Blender #12


Here it is, the thing you didn’t even know you were waiting for: The Blender, our weekly digest of marketing updates, trends, and other stuff we think is amazing. It’s the best blend you’ll have all week that’s not coffee or from an actual blender.

This week we’re kicking off with a couple of items about 2018 trends. Because “Blender” rhymes perfectly with “Trend”… “er”. Find out what we’ll be eating, how we’ll be travelling, and how we’ll be sharing it all on social media.

Food and drink trends for 2018

Death and taxes aren’t the only certainties in life. You can also be pretty sure people will always seek out new forms of deliciousness.

So it pays to stay on top of all the new trends. Now, the best way to do this is of course get out and try all the hot new eateries and products yourself… but an easier (albeit less enjoyable) way is to check out Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends 2018.

Mintel has identified three big trends for the global food and drink market.

  • Full disclosure: Being honest and open about what’s in a product, and its environmental and ethical bona fides.
  • New sensations: Food and drink which engage and delight all the senses. Interesting and surprising textures and combinations of textures will be a big thing.
  • Preferential treatment: Accessing and ordering food by different channels and technologies, particularly those that can save the consumer time and provide them personalised curations and recommendations.

You can download the full report from Mintel.



Travel trends for 2018 recently compiled a list of what it reckons will be the top travel predictions for 2018, based on research from its guest reviews and travellers.

  • Technology will continue to be important to travellers when planning a getaway. Most want technology to help them plan a trip, both for travel queries and for previewing a destination. And almost a third are comfortable to let a computer plan for them based on their previous travel habits!
    • Providing travellers with really good websites and useful tools should be a priority for any destination or attraction.
  • Dream destinations. 45 percent of travellers have a bucket list in mind, and 82 percent of those will try and tick one or more destination off in 2018.
    • So framing destinations as dreams-come-true or must-visits seems like a pretty savvy move.
  • Retro nostalgia. A third of travellers will consider returning to a childhood destination in 2018 – and the percentage is even higher amongst millennials.
    • Tapping into the history of a place and targeting those who visited years before could pay off pretty nicely.

Check out for the other trends. We’re always happy to help you figure out how you can make the most of those for your destination or attraction.

Trends in air travel

Some of those technology trends are well on the way for air travel, as highlighted by Condé Nast Traveller. The piece predicts:

  • The end of check-in, with apps which automatically check you in 24 hours before departure.
  • Roaming robot helpers at airports and improved wayfinding with estimated wait times and walk times.
  • Improved biometric recognition at security.
  • Voice-enabled airline reservations.

And there’s one more prediction there that’s not really about technology, but it’s great news for cross-Atlantic travellers: flights between North America and Europe are tipped to drop in price. That’s a trend we can get on-board with (literally).

Top Instagram travel trends: because is it really travel if you don’t ‘Gram it?


Social media is now THE place to show off your holiday snaps, squarely defeating the old winner, “sharing a seemingly-endless presentation of slides in a darkened den to people who aren’t sure they’ll ever see the sun again, unless it’s in one of the slides”.

The great thing about social media is that users can curate and share as they go, giving a better sense of the feel of travel. And now, that’s where a lot of would-be travellers draw their inspiration.

But not only do they use it to draw inspiration – they then choose destinations and experiences based on what it will allow themto share on social media.

Instagram inspires travellers, and those travellers refine their destination decision-making by figuring out what will inspire and impress others.

So knowing the trends can help destinations and attractions position themselves as a must-‘Gram. Here be some November stats shared by Chute.

  • 4 million photos were shared with the hashtag #travel.
  • The hashtag coupled most often with this was #food. An visually-enticing culinary experience stands a good chance of making Instagram.
  • Then 8 percent of those were also tagged with #adventure – so it seems that providing experiences out of the ordinary is also a great bet.

Chute also compiled the top brand accounts posting about #travel – a good place to go to draw some inspiration:

Speaking of Instagram: now you can follow hashtags

Instagram users can now follow hashtags just as they would regular Instagram accounts.

So, let’s say you’re interested in that #travel hashtag. Just click on the hashtag somewhere (or search for it in the app), and hit the “Follow” button at the top of the page. You’ll receive the occasional top photo or video in your feed amongst updates from the accounts you follow, and you can see recent #travel Stories in the Stories section.

Brands now can do more than just encourage people to tag photos with their hashtags – they can encourage them to follow them, too.

But while she says it’s a huge game-changer for brands, our social media manager Claire says they still ought to approach it carefully. “A pitfall would be for brands to fall back into the trap of filling posts with hashtags,” she says. “If a particular hashtag is oversaturated, it loses its efficacy and usefulness as a search tool.”

“But the feature again helps position Instagram as one of the greatest social powers of now. First treading into Snapchat’s territory with Stories, and now getting some Pinterest vibes.”

Approaching technology trends with “cross-industry innovation”

Up the page there we mentioned technology as being one of the big travel trends of 2018. But this opinion piece from Dan Fitzgerald of Traveldoo challenges us about how we approach innovation.

Quoting Ramon Vullings, he proposes that rather than think about technology itself, we should ask ourselves “how can we use technology to make things simpler for people?”. And from there, we should look to other industries for inspiration. It’s not about copying what others are doing – it’s about copying “the thinking behind the ideas”.

That’s one area where we’re quite fortunate. Though destinations and attractions are our specialty, we also work in a range of other areas: retail, education, manufacturing, and more. We learn from each industry, and then apply those lessons when solving problems for others. Magic!

This page will self-destruct in 59 seconds

Sparking keyboard

Most website visitors spend less than 59 seconds on a site. And if you don’t grab their attention within 10 seconds (some say 7), you’ll probably lose them long before that.

It’s in those first few seconds that people make the most judgments about a website. Does it tell them what they need to know? Will it let them do what they want to do? Does it feel right for them?

So win them over as quick as you can.

  • Tell them who you are, and what they’ll get from your site/page.
  • Provide clear direction about what they should do.
  • Be genuine.
  • Be delightful.

Our new partnerships

We’re excited to end 2017 on a high note, partnering with a number of diverse and high-profile new clients. These include travel giant, Chicago-based Garrett Brands (owner of Garrett Popcorn Shops and Frango Chocolates), culinary farm-to-table innovator Firefly Grill in Effingham, Ill., and New Zealand destination brands The Alpine Pacific Touring Routeand Northland Inc. We look forward to setting new trends with them in 2018 and beyond!

Congratulations Kaikōura!

Last week the road north from Kaikōura NZ reopened for the first time since the November 2016 earthquake, connecting the town with communities in the north, and bringing through people travelling up and down the South Island.

We couldn’t be happier for our clients Whale Watch Kaikōura and Dolphin Encounter Kaikōura, as well as the rest of the Kaikōura community.

State Highway One is OPEN! | ONE year, ONE month, ONE day and we are now ONE connected community. Thank you all for your support this past year and huge thank you to all the workers... | By Kaikoura NZFacebook

We also can’t wait to share our work promoting the Alpine Pacific Touring Route, coming soon. It is truly one of the world’s great drives, and a must-visit if you’re in New Zealand.

Positive friction in design

Our digital strategist Lawrence was taken with this presentation about how a little “positive complexity” can make your digital journey that much more enjoyable. It’s all about introducing some character and life into websites and applications; moments of joy that make it a journey, and not just a destination.

“In the digital world and the shift to mobile, a key focus has been on delivering ‘best practice’,” Lawrence says. “But best practice can be boring! Let’s be different, and exciting, and good!”

Short on holiday conversation topics?

Ah, the holidays. It’s a time filled with the joy of spending time with family and friends, and sometimes the dread of spending time with family and friends.

But if conversation dries up, we’ve got a tool that might help you spark things up again. Our content manager Seb put together ChatChooser, a website which offers short prompts which you can use as conversation topics, or to inspire conversation on other topics, or as things to mock. Never again will an awkward silence reign when you can talk about “your pancake experiences” or “the approximate size of your sock collection”.

People chatting on Christmas

This is probably an actual photo of people enjoying the fun of ChatChooser, and definitely not a stock photo.

Hey! We found a cat video on the internet!

Grey cat with blue eyes

An ‘80s power ballad, karaoke, and a cat of particular fabulousness? This ad ticks a lot of internet trend boxes – and this week it’s got our account manager Karolyn laughing. We would be remiss to not share it with you.

(Shout-out also to the tagline “Resistance is Futile”. Perfect for a cat food.)

(Wait, no, “purr-fect”.)

(Hold up, no, we were right the first time: “perfect” is the correct spelling.)

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