We may not like change, but change is inevitable, as the unforeseen can and often does occur. The online travel market is already plagued with disruptive business models that are creating blurred lines between different industry players, and new innovative technologies like virtual reality and Chatbots are taking over. It makes sense then for your travel business to be well prepared in case the inevitable does happen.
A research study carried out by Amadeus set out to predict the possible scenarios that could potentially shape the future of the travel industry, gathering responses from a range of experts and global consumers through the use of focus groups.
Grouping together all of the key drivers currently affecting the business environment, based on the degree of their potential impact and level of predictability, the study was able to effectively predict possible threats and opportunities for existing OTA business models.
A list of 4 likely scenarios was eventually curated based on their disruption capability and probability. The 4 scenarios in question were as follows:
Mega online travel retailers
This new type of online travel retailer could rise through the consolidation of online travel agents (OTAs) and metasearch business models, including the advent of online advertising. The fine line between metasearch and OTA sites often confused travel consumers online, but in today’s ever-evolving travel industry, OTAs are uniting with metasearch companies to expand and grow their business through new and exciting advertising opportunities. This convergence is also enabling OTAs to produce more accurate information and purchase their marketing channels, enabling them to build a brand, stand out from their competition and earn more from their customers.
Digital Tour operators
The online travel market has become inundated with many travel offers from a multitude of online channels. This has changed the way in which consumers search and view information online, meaning tour operators have had to adapt and evolve, using their skills and resources to stay ahead of the curve.
To remain at the forefront of today’s overly crowded online travel market, tour operators need to enhance their visibility both on the street and on social media, inspire their customers with a stand out website, provide flexible offers, communicate through ads, and remain relevant to their customers through the use of personalisation and the ability to be flexible at all times. To achieve this, they are seeking new technologies and methods of working.
Mobile travel retailers
Go to any country, look around you, and try to spot someone not using a mobile phone, we dare you. Consumers are constantly using their mobile devices to process emails, text, shop, participate in conversations and share information. According to research, mobile subscriptions are predicted to increase to 6.1 billion worldwide by the year 2020 as costs decrease.
Many online travel agents and airlines are already distributing on multiple channels, including mobile. And due to the platforms ever increasing popularity, soon everyone operating in the travel industry will be following suit.
The travel marketplace
And finally, there’s the evolution of the online travel market as a whole. There are several big indications of what we can expect in the years to come, including more focus on flexible payment methods, as well as virtual travel assistants such as Chatbots. Looking even further to the future, we could potentially have e-commerce giants or other technology companies developing a multi-purpose platform for OTAs, airlines, hotels and other travel providers whereby customers will have a one-stop area, offering the widest range of travel products and services. Whatever the case, if travel agents want to achieve success in the travel market of the future, they will need to adjust their business model accordingly.
These are just a few of the scenarios indicated through Amadeus’s research and all very potential outcomes in the near future. That’s why travel businesses need to ensure they are responding to the changes taking place and anticipating new threats if they want to remain competitive online.
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