Top 7 digital transformation trends in the travel industry
Omnipresence of digital transformation
Digital transformation trends have been having a profound impact on such industries as healthcare, banking, logistics, telecom, insurance, manufacturing, etc. The travel industry is not an exception, for it underwent considerable changes due to the digital disruption that affected literally its every aspect, converting travel and tourism industries into the brave early adopters of digital transformation.
While travel makes extensive use of both information and transactions in all stages of the value chain, consumers search for the information before a trip, compare and check feedbacks, reserve tickets, hotels, as well as request a virtual tour of their potential destination…
No doubt, digital transformation is definitely here to stay. Yet, it makes sense only when one listens to the clients, understands them, and constantly offers them unique experiences.For the businesses, digital adaptation is not optional but rather an indispensable condition to continue being competitive and respond to the continuously growing consumers’ demands.
What are top 7 digital transformation trends in the travel industry?
1. Personalization as a crucial element of your travel business
Personalizing packages and offers based on customer preferences becomes a piece of cake with the innovative technologies like big data and cloud computing. At the same time, personalization is a synonym for success. For instance, micro travels that offer less hectic itineraries and are focused on a particular interest are a perfect personalization example. By means of deploying big data that assists in providing valuable insights into the travellers’ habits (e.g., favourite destinations, airline preferences, snack choice), travel companies now can significantly boost the overall level of their customized offers.
On the other hand, mobile apps send out personalized emails to engage travellers and maintain them informed with the latest trends in the travel industry. Personalization is expected to play an even more crucial role in the travel industry in future as delivering relevant information and content for bettering user’s experience becomes a focal point of the digital transformation strategy.
2. Cognitive Computing is not a science fiction anymore!
Describing travel preferences about your dream getaway and getting detailed recommendations tailored on the basis of your past travel behaviour is not a crazy fantasy from your favourite movie! We are getting to the point when a computer would book your entire package including airline tickets, hotel accommodation, entirely based on your profile features and past experiences.
Cognitive Computing, a break-through self-learning system that works via voice recognition, data mining and natural language processing to replicate a human brain, is highly likely to makes these steps possible in the nearest future. Still hard to believe? Just ask Siri about the weather conditions in your town, and you’ll realize that we already have a precursor of cognitive computing next us!
3. Global mobile presence
As the Travel Flash Report by Criteo informs, over 1/3 of the world’s population use a mobile device to book a hotel room. Free mobile connectivity is a must for many users, both Wi-Fi and 4G. Internet connections are offered now in most hotels, restaurants and airports. The technology goes even further: some chains are already offering their clients devices throughout their hotel stay as a courtesy. Thus, the Casual Hoteles chain offers the Mobile Pack service, which includes a device with Wi-Fi connection, portable battery, and selfie stick, free to customers who book directly on their website.
Mobile connectivity turns into a rigid requirement rather than a luxury element. Customers expect seamless mobile experience when they travel, from planning through the travel itself, during their stay in a chosen accommodation to the post-travel special offers.
4. AI, Chatbots and IoT integration
Today, the tons of information are provided via AI-powered applications and technology, so that the guests could access the information at any time, from any device. Even more, they get access to the voice-activated chat bots to open the curtains, set the alarm, or order meals, without ever talking to a live person. For example, Marriott has been using AI-powered chat bots at over 5,000 hotels to do things like make reservation changes, check on account balances or redemption vouchers.
Since numerous devices get connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), it makes sense that the travel industry would begin to leverage that data to improve the customer experience. The more they know about their guests, the better they can satisfy their needs. If the IoT data reports that a customer has visited their resort every year for the last couple of years, it can automatically send a message proactively asking the guest if they’d like to make another booking this year.
5. Focus on data
Data is a true protagonist of today’s digital transformation. Travel companies capture and store massive amounts of data. During every step of the travel journey they collect data such as customer data, flight paths, transactions. The rewards of data use include an ability to make more informed decisions, learn about customers and competitors, improve the customer experience and increase revenues.
When used effectively, this information can reveal which services customers use most and which are the least popular ones.At the same time, to maximise financial results, hotels need to know how to sell the right product to the right customer and at the right moment. As for the internal data, such as past occupancy rates, room revenue and current bookings, it can be combined with external data (e.g., information about local events, flights and school holidays) in order to more accurately predict and anticipate demand.
As a consequence, hotels will manage prices and room rates in a more efficient way, increasing them at times of high demand, in order to maximise the revenue that is generated.
The fact that guests can book instantly also means they can share their opinions instantly via Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor... That’s why technology has pushed hotels and restaurants to focus even more on providing quality customer service. Whoever wants a superb review, needs to take care of the level of experiences they render to a customer. While the ultimate goal is to deliver a better customer experience, it is vital to understand that you need to deliver the “right” customer experience to the “right” people.
7. Virtual Reality
Whether it’s a hotel property or a tourist destination, guests can take a look without even leaving their living room via virtual reality. The goal is to offer a preview of what guests will experience. This isn’t being done on a widespread scale yet, but some major operators are offering guests the chance to experience at least a snippet of their travel experience—offering a great option to get an incredible pre-experience for those planning a visit to a faraway destination.
To illustrate, Navitaire, an Amadeus company, is creating a travel search and booking tool allowing potential travelers to visit a destination, select an airplane seat, and examine rental cars — and then pay for the entire trip — all within the virtual reality space.
Due to digital transformation strategy and other business transformations, travelers, as well as people working in the industry, could notice remarkable and positive changes that forever alter how people manage their trip-related needs driving digital transformation in the travel industry. It’s more than clear that the tourism companies that do not undergo a digital transformation process will lose competitive edge and become obsolete.
The time has come to embrace the changes and adopt the cutting-edge technologies. For a better more connected world. Here. Today. Now. Your company can change the world!