No industry can escape the advancement of technology – in fact, it would be silly for any industry to try. To ignore the evolution of digital technology and the world's growing dependence on online information is tantamount to self-sabotage in the business world of 2016.

And the travel industry is no different. Digital trends affect travel and hospitality businesses just like everyone else, and professionals in this area need to appreciate the importance of remaining up-to-date with the latest developments.

A recent report from Adobe highlighted this further; more than 170 senior digital marketing and ecommerce executives from hotel chains, travel agents, airlines, car hire firms and passenger ship operators were asked their opinions on the key trends affecting their digital strategies in the coming months. A number of different insights were collated:

Put mobile at the centre of a strategy

mobile

Moving on from the above point, smartphones and tablets are the perfect tools for blending offline and online experiences. By now most of us own some kind of smart device and probably use it for online research about something we've potentially seen in the real world – travel businesses need to understand that the mobile experience is directly linked to the customer experience, and focus attention on creating a strategy that incorporates mobile as much as physical marketing. Information from Travel Daily Media states that 50% of all online bookings are finalised on mobile devices, so providing an always-on, personalised strategy via such technology is crucial.

Blend the physical and digital

Those in the travel and leisure industries know that the customer experience should always be given precedence – consumers want a smooth experience from start to finish when booking a holiday or organising travel arrangements. In order to meet customer needs, travel businesses need to begin blending their physical and digital offerings. While physical ads still have a place in 2016, combining these with online ads and a digital campaign will help create a seamless experience for consumers flicking between the physical and digital worlds. Such a move will also help with customer acquisition and retention, and help a business stand out from the competition.

Silver surfers are being neglected

silver surfers

This particular insight actually comes from a different piece of research from another company – QikServe – which found that the hospitality industry is doing well in targeting tech-savvy individuals, but is focussing too much attention on millennial consumers. Silver surfers actually spend more on restaurants and hotels than any other demographic and yet are being ignored by professionals; this group has significant spending power so businesses need to ensure their digital campaigns target them, too.

The majority of businesses – ourselves included – have come to the realisation that digital is the future. Will you be changing your strategies to take the above trends into account?

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