Digital technology is transforming the landscape of the travel and tourism industry. Handheld devices are increasingly influencing the way in which travellers, not only decide their travel destinations, but also the ways in which travellers move, where they stay and their vacation activities.
Smartphones have become the first choice instruments for making travel plans. Vacationers execute their searches for travel destinations, and close deals by making payments through mobile wallets, or alternative payment systems, or simply migrate to the desktop to close the deal. The savvy travel company must look to personalize the experience of the mobile using travelers. Millennial travelers tend to be far more spontaneous in making travel decisions, often looking at stay arrangements only after arriving at their destination. Mobility services that establish collaborative arrangements with hotels or home-stays that offer discounts or deals based on a traveler’s real time location enjoy a definite advantage. Customer reliance on mobile has to be complemented by the ability of industry to provide a real time and secure experience.
While it may be early to write an obituary for the hotel industry, there is a growing trend of travellers looking for alternative accommodation to experience a differentiated holiday. Home-stays, and vacations in native locales are attracting traveller attention because of the advantage of economy and for the immersive experience. Travel sites focus must turn to inclusion of these options in the search results.
Customer management based on big data analytics is a trend that has caught on with the major hotel chains which make experiences special by personalizing customer preferences. Frequent guests are pampered with preferred room reservations, dietary provisions, and local travel arrangements intuitively prompted by data analytics linked to past trends and behaviours. The analytics tools are sophisticated and generate diverse results depending upon whether the guest is on a business visit or a pleasure trip. Analytical output also provides travellers with predictive airfare pricing and trends.
Streamlined virtual holidays on the websites of hotel companies allow a prospective traveler to have a foretaste of an exotic holiday destination while relaxing in his armchair. The experience is designed to tempt the traveller to indulge in his wanderlust and reserve his tickets and even hotel reservations. Virtual holidays could be an industry game-changer with definitive high resolution experiences for holiday seekers.
Conventionally, travel and hospitality have been built on the foundation of being one-to-one industries that provide personalized services. Recent trends demonstrate an increasing appetite of travellers for self-service. Mobile apps that allow travellers the option of staying in a hotel with a minimum interaction with staff are discovering an increasing clientele. At airports, travellers engage in tagging their own baggage, check it in themselves and even cancel reservations and rebook missed flights from their mobile devices. At hotels, a downloaded app allows guests to open the room door, control the television, order toiletries and towels, and order room service.
Digital technology will make the travel experience more personalized and more encompassing!