October 31, 2017, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
Like any other industry, travel has been subject to a massive amount of digital disruption, and consumers are loving it. With the increase in access to information via the internet, as well as a host of other sources online, customers are able to create a travel experience for themselves that may not have been possible before.
But with the trend shifting towards consumer access to information, many in the travel industry have struggled to keep up. In order to weather the shifting tide, it is increasingly important to master digital innovation and create an experience that will keep travelers wanting more.
With that in mind, Qubit recently performed a study to understand where the future of digital innovation in travel lies, and what travel professionals must keep in mind as they continue to evolve with this shift.
Here are the three key trends you need to know from their study:
1) Right data + right tech = success
This one goes right back to the basics, but it is worth repeating because this is the trend that will continue to dominate. It is absolutely essential to invest in the right data and the right technology, and capitalize on that killer combination.
Without the right technology, it will be difficult to keep up with the competition and differentiate. Now more than ever, there is an access to structured data like never before. Combine that with the right technology, and that is the true recipe for success.
The right data will give you key insights on demographics, sales patterns, customer behavior and a host of other information. Invest in the right tools and technology to capture this data and use it towards building a customer experience like no other.
2) Personalization is key
This trend ties back to the earlier point: it really centers around using structured data to capture customer attention and to personalize their experiences. Customers are increasingly seeking out travel that is tailored to their interests and needs, and ensures that they have a unique, authentic experience.
The only way to accomplish this is to incorporate personalization into every part of the strategy. Use captured data to understand exactly what it is your customers are coming to you for, and tailor their experiences accordingly. As the report states, with the right personalization platform in place, brands can understand and create actionable insights around "potentially valuable segments" and really drive success across multiple channels.
3) AI needs to be a priority
The future of technology tends to go down the same path: artificial intelligence. Companies that understand AI and how it can be utilized within their brand are the ones that will likely have the best success. Artificial intelligence needs to be a priority because it is a combination of the earlier two points - technology and data - and perfectly masters both.
Artificial intelligence is capable of providing robust data and actionable insights on demographics, while also helping build your brand's success. This also ties back to the earlier point of investing in the right technology that will ultimately yield the right results for both you and your customers.
The report does make a key distinction though when it comes to the usage of artificial intelligence. For bookings that have levels of complexity, human experience will be the better bet. However, for simple and straightforward bookings, automating that will free up resources while still providing an excellent customer experience overall.
As it stands, the goal of every travel company is to provide an unparalleled experience that combines the richness of customization and personalization at a fast pace. The best way to provide that is to hone in on the digital disruption taking place and leverage that information to find a niche for your brand.