How to leverage technology innovations to drive travel business?

Technology has reshaped the travel industry as travellers can almost purchase any travel product on the internet. In a recent study conducted CMO Council’s Geo Branding Centre and AIG Travel, plenty of travellers agreed that the internet and technology innovations have made travel better.

Entitled “What’s Changing the Way You Travel Today”, the study revealed that nearly half of the respondents said the internet and device connectivity have made travel better. A further 42% believed technology innovations and advancements across all modes of travel have improved the experience, and 38% said tech advancements made it easier for them to find deals, discounts and destinations.

“The message from today’s leisure traveller is clear: Travel brands from airlines and resorts to destination and location marketers need to be digitally empowered and data-driven in their go-to-market practices,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, which operates the GeoBranding Centre.

“The impact and influence of how people find, select, book, secure, share and rate their travel experiences in the connected economy has brought on record travel numbers that are not likely to slow.”

In 2017, the travel and tourism industry has generated US$1.6 trillion in bookings and now accounts for 10.2% of global GDP, according to the study. Also, 4.1 billion passengers took to the air last year, while US$717 billion was spent by leisure travellers.

Asked what has prompted them to make a travel booking, 51% of travellers said “great deals and discounts”. 34% of respondents believed loyalty programmes and perks were motivators, while 32% of them said “easier, do-it-yourself” compelled them to make bookings.

When asked to identify the top travel planning innovations and developments in recent years, 49% of respondents pointed to online travel booking sites and booking assurances, including insurance coverage. An equal percent highlighted deal or discount availability.

Also, a notable 46% of respondents said online travel aggregators and booking sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity and did the best job of assisting and satisfying travelers today. These sites outperformed travel agents (32%), lodging and hospitality sites including hotels, resorts and B&Bs, as well as travel deal and savings sites, namely Travelzoo, CheapTickets, which both received a 19% share of the vote.

However, only 15% relied on their social media networks to help shape their travel choices, and only 8% pointed to political ethics, human rights practices or prejudices in travel locales as a consideration when choosing travel destinations.

“As consumers take more control over their travel booking process, all members of the travel industry must step up to deliver a seamless booking experience which, for the travel insurance segment specifically, means guiding travellers to the right products and services for their particular trip,” commented Jeff Rutledge, CEO of AIG Travel.

The research was conducted in Q3 of 2018 which highlights the results of a survey fielded to 2,000 adults in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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