February 6, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
The state of travel planning is continually shifting and evolving, and one of the key players in the travel industry, whether direct or indirect, is Google. Travelers are increasingly relying on search tools and the wider internet, such as blogs and other travel sites when it comes to planning their trips.
However, it is clear from the statistics that, unfortunately, despite the myriad of digital tools available, travelers are still not quite able to find what they are looking for. A recent study conducted by Google and Phocuswright sheds some light on the current state of travel planning and what key issues travelers are facing in today's digital age:
1) "Am I confident in my travel decisions?"
One of the major pain points for travelers today is confidence in their decisions. The study reports that "more than half - 55% - say they have to check too many sources before they can make a decision, which creates stress."
There are thousands of resources that travelers can use, and that knowledge can often hamper the experience. Travelers are increasingly seeking solutions where they can compare options in one place or simply book things easily without needing to check multiple sources.
Travel companies must implement solutions that address the confidence issue. By providing authentic and practical recommendations from one platform, they can help travelers become more confident in their decisions before and during trips.
2) Travel that is quick, efficient and provides value for money
Travelers are now savvy enough to understand that the wealth of resources available to them also means that they have increased options to find travel solutions that provide value for money spent. Solutions that wed this value with speed and efficiency are the ones that will have long-term success.
According to the study, Google recommends that travel companies begin to focus more on using speed and efficiency as methods to attract new segments of users, such as those on mobile. By providing speedy, relevant and personalized information via mobile, travel companies can increase engagement with their customers.
Furthermore, another recommendation from the study is that that brands must develop strategies that also focus on providing timely and proactive suggestions during the trip (as well as before travelers depart) in order to maximize impact. Companies must ensure their engaging travelers at various stages of the travel lifecycle, not just the planning stage.
3) Increased personalization
The third, and frankly, most important insight: travel is increasingly heading towards personalization. Brands that are not able to adapt to this trend are the ones that are increasingly being left behind in a competitive marketplace.
There are two key takeaways from the study related to this:
- "The survey found that 36% of U.S. travelers would pay more for information and experiences that have been tailored based on their preferences or past behavior."
- "Travelers are 'more curious, demanding and impatient than ever before,' and brands that will win them over are the ones that meet their needs quickly, easily and with personalized solutions."
The message is clear: brands that invest in solutions that personalize the traveler's experience will see major returns on that investment, because that directly taps into a traveler need. There is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution that can be used for travelers. Instead, brands need to focus on cultivating a reputation that is based on personalizing the travel experience for each customer - every time.
The curiosity and demand that travelers possess will only increase as digital tools continue to evolve. However, as technology continues to become increasingly sophisticated, it is likely that travelers will continue to expect that travel brands evolve alongside.
The best way for brands to demonstrate this evolution is to invest in strategies that are grounded in providing convenience, authenticity and personalization. These are the three most crucial elements of the travel experience that customers crave, and solutions that address these points are the ones that will see the most success.