January 9, 2018, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
The travel industry is rapidly advancing due to technological breakthroughs as well as customers' changing needs. If you want to effectively engage with today's travelers, it's important to stay current with the latest advances. Let's look at some of the top travel trends that will be big in 2018.
Growth of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence will continue to play a major role. Travelers are always seeking the very latest and most personalized information to find the best options for flights, hotels and attractions. One of the most popular types of AI technology for travel sites are chatbots, which make it easier for visitors to quickly find what they're looking for. They also make it possible for companies to provide cheap customer service 24/7.
The travel industry relies heavily on data. Prices and availability of flights and hotels change by the second. AI technology gives you the ability to locate the best deals and most efficient routes for your customers. It also helps you fine tune the most relevant details and create personalized offers. Machine learning can identify people's unique needs, whether they require special diets on their flights, a resort with children's activities or handicap-friendly attractions. As machine learning continues to advance, it will provide many ways for travel companies to provide better and more efficient service.
Emphasis on Experiences
Travelers are increasingly seeking interesting and transformational experiences in their destinations. No longer content to passively watch and consume, they are looking to spend their time taking part in memorable activities. That's why adventure travel is such a popular trend. Whether it's swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean, exploring caves in Iceland or trekking the Himalayas, people are seeking life-changing experiences wherever they go. Whether you're targeting adventurous millennials or older travelers, look for ways to stimulate their interests and passions.
More Refined and Targeted Booking Funnels
Most people now search for travel information online. In response to this, travel companies are creating booking funnels that are more customized and relevant to different types of customers. People search for a wide variety of topics before taking a trip, including information about destinations (e.g. attractions, the best time of year to visit, weather), flights, hotels and other items. The best-converting funnels engage visitors throughout every stage of the travel lifecycle with personalized offerings.
Some people are still in the data-gathering phase while others are ready to book a trip immediately. A more sophisticated funnel might reduce the number of visits a customer needs to make to a website before actually booking. When it comes to your funnel, it's also important to ensure everything on your site can be easily accessed on all devices. Mobile-friendliness, in particular, is essential for all features.
Personalization, Personalization, Personalization
If there's one megatrend that really embodies many of the most significant travel industry changes, it's personalization. As more and more people travel, there are ever greater opportunities to sell products and services. However, it's also overwhelming for customers to sift through thousands of categories and features. That's why it's essential to personalize the shopping experience for travelers so they're seeing relevant rather than generic offers.
Travelers' needs vary based on a wide range of factors, including budget, age, geography, personal interests and whether or not they're married and/or have kids. People who visit websites don't want to spend hours searching for information, nor do they want to see ads and receive emails that aren't relevant to their needs. The more personalized your marketing and customer service, the better your results will be.
These are some of the trends that will dominate the travel industry in the next few years. Businesses that want to thrive in the future must learn to meet the changing demands of today's travelers.