“I’m an optimist so I look for the silver linings and stories of innovation and resilience,” says travel journalist Jenny Southan. Her online publication and travel trend forecasting agency, Globetrender, reports on everything from floating hotels to space tourism. It also produces trend reports exploring the future of travel.

“We’ve tried to see the pandemic as an opportunity to provide insights for the travel industry,” Jenny says. “We launched a report called ‘Travel in the age of Covid-19’ in June 2020 and so far, all of the trends we forecasted have proved accurate.” Globetrender’s report covered trends relating to germaphobia, unprecedented flexibility offered by airlines and travel companies and the popularity of outdoor holidays

Jenny, 39, runs the business full-time, aided by a network of freelance travel journalists, a freelance IT manager, designer and part-time business coach. “I’ve had to run a very lean operation and do a lot of multi-tasking, especially since the start of the pandemic.”

“That said, Globetrender’s profile has grown significantly through the interviews I’ve been giving on BBC radio about what’s coming next for travel from a consumer point of view.” She adds: “I’m looking forward to building a team of full-time staff from next year onwards.”

Globetrender has been a Starling business customer since 2019, when Jenny registered the business as a limited company.

Running a travel trend forecasting agency

Jenny set up Globetrender as a side project in 2015. “While I was working for Business Traveller magazine, I started writing an annual piece about business travel trends, which got me interested in trend forecasting. In 2017, I went freelance and it was then that I invested more time in Globetrender and grew it as a business.”

Globetrender works with travel agencies, hotels, airlines and other businesses within the travel industry, which sponsor the trend reports. Readers can download the reports from Globetrender website for free. In return, the companies receive advertising space and branding opportunities. The readership includes companies within the travel space as well as consultancies and big multinational corporations who have a vested interest in travel.

Many of the pieces are written by Jenny, who has been in the travel industry for more than 15 years. “I’ve lived it. I’ve flown with dozens of different airlines, stayed in hundreds of hotels, and kept up to date with the latest news through all the press releases I receive. During those years, I’ve built up an understanding of the industry. So when something new emerges, I can see when it’s innovative - innovation is the starting point for all trends,” she explains.

Looking ahead to 2022

For Jenny, the key travel trend she believes we’ll see in 2022 is to ‘fly less, stay longer’. “Some people will do that because of the pandemic and the difficulties around travel. If people are going to go away, they want to feel that it’s worth it, which means more people are looking at ten days or two weeks or even longer,” she says.

“The trend also taps into the mainstream adoption of working remotely. If you can work from anywhere, why not tag on another two weeks to your holiday and spend a month abroad?” This way of travelling has been termed ’workation’.

“Flying less and staying longer makes sense from a climate and sustainability standpoint, which has become more of a concern for many people.”

Straightforward banking with Starling

Jenny uses Starling to manage her business finances. “When I registered as a limited company and needed a business account, I did some research and Starling sounded brilliant so I signed up,” she says.

“It’s been life changing. The app is so well designed. I can see all my business spending broken down as graphics, which makes it feel more manageable and accessible. I also have a personal account and USD business account with Starling so everything is in one place. It’s the way banking should be in the 21st century.”

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