The rise of the DIY traveller has been well-documented by the industry over the past few years. Digital marketing agency e3 released a white paper last year entitled 'Digital Trends for the Travel Industry in 2015 and Beyond', highlighting 'DIY travel' as one of the top four trends to watch. But does this trend mean the death of the package holiday? Or is the traditional package set to evolve and take on a new form? A form which the forward-thinking travel business can use to their advantage?
To meet the needs of the DIY traveller, travel companies need to utilise their access to customer data and high-spec technology in order to create a digital experience that enables customers to plan and book with ease and convenience - thus serving them on their own terms. However, this has also resulted in many businesses de-bundling the package holiday as we have traditionally known it so that their customers can create their own experience from scratch.
Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, touched on the subject at a recent press conference. He was quoted by Tnooz as stating that "sales of [traditional] package holidays have declined because what people are doing now is that there's so much readily available low-fares and services that people go online and book their own accommodations... that concept only existed 45 years ago because it was the only way you could get a cheap fare."
Ryanair's CMO, Kenny Jacobs, added that, although package holidays are still popular in some countries such as Scandinavia, "the UK and Ireland are more like the American market, where people choose to package their own holidays".
Travel businesses might want to consider taking a leaf from Ryanair's book as the airline announced its own digital strategy will focus on "encouraging more of this mix-and-match holiday planning". Their idea is to ensure they offer a range of accommodation options that will "fit certain European markets" in order to encourage customers to book a place to stay with them after purchasing flights. They also plan to develop their content and social space to offer more themed holiday deals.
Ryanair are in talks with a variety of tourism organisations as well as hoteliers, seeking to expand their inventory and, as a result, the package combinations they can offer.
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