Digital transformation in the travel industry has made travel more affordable, accessible, and convenient. We plan book and manage our trips using online marketplaces. The global online travel market is estimated to reach 1835.6 billion USD by 2031 with a CAGR of 14.8% from 2022 to 2031.
For travel businesses, it is essential to keep up with the latest trends due to the constantly changing global landscape and social media’s boon to the travel world known as “influencer-driven travel”.
This blog will cover – the top 5 trends around digital transformation in the travel industry that you need to adapt to and stay relevant in the rapidly changing market.
Travel is an emotion. You can influence buying behaviour using personalization. That includes the marketing messages the user receives.
Big data teaches you about the travel preferences of your target audience. And, because you can predict demand, you can optimize the pricing and promotional activities.
For instance, one of the challenges for travel business owners is selling the right offer to the right customer at the right time. Not forgetting the importance of the right price and the right channel. All this needs the DATA. Like – as past customer reviews, room revenue, current hotel bookings, weather, flights, school holidays, etc. When you have such data, demand or revenue forecasting becomes simpler.
An efficient use-case of Big Data is the Amazon recommendation engine. The recommendation program runs on the concept of big data. You would have experienced it while booking a flight as well. You might not book the flight right away. However, an app persuades you to check out the cart.
A tour through New York City without being there. How is that possible?
Thanks to technological advancements like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
It gives customers a demo of holiday destinations. Clients can virtually explore the hotels before they book. It becomes easy for them to decide whether to buy a package. It is like – try before you buy.
“This doesn’t replace television or cinema. Nothing goes away. People said radio was the end of literature and TV was the end of the radio. But we still read books and listen to the radio and watch TV.”
– Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus Rift
Virtual 360-degree experience is remarkably close to reality. No catalogue, photos, or videos can match this. Because customers require a lot of information before they make a buying decision. They read trip details, view images, watch videos, read reviews, and much more. However, VR adoption shortens this process.
Businesses can also provide ancillary services using AR for other brands by displaying (through AR-enabled shopping) their products on their properties.
The AI-enabled system makes travel bookings fast, efficient, and traveller friendly. AI in travel can help automate complex data management tasks like report generation, complying with regional laws, guest verification through biometrics, and so on.
For example, AI systems can capture your picture at the airport, verifying it with your boarding pass. Dehumanizing the boarding processes. Similarly, self-help kiosks are already used at many airports.
OTA platforms like Skyscanner, Booking.com, and Expedia already use chatbots to assist users with the booking process.
One of the problems at airports is baggage tracking. Since airports handle millions of bags each year, they struggle with lost baggage claims. The Netherlands Eindhoven airport has solved this problem using a smart baggage handling system. The AI system does not require printed baggage tags. The airport relies on image recognition algorithms to track and trace the exact location of the luggage.
Whether it is smart environment control inside hotel rooms or hassle-free check-ins at airports using beacons, IOT can improve the efficiencies of the existing workflows. Here, hardware sensors act as the data-gathering tool. From the business point-of-view, IOT can be used to automate tasks like:
Do you know that booking platforms like Expedia charge up to a 30% platform fee as a commission?
Blockchain technology helps travel businesses eliminate mediators and agent fees. That is charged at the expense of the traveller or accommodation provider. Blockchain platforms like Winding Tree entirely focus on democratizing travel bookings by directly connecting customers with airlines or hoteliers. That is direct distribution through decentralized marketplaces.
Blockchain is also transforming the hotel review system. Travel companies often pay people to post fake reviews. Sometimes big companies pay other popular websites to remove negative reviews. The blockchain platforms like Review Network are disrupting this space. Blockchain technology helps get rid of fake reviews in many ways. One of them is the blockchain token economics system. It rewards the reviewers with crypto coins.
The possibilities are limitless. The travel industry is rapidly adopting digital technologies to stay relevant and “wow” customers with mind-blowing experiences.
With the next-gen traveller driving every new trend, only the savviest travel brand that keeps an eye on the latest technology brands – finds ways to apply them in the customer journey can deliver the ultimate travel experience. It is clear from the digital trends that companies that do not undergo digital transformation will lose their competitive edge.
Now, the key challenges faced by travel business owners are: