According to an article by Sale Cycle, the online travel market was worth more than $629 billion in 2017, and is predicted to reach almost $818 billion globally by 2020. There is no doubt that the upward movement in this space is due to technology — increasing mobile travel searches and bookings all over the world. Desktop or laptop computers, tablets and smartphones enable individuals to research, book and track travel accommodations from anywhere in the world.
Users look for an easy booking experience that makes their lives simple and convenient based on previous purchase behavior and personalization. With a high percentage of consumers using mobile apps, and the decreasing need for human interaction when scheduling certain travel perks, there’s not a doubt that technology’s role in travel planning is in no way going anywhere any time soon. For businesses in the travel industry, it’s important to shape or improve your service based on the latest digital travel trends to ensure that what you provide to your customers is creative, innovative and unique.
Here are a few digital travel trends to watch out for this year:
Highly Personalized Information
Personalization is the name of the game in the travel industry. From one search to another, technology has the power to track search queries based on the specific terms used on the web. Through internet intelligence and machine learning, auto-customization brings the personalization aspect of booking travel accommodations extremely exclusive. What used to be a travel package provided online “as is,” is now a list of recommended accommodations and choices that are created based on a user’s interests.
Travel businesses and brands now have all of the information they need to create a more meaningful experience for their customers, as well as to differentiate their brand in a very competitive sphere. This level of personalization can be used through a simple customer service-based pop-up in a website or by utilizing third-party outlets, such as social media channels, email addresses or other mobile apps. Knowing what your consumers want can help you integrate the proper technology into your business model that enables you to build a connection with each individual user.
More than 60% of Americans crave experiences over products, and with the majority of this population born after 1995, it’s evident the younger generations find personal fulfillment through saving their money for travel. That said, this generation has been digitally wired since childhood, so they depend on their devices to service a variety of needs. This includes their travel experiences.
This mindset also relates back to the initial steps of outlining a travel plan and highlighting the importance of customization and the user experience. At each step of the process, travelers want to feel as though they are creating an excursion that is based on their wants and needs. With technology and the popularity of mobile devices, individuals can search and tailor specific travel perks to meet their requirements in no time.
Another way travel businesses can modify their users’ personal expectations is through virtual reality features. This allows consumers to feel as though they are in their desired location and essentially “escape reality.” The visuals are so high definition that mobile users feel as though they are walking through a place they’ve always dreamed of visiting.
With digital conveniences on the rise, travelers are often organizing their smartphone apps to cater to every travel need with a touch of a button. Currency exchange tools, a mobile wallet for tickets and boarding passes, or a no fee bank account are all popular examples used by the tech-savvy that can also benefit the travel-planning process. With a service in the travel field, it’s important to put yourself in the mind of the traveler. What demographic are they a part of? What kind of lifestyle may they be living? What might their options be from a financial standpoint? Are there certain mobile apps that industry professionals could recommend? Knowing that travelers are turning to mobile devices for assistance can raise your brand’s reputability, especially when it can mean that using your brand can increase their likelihood of a well-rounded and stress-free trip.
It is vital for every travel business or startup to stay updated on the latest trends within the industry. Failing to keep up-to-date on what’s relevant can hurt your brand, and fast! Always research and gain insight on what your community is doing, using and implementing when it comes to travel and technology.
Innovation in travel is happening. Don’t be left behind.
At Plug and Play's Travel accelerator we are in touch with corporations and startups that are changing the world as we know it. Join our platform today.