According to a recent Tripadvisor survey 32% of consumers would spend more on travel than in 2015. Meanwhile, MMGY Global found that six out of 10 millennials would rather spend money on traveling than acquiring material goods. Hence, the demand for travel services is growing and it is growing by those who are the most tech savvy.
Travel companies are thus investing in their digital transformation and are building digital storefronts and mobile channels to keep today’s hyper-connected travelers snapping, sharing and reviewing on the go. The huge amounts of available data collected through their sites allow them to increasingly deliver customized dream vacations based on their customers preferences. Meanwhile, their customers are more than happy to allow travel companies access their data so as to get customized experiences.
We have entered a generation of DIY travelers who book flights, hotels – or even opt for strangers’ homes or experience offerings – online. In this rapidly changing industry those who choose to adapt are those who will survive. Legacy one-for-all shops such as Thomas Cook have taken notice: they have even gone as far as to introduce virtual reality experiences in select stores offering its customers the possibility of visiting faraway places without even leaving their hometown.
Meanwhile, sharing-economy companies such as Airbnb or One Fine Stay have grasped the opportunity offered by digital disruption and provide the possibility of booking a room in a stranger’s house. And holidaymakers are more than happy to engage in experiences that until recently where considered a novelty. Cuisine Blue, a Publisto customer, made its debut this year with much success, offering visitors to Greece customized dining options among locals.
Postcards have been replaced by Facebook and Instagram; Lonely Planet by online booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Makemytrip. Great ideas powered by technology are popping up daily and innovations that we wouldn’t even dream of at the turn of the century seem only natural. To name just a few: online booking sites, customer targeting and hyper-personalization through big data analytics, smartphone apps offering deals and reviews, wearable devices that manage payment and room keys, Bluetooth beacons that guide travelers through airports and so on.
As Angelo Rossini, contributing analyst at Euromonitor International points out, “Traditional travel distribution in which high street travel agencies played a dominant role was revolutionized with online travel agencies and direct distribution through airlines and hotels’ websites acquiring a key role”.
According to Sandeep Raut of D!gitalist Magazine as the travel industry continues its journey from the oxcart to the hyper loop, the future will belong to the companies that use data-based intelligence to offer better customer experiences and build long-term loyalty. For instance, Bluesmart is a carry-on application you can control from your smartphone letting you lock, unlock your suitcase, weight it, track it and alerts you when you forget it.
As digitization advances and travelers become increasingly hooked on their mobile devices they will increasingly rely on them to handle their travels, to enrich their experiences and demand that these become hyper-personalized. In Publisto, we aim to make this type of travel experience a reality for our customers.