Remember the days when people booked trips through travel agents or by calling an airline or hotel directly? Then the Internet came along, and it completely changed the landscape – and consumer behavior. Suddenly, Web self-service became the norm and travel agents wound up on the endangered list. Airlines, hotels, and tour companies found themselves adapting in ways they never anticipated.
Today it’s clear we’ve entered the era of Travel Tech 2.0: Websites and apps let travelers book flights and hotel rooms at the click of a mouse, board airplanes and check in at hotels electronically, open doors to hotel rooms using digital keys, access car- and bike-sharing services, and more. Meanwhile, radical advances in artificial intelligence and analytics have changed the face of marketing and customer relationships.
The common theme?
“Travel and hospitality leaders are providing their customers with frictionless travel experiences,” said Yutta Shelton, Deloitte Consulting’s hospitality leader, in an interview with CMO.com. “Business and leisure travelers expect to be engaged throughout their journey in a way that is both personal and efficient. Time is precious, and expectations are that the experience will be delightful.”
For airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour companies, and others, opportunities abound to take marketing, sales, and the travel experience to greater heights.
“Travelers now live in a digital world,” said Carlos Garcia, CEO of HYP3R, a firm that offers a location-based marketing platform. “They expect convenience and value. If you deliver it, they can become ambassadors for your brand.”
Make no mistake: Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), geolocation, augmented reality, virtual reality, and more are going mainstream. At the same time, consumer sentiment is changing, said Julie Hoffman, global head of industry strategy and marketing for travel at Adobe. (CMO.com is owned by Adobe.)
“Expectations and behavior—including the way travelers view brands and the ways they deliver value—is being redefined,” she told CMO.com.
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