users to use cryptocurrencies. Closer to home, local bank DBS has also announced the launch of its full-service digital exchange.
So, how should businesses respond to the shifting trends?
Businesses should accept that this is the ‘new norm’, and perhaps accepting cryptocurrency payments would be a step in the right direction. At least, that’s what we have in store for 2021.
Undoubtedly, there’re going to be tons of predictions as to what 2021 will bring and what it will mean for businesses. What’s important is that we take the insights gained from this exceptionally unique year and leverage on the learnings to improve our processes, businesses and in a small way, our way of living.