Data Science plays a key role in the progress of the travel industry. It has been noted that the number of travelling consumers using multiple devices is growing, and with that comes the concerns of privacy with private browsing and ad-blocking technologies. In response to this, CEO of European multimodal travel meta Gopili Yann Raoul said “one of the biggest challenges will be to develop reliable key performance indicators for user acquisition”. Building reliable, authoritative data sources that deliver a consistent customer ID across all platforms is the challenge set for those in technology development in 2017.
Data Science predicts continued increase in global tourism, presenting new opportunities for travel players. Cuba has been revealed as a new travel hotspot, and there is growing demand from Europe for inbound journeys to China.
It is important to bring to attention the growing distribution of Airbnb and other companies of a similar vein is the US. M&A in the hospitality space is giving rise to “super-chains”, competing against hotels and bringing about change.
For travelers who are short on time and money, the ability to compare prices, book flights, ground transport and hotels, and plan ahead from the comfort of their own home is highly desirable. With value and convenience being in highest demand, it isn’t unusual for a traveller to fly out with one airline and return home with another. In response to this, UK-based flash sales firm Secret Escapes believes that dynamic packaging is the answer. In this ever-competitive field, UK MD Sebastian Fallert commented on the increased value placed on shareable experiences and memories.
With technology and the internet being all the rage, and constantly evolving, hotels are struggling to keep up. The distribution platform Expedia is on its way to pairing up with the hotel industry, with its goal to “maximise the guest experience through technology.” All firms believe the personalisation of the guest experience is crucial to staying in the competition, but the managing director of Momondo Pia Vemmelund argues that this “has to be done intelligently”.
With so much choice, travellers sometimes find themselves overwhelmed, and the guidance of a human being can be invaluable. In order to fill this niche that has been left behind as technology advances, the former co-founder of Kayak, Paul English, is developing a travel agency app backed by humans. There is always room for the human touch.
Mike Slone, chief experience officer of Travelaer, predicts that by the end of 2018, most customers will be using chatbots rather than native travel apps. He believes that travel companies should invest in “creating conversational commerce and customer care bots” to appeal to the modern customer. Billions of people use messaging apps daily, the most popular being Facebook and WhatsApp.
As airlines continue to look for ways to drive ancillary revenue, such as the addition of seat prices post-booking and the end of free inflight meals, intercity buses are gaining popularity. Marc Hofmann, CEO of international bus search site CheckMyBus, says that its platform has 15 times as many daily bus departures as there are flights worldwide.