Over the next 10 years, travel industry experts predict that the digital travel space worldwide will expand at an annual rate of 3.8% to reach $11.4 trillion – Nielsen Research
Due to rapidly growing digitization, travelers have begun to expect personalized services, seamless experience, and immediate response to queries. Before the advent of digital devices, travel agents were the primary POC of planning a trip. Recommendations, booking, and tour packages were all done by the travel agent based on the customer’s requirement and budget.
Consumers’ Journey – A Digitally empowered Traveller
In the digital age, with online travel aggregators like booking.com, user-generated recommendations from TripAdvisor, and hotels providing digital solutions for a personalized experience, customers themselves can plan their travel, creating more touchpoints and channels while making decisions.
Digitally empowered customers are pushing travel and tourism companies to reinvent themselves by leveraging mobility solutions to enhance the customer experience. Affordability and advancements in digital technologies have transformed customer-centric enterprises to cater to rising expectations.
A new wave of disruption may shift US$100 billion of value from traditional travel industry players to new competitors by 2025. – Accenture
Indicators to adopt digital transformation
Though Travel tech has created a new wave of disruption, many companies are yet to shift to digital operations. For companies to stay relevant and have a competitive edge, they need to adapt to changing consumer expectations.
With the abundance of data, companies can use predictive analysis to analyze and predict what each customer is looking for and deliver an enhanced personalized experience. Analytics gives companies insight as to what customers expect from travel companies and agencies. While embarking on a digital transformation of traditional operations, businesses need to keep their core value proposition still in focus.
Here is a look at the key next-gen technology trends that have disrupted the industry.
Mobile applications have long been playing a vital role in digitizing traditional travel companies. From ticket and hotel bookings to cashless travel to interactive touring, mobile apps have changed the way customers view and experience travel. While the majority of them have a mobile-friendly website, customers are migrating towards mobile apps due to the speed, personalization, and smooth functionality provided by them. According to Travelport Digital, 58% of users prefer a mobile app to book flights, and 53% prefer it to book accommodations. With the growing percentage of users opting to plan their travel on mobile devices, businesses worldwide need to recognize the importance of implementing a mobile app into their business model.
Integration of Internet of Things (IoT)
The more customer data a business has, the better the opportunity to provide seamless, personalized customer experience, which is critical to the travel and hospitality sector. The number of touchpoints and channels is increasing rapidly with the introduction of new tech and it becomes crucial for companies to streamline information and services to provide a seamless service. The sensors in IoT devices enables a business to harvest data from multiple sources to optimize and streamline their services to provide better service and allow guests to access information anytime, anywhere.
VR and AR
Providing a rich interactive experience has created an added advantage in the industry. In a service-oriented field which provides an intangible experience, Marketers and travel agents are leveraging AR/VR tech to interact with customers and provide a tangible experience. Using VR headsets to create an immersive experience, travel companies and hoteliers can provide “Try before you buy” experiences such as a full 360-degree view of the destinations and amenities.
Australian airline Qantas, in partnership with Samsung, allows passengers to experience sights and destinations from the comforts of their airline seats using the device Qantas Cardboard.
AI-powered software like digital assistants and chatbots are revolutionizing the way customers interact with businesses. Leveraging the data available about customers, travel companies have implemented front-end and backend AI applications to enhance productivity, revenue, and build personalized customer experience. Here is an in-depth look at how AI has revolutionized the travel industry
While keeping up to date to stay relevant and have a competitive advantage, travel companies must implement and adopt new age and immersive technologies to streamline the process and create a seamless travel experience for tech-savvy travelers.