Over the last decade or two, we've seen a complete transformation in the way the online travel industry operates – most notably to the 'customer experience' side of things, which has enabled travellers to take trips on a whim, and even research and book via their mobile devices. Since the turn of the century, in particular, we've come on leaps and bounds. So, looking into our crystal ball, what does the future hold for online travel businesses? It's an exciting prospect...
An article on Huffington Post explores three predictions:
Last-minute, shorter trips
With the ever-increasing pace of everyday life, more and more travellers will opt for spontaneous, shorter trips; choosing long weekend breaks over fortnight holidays. Consumers will continue to redefine the meaning of "holiday", and online travel companies must evolve and adapt, helping travellers to enrich their lives through exploring more of the world.
An ever-increasing shift towards digital
Mobile is almost certainly going to be the dominant booking device in the future, and we're also likely to witness new and improved wearables and other gadgets. Consumers are already increasingly turning to their mobile device to book trips – this is a trend that will continue to grow over the coming years. After all, mobile means instant travel plans from any location, at any time.
An article on Tnooz believes that, by 2020, mobile will be at the heart of everything – at the moment, it says, we're probably only halfway there.
When you think of Millennials, you should no longer be picturing groups of teenagers and students. Millennials – born between the years of 1980 and 1996 – currently reside in the 19 to 35 age group. As they get older, earn more money, have families etc., they will naturally begin to travel even more. And, because they've grown up in a digital age, they love to share their experiences with others. Online travellers should embrace this user-generated information to enrich the experiences of other users.
Additionally, Millennials have grown up in a world where content is at their fingertips at all times, and are heavily into their research. According to IBM, 93% of Millennials make use of the "digital grapevine". They also expect "hyper-responsive" experiences – so companies that want to succeed need to make sure they keep Millennials at the forefront of their marketing minds.
One of the most prominent developments in the travel industry has to be the overall customer experience – travellers have now come to expect a seamless, smooth process when visiting an online travel site. Is your website future-proof?