Travel has always been a collection of experiences, but disruptors inside and outside the industry like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and Apple have raised the stakes: Travelers now demand experiences that are authentic, co-created and immediate. How do you proceed? By ditching the map and discovering new ways of thinking and doing.
Stop following the path—and forge your own.
Traditional boundaries are changing. In addition to selling their own wares online, travel brands will increasingly bring third-party products to the table. Beyond the online offering, this shift will also transform the in-destination experience. But first, brands must revisit their technology architectures.
As technology progresses, so will the overwhelming number of travel channels, formats and choices. To reach weary travelers seeking a respite from the noise, brands need to sharpen the who, what, where, when and why of their messaging. Precision will be the answer to oversaturation.
A revolution in how, when and where people work is reinventing business travel. The 9-to-5 no longer has a time zone, and corporate travelers, booking agents and event planners are demanding the same streamlined, customer-centric experiences they get as leisure travelers. Now’s the time to rethink your B2B value proposition.
Patterns among travel industry data breaches reveal cyber criminals are seizing on loyalty data as loot. To lock in future revenue, brands need to lock up this treasure trove of personal information. The urgent need for security will trigger a major change, ending the era of evolving rewards and redefining how the industry thinks about loyalty—its most precious asset.
ETA: Innovation en route
Get a glimpse at several other important changes on the horizon:
- Travel with a moral compass: People are seeking ethical travel with companies that are authentic, transparent and conscious about their regional, environmental and social impact. Example: Fairbnb.
- Destination—Wellness: Beyond spas, retreats and healthy dining, travelers are now looking for brands that embrace wellness as a core value. Example: Hyatt hires a global head of well-being.
- A new revolution in transportation: Life-changing transit innovations are inviting people to rethink the concepts of distance, affordability and the travel experience itself. Example: The Hyperloop.