Friday Five: Holidays get easy, after all

Zone’s Rianna Mitchell handpicks and shares the five best news stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Holidays get easy, after all

easyJet holidays has rolled out a new trade portal, designed with input from travel agent partners. The service enables agents to better assist customers in booking a holiday, such as being able to discover the cheapest stay at certain hotels through a new calendar function, and has contributed to the company’s growth in holiday sales.

The airline group will celebrate the launch by offering travel agents an incentive of £10 per booking made on the new portal for a limited time and running a series of prize competitions. Kelly Walker, Head of Distribution at easyJet says: “We’re committed to providing a seamless and unforgettable experience for travel agents helping their customers find the perfect easyJet holidays package.”

2. Solar bikes for the last mile

IKEA has adopted solar-powered cargo bikes to ensure a more sustainable last-mile delivery option. After piloting the scheme in The Netherlands, the homeware retailer has decided to expand and provide all IKEA retailers worldwide with a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative for home delivery transport.

“This SunRider bike can accommodate roughly 90% of the IKEA product range and emits 98% less CO2 than modern diesel vans,” says IKEA’s sustainability manager. By 2030, IKEA aims to become environment-friendly by reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the value chain emits.

3. Self-checkout shoplifters on the rise

A study from Scanwatch revealed that first-time shoplifters are targeting self-checkout kiosks. The company said that UK retailers reported an 18% increase in theft in the latter half of the year, and 26.5% in the US, according to the National Retail Federation. Described as “the weakest link in retail security” by Scanwatch’s CEO, self-checkout accounted for 90% of shoplifting events.

The most popular items to steal are alcohol and staples such as bread, milk and cheese. “This is clearly a new trend and a direct result of consumer goods price increases.” To tackle the issue of shoplifting, retailers need to execute stronger security measures for their self-checkout systems.

4. Airbnb cracks down on discrimination

Airbnb has removed nearly 4,000 global accounts from its platform this year for violating its non-discriminatory policy. A report published by Project Lighthouse, an initiative Airbnb launched to address disparities people of colour experience on the platform, revealed that guests perceived to be black had a 91.4% booking success rate compared to 94.1% for guests perceived to be white.

To fight discrimination and make Airbnb more inclusive, the company implemented an instant book feature that allows users to book a space without requiring the host’s approval. Hosts also cannot view the guest’s profile picture until after they accept the reservation. Airbnb has said they will “further explore the impact that other features may have on the opportunity to create bias”.

5. Putting sustainable design intentions into action

Companies failing to take environmental responsibilities seriously are not only impacting the planet but risk damaging their brand image. The environment matters more than ever, and organisations that are applying their sustainability strategy lead their industries as they walk the environmental talk.

Last month, Zone’s Service Designers, Kate Ellis and Caroline McElroy, attended the Design for Planet Festival 2022 hosted by the Design Council. They share their learnings on how organisations, regardless of industry or practice, can put sustainable design ambitions into action for positive change. Read the full article.

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.