April 3, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
We’ve talked about it before in this blog: today’s travelers want experiences. According to Phocuswright, 80% of US travelers "participated in some type of tour, activity, event or ticketed attraction on their last leisure trip" with an even higher rate, 86%, being among travelers ages 18-34.
Furthermore, 89% of International travelers and those traveling for business and leisure also sought activities or attractions during their trips. In comparison, only 65% of travelers booked a hotel, just 42% flew, 15% chose some type of private accommodation and 21% rented a car. This shows us where priorities currently stand. Therefore, today's market requires travel companies to offer and promote in-destination experiences in order to remain competitive.
Early on the bandwagon
Intuitively, Airbnb jumped on the trend early, offering personalized exploration and experiences right in their app. Open the Airbnb app on your phone, and the first thing under the search box is Explore Airbnb, wherein you can personalize your search in three categories, Homes, Experiences and Restaurants. People are deciding where to travel based solely on the adventures that are offered. Browse experiences in your Airbnb app, and suddenly you realize that you want to go to France to do a photography tour with a French journalist or that you need to travel to Japan to spend the afternoon with a Certified Sake Professional.
The point being that if you are in any travel vertical and haven't already started to diversify and offer your customers access to in-destination activities and experiences, then the time is now. Today's travelers see the world as tiny. Consequently, they demand efficiency in all aspects of trip planning, particularly excursions and experiences. Fortunately, numerous possibilities for engaging these savvy customers are available today and can be personalized for each unique traveler.
Mobile-friendly and chatbots
First and foremost, mobile-friendly is no longer optional. If your company is trying to reach today's consumer without a mobile optimized site or app, you are way behind. With the introduction of chatbots, consumers can now access a variety of businesses through their messaging service of choice. Chatbot's ability to mimic human interaction, coupled with access to user information allows travelers to instantly customize their search. The chatbot allows them 24/7/365 access to your business.
Equally important, this also enables you to offer your customers a more complete on-the-ground experience. Given the significance of in-destination activities, this needs to be a top priority for travel companies. They should offer customers an intuitive, automated way to discover and plan tours and activities that appeal to each traveler’s unique preferences.
Trip planning: Easy, enjoyable, and personalized
#1 Easy. The purpose of a vacation is to escape. When trip planning starts to feel even remotely taxing, people are going to bail. Today’s travelers aren't looking for trip planning to feel like a part-time job.
#2 Enjoyable. With easy access to information about in-destination experiences, the planning process can be part of the fun for your customers. With a great digital experience, giving them a taste of an upcoming adventure is possible before they even pack a bag.
#3 Personal. You need the ability to offer your customers tailored marketing. A platform allowing travelers to zero in on only the activities and destinations that appeal to them will guarantee that they stick with you’re your brand throughout the travel lifecycle.
All travel companies can drive additional revenue through the promotion of in-destination tours and activities. If your business needs to catch up in these areas, the Utrip platform can help elevate your marketing. Through personalization and increased customer engagement, you will be able to give travelers the digital experience they’re looking for while driving long-term loyalty.