2012 has been an interesting year – but not necessarily one of especial import. It was a year ofÂ consolidationÂ and stabilization of ideas, concepts and trends, with tablets cementing their place in the future of media consumption and social networks coming of age.
Tnooz chased down travel executives from many corners of the travel industry at this year’s PhoCusWright, for their 2013Â predictions. The resulting video is below, followed by this writer’s magical 2 predictions/hopes for the year ahead.
Seamless integration across devices/channels
2012 has set the stage for a tumultuous 2013, as the pace of mobile growth continues to increase alongside cross-device and mobile-first consumption.
There are many opportunities to bring together all of the amazing technological advances that have happened over the past 5 years and finally bring them together in a cohesive way – the elusive cross-device seamlessness that is the dream for many tech-forward executives and consumers.
We’re not quite there, but we’re close. Imagine an existence where your apps communicate with each other across devices – the article on New York Times left unfinished on your iPhone opensÂ instantlyÂ when you open the app on your iPad; the flight search started on an iPhone and forgotten after a phone call effortlessly re-emerges as you move back to your laptop later in the work day.
This sort of inter-connectedness is where one of the purest promises of technology comes alive – magical seamlessness. Not only does this make the user experience much more fluid and less stressful, but it will most likely increase top-line revenue for those businesses that deliver said experience. Abandoned shopping carts will be less of a problem, as users won’t leave in frustration after losing everything from a previous session on a different device; trips will be easier to book when, where and on what device customers want to book them.
In addition, this integration across devices should extend to traditionally distinct channels. Using data or simple opt-in tracking via account logins, travel companies should provide an experience that matches different behavioral patterns. Whether it’s watching TV with a computer, or a web search that leads into an app download later, companies have access to so much data about user behavior that can inform marketing – and content – choices.
This sort of actionable insight derived from data is a big opportunity in 2013; it just has to be easy-to-use and seamless.
Don’t be creepy, be useful
Continuing on from Prediction Numero Uno, travel companies will continue realizing the power of content for driving business. By creating compelling content that engages users, savvy brands will be successful in cultivating consumers across the entire lifecycle. It’s not just about one service anymore; it’s about the overall brand experience, and consumer will flit from brand to brand until they find a brand that suits their personality, needs and aspirations.
Big Data is integral to creating this overall brand experience, as leveraging great content is one of the primary ways companies learn about what a particular customer is interested in. By providing valuable, useful content, companies get actionable data and consumer insight in return.
So take Big Data, combine it with seamless integration, and use it in a useful way:Â Use Big Data to provide better content; use Big Data to provide targeted content; use Big Data to know when I need to take a vacation, and know where I want to go.; use Big Data to make life better, and consumers will be all about it.
One caveat: use Big Data to be Creepy Big Brother and consumers will shy away. Be open and transparent with customers, and ensure that all data is used to improve user experience – and not just the bottom line.
So in 2013, the prediction is that the industry will finally start to coalesce around a content marketing strategy that welcomes Big Data and consumer privacy to the table for one big, massive feast of the future.
Share-of-wallet, voice search, cross-device messaging, and single truths
Some of these trends were highlighted at the annual PhoCusWright conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, this past November. Tnooz approached executives from travel companies, suppliers and service providers, asking them for their opinions, insights and predictions for the coming year of 2013.
The video follows this cast of characters:
“Single truth of audiences across devices.”
Dave Madden, LivingSocial Escapes:
“Less choice, more curation andÂ convenienceÂ are important.”
Gordon Wilson, Travelport:
“Growth in virtual payments, and ancillary airline products/low-cost carriers integrating into the GDS.”
Jeff Klee, CheapAir.com:
“Voice search for travel comes of age.”
Katrine Buckmaier, Travel Menu:
“Who wins Russian e-travel space.”
Kurt Heinemann, Monetate:
“Gather actionable Big Data insights and actually use them to create engaging user experience in travel.”
Mark Lenahan, OpenJaw Technologies:
“Sell multiple products to one consumer by looking after their total needs and go after share-of-wallet.”
Noah Tratt, Expedia Media Solutions:
“Across device messaging and advertising solutions across lifecycle.”
Ron Schneiderman, Liftopia:
“Variable pricing by suppliers.”
Tom Romary, Deem Offers:
“Mobile as a payment system.”
NB:Â BinocularÂ image courtesy Shutterstock