There is no question that travel is becoming more personal. Today, you are perfectly welcome to stay in a stranger's home when travelling to a new city (think Airbnb) or rent a shared car for an hour at a time to suit your needs (think Zipcar). The technology that surrounds us and has become so inherent in our lives, means that we are rapidly moving towards an everyone-to-everyone economy (E2E).
The rapid growth of cloud, social media, mobile and analytics means that customers and businesses are working as one to create value and a whole new experience for us all. We have moved from a world dictated by PCs, the Internet and mobiles into a new phase of technological change. In a study by IBM, "The Digital Reinvention of Travel: Following Travellers into Radically Different Tomorrows," we see the four trends that are changing the E2E economy in the travel industry. These are:
This allows customers and organisations to interact with one another in new and exciting ways, such as computing without boundaries, content on-demand across multiple platforms and access to business applications.
As social continues to evolve it is now in a revenue-generating phase, meaning it is a sharing platform, collaborative forum and business model. This added value is something that the travel industry can take advantage of as sites such as Groupon drive forward the sharing economy development.
We're not just talking about mobile any more; it's all about mobility and miniaturisation. This translates into location-based services that utilise GPS (global positioning systems) and highly targeted retail opportunities. As mobile devices continue to reduce in size we have moved from hand-held to wearable devices. These new capabilities, along with the advent of the 'mobile wallet' are totally transforming the customer experience and creating a world of opportunity for travel businesses.
Once upon a time there was a limit to how far we could analyse data and gain customer insight. With the arrival of big data, however, these boundaries have been lifted and the travel industry can benefit from far deeper, smarter business intelligence. This new advanced analytics creates data that is as descriptive as it is predictive. This has resulted in fully integrated data sources and highly personalised customer and travel experiences.
To keep up with this fast-paced digital transformation travel businesses need to remain innovative, be open to influences, connect to new partners and become part of these new and emerging ecosystems.