Digital travel trends and some common sense take aways
Digital design agency Huge, the team behind Four Seasons multi-million dollar web investment, has drawn together some of the current trends in online travel in its What Matters Now report.
It’s not rocket science but there are some take aways for travel companies looking at new markets and potential customer segments.
Are you ready for millenials?
The report reveals that by 2020 millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) will account for 40% of the US workforce, they are a digitally savvy bunch and, according to Boston Consulting Group, it’s the 18 to 34 year olds that want to travel abroad more than any other generation.
Take away: to attract this segment travel companies need to market to them differently and think about the sorts of products and services they want.
Peer-to-peer marketplaces have now extended well beyond accommodation with startups appearing for car-sharing and other services.
Take away: if traditional travel companies want a slice of the sharing economy pie they need to understand what drives consumers to participate in these communities.
App and away
Paper tickets are losing ground in favour of digital wallets such as Apple’s Passbook (see this piece on the mobile wallet war). In addition figures from Comscore showing nearly 40m US consumers accessed travel sites or applications via smartphone in Jul 2012. Further, emarketer predicts a 73m people will research travel via smartphone by 2016 and 36m people will book travel directly via mobile.
Take away: as mobile search and booking continues to take hold, consumers will look for further services to be available via their portable devices
Mapping and big data
Google’s acquisition of Waze (see this article for the numbers involved) demonstrates the massive revenue opportunity in mapping and Tnooz has explored some of the numbers involved in that deal here.
Take away: Mapping is not just about maps, says the report, it’s about big data and connecting with consumers in real time to offer relevant location-based services.
Hotels are already following airlines in terms of unbundling services and enabling guests to opt out of services such as daily housekeeping.
Take away: Many consumers are wary of additional fees for services and demands for price transparency will increase.
The value of many loyalty schemes seems to have diminished and consumers are disillusioned about the points and other rewards they get for their custom.
Take away: Travel companies need to provide a joined up customer experience across all digital channels and aligned with offline channels.
Disruption and revolution
It’s not always about ground-breaking businesses and revolutionary new systems, sometimes tweaking an existing model reaps benefits. Huge highlights TripAdvisor-owned Tingo as a good example.
Take away: Think about small innovations in user experience, design and functionality which can have a positive effect on customers and the bottom line.
The full report can be viewed here.
NB: Smiley face image via Shutterstock
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past six years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.