Today's travellers are looking for a more personalised, seamless mobile experience and many also demand unique travel features. But with the increasing competition in the travel sector and with marketing and data processing expenses continuously growing, travel brands are finding it difficult to keep customers happy while maintaining strong margins. There is a way out of this situation and the opportunity lies in the advanced technology and the enhanced travel options technology can offer.
Here are the trends shaping online travel today and some tips from Amadeus and Skift on how to get them right.
- Make sure your customers don't have to go anywhere else when booking their trip. This means making your travel shopping experience more relevant to users by offering everything they need for their trip. That includes flight tickets, hotel rooms, car rental, user reviews, dinner and theatre reservations and pretty much everything you can think of.
Online travel brands are recommended to continuously seek ways to provide more relevant options to their customers, such as extra airline services like checked luggage or premium seats. Through technology investments, brands can continue to enhance the user experience, from making mobile navigation easier to offering more services through their website, so that travellers can have all they need for their trip in one place.
- Search is still a big thing. Optimising search and shopping is still a priority for online travel brands and today it is more important than ever. In order to succeed online, travel brands need to enable users to quickly and effectively organise and process the searches they conduct every day.
Today, there are new opportunities in the search optimisation field and many of them emerged thanks to technology and business intelligence advancements. There are websites offering curated search results based on the fastest, cheapest or most popular airfare options, while others allow users to store search queries and retrieve them later. According to Expedia, customers search for flights online around 48 times before actually booking their trip. By analysing their travel search data, online travel brands can also offer travellers more relevant information and customise results before the shopping process even begins.
- Work together, rather than against each other. In the past online travel was mainly focused on serving leisure customers, but in recent years online travel brands and business travellers have realised that it is valuable for both parties to work together. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses, as online travel brands can offer better contracted airfares together with hotel rooms, providing more affordable offers to business travellers. Employee travellers are happy too, as booking with online travel providers gives them the same advantages, such as loyalty and frequent flyer credit, that they would get from booking direct with the airline and hotel.