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Digital technology has forever changed the travel industry, and now there’s no going back. Video, social media, and online reviews have replaced the role of travel agents, and new technologies like mobile and virtual reality are giving consumers new ways to plan their next vacation.
For travel brands, this presents many new opportunities to engage with connected consumers, who leave behind an ever-growing trail of data that can be used to improve business and enhance the customer experience. After all, the experience is the product when it comes to the travel industry, and everything from the online purchase journey to staying in a hotel can be enhanced using a number of tech trends.
Invisible analytics, for example, allow hotels to get smarter by collecting information on guests and their behavior which can be used to better the facilities, sell add-on services, and inform new service/product development. Businesses can improve their performance while customers receive benefits that seamlessly enhance their traveling experience.
Each traveler is different, so brands must put their unique wants and needs at the heart of their innovations. Whether they offer customers a device or app to help with packing, a local traveler chat service, or a way to keep tabs on their kids, the smart hotel must be a consumer-led revolution if it is too excel.
Another tech trend that presents both the travel industry and consumers with unique opportunities is the wearable device. Wearables can offer a personalized travel service based on their owner’s past and present behavior, as well as the convenience of carrying a digital backpack equipped with identification documents, payment methods, guidebooks, maps and much more.
For brands, wearables can be used to connect with travelers on an individual level to appeal to their specific interests and tastes. This kind of intimate brand and consumer relationship builds loyalty and trust, provided that consumers are willing to share their personal data and that it be kept safe-guarded.
These new opportunities do not come without major challenges though. The travel marketplace has become increasingly fragmented and overcrowded, and competition is often disruptive. Companies that want to best understand and anticipate future developments in the market will need to examine each and every step of the purchase journey to find success.
And those that do take advantage of the data that consumers are willing to give them must use it wisely. Travel brands have the ability to make smarter business decisions and target marketing and advertising messages more effectively, but they need to demonstrate how new technology can add value for the consumer and make the benefits clear. For the travel industry to evolve in the digital age, connected consumers must be put at the heart of its innovations.
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