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Opinion /

How digital innovation is transforming the travel industry

The travel industry is one of the most competitive and dynamic sectors in the global economy. With advances in technology and the rise of digital platforms continuing to transform the way we search for and book holidays, the industry is rapidly changing and evolving.

January signals the start of a key time for boosting revenue across the travel sector, with ‘Sunshine Saturday’ and the the beginning of ‘wave season’ seeing the industry enter one of its busiest months of the year. But how can digital innovation help you capitalise on this lucrative time of the year and what could the future look like for the holiday booking experience?

First and foremost, the start of a new year often inspires people to plan new experiences and set resolutions. Many people plan to travel more, whether for personal growth or simply to change up their routine. In fact a recent study found that of the 30 million British adults who made a new year’s resolution in 2023, 15% of them will be focused on travel. This comes in spite of the current financial climate and cost of living crisis, with figures indicating that people are still choosing to book holidays and cut costs elsewhere. The travel association Abta found that only 4% of those who travelled in 2022 have ruled out a further trip next year for financial reasons and 61% of all people surveyed will take some kind of holiday abroad this year. This makes January a prime time for travel companies to advertise and sell their products.

But it’s not just about the timing.

Digital innovation has already begun to transform the way we plan and book travel, making it easier and more convenient for consumers. Online booking platforms, mobile apps, and social media have all changed the way we research and purchase travel packages. Competition within the travel industry is fierce and investing in digital innovation can be especially effective in advance of particularly high sales traffic periods such as January and when emerging from a financial downturn, when everyone is vying for a piece of the travel pie.

In addition, offering a seamless and user-friendly booking process can make a huge difference in converting leads into paying customers. Consider investing in technology that streamlines the booking process and makes it as easy as possible for customers to complete a purchase. There’s also lots of opportunity to enhance other aspects of your business including introducing digital tools to improve your customer’s experience, streamlining your internal operations processes and having the ability to offer bespoke experience add ons; giving you an edge on the competition.

Customer experience questions to consider;

  1. Do you know the ways customer motivations and contexts are changing
  2. Does your value proposition, pricing models and messaging address any changing needs?

 

Keeping your travel business aligned with what your customers want is crucial to staying relevant in an ever increasingly competitive market. But don’t just take our word for it. The data speaks for itself.

According to a recent report, online travel bookings have consistently accounted for a large portion of the overall travel market, and this trend is set to significantly increase over the next few years. In fact, it’s projected that by 2026, online travel bookings will account for 74% of total revenue generated worldwide, an increase of 5% on current figures. With online bookings only set to increase, embracing digital innovation today will prevent it from becoming a barrier tomorrow. As your customers increasingly look to technology to discover, book, curate and capture their holidays, their experience expectations are being set by household shopping and entertainment brands, like Amazon and Netflix.  You need to ask yourself - will the quality of my digital experiences stack up?

Key questions to ask yourself heading into 2023;

  1. If you saw 5% of online bookings increase, how would your customer service cope? 
  2. Would they support customers efficiently? 
  3. Would they negatively impact customer experience based on wait time and quality of service? 
  4. Would they need technical solutions to empower, prioritise and take on some of the time/effort needed?
  5. Is your business ready for a 5% decrease in offline sales?

 

By introducing technology in the right places you will reduce pressure on staff resources and free up your existing resources to refocus on areas of greater importance and impact, including generating more bookings and revenue.

So, what could the future look like?

There’s no denying that technology has had a significant impact on the travel industry, making it easier and more convenient for people to plan and book their trips. But in all that innovation we’ve lost the emotiveness of the holiday booking experience. In our research we’ve found that the process isn’t one that fills potential customers with excitement but one of dread at having to search through endless choices and destination names to finally get to the good part - the actual holiday. How do we change that? Our answer was Gini - a concept for a platform that will allow you to curate, share and book the holiday you want, based only on how you want to feel when you get there.

We’ve just launched a proof of concept to give you a taste of what’s possible. Our POC provides a demo that shows what could be feasible, it’s an early stage experiment and a glimpse into the future. Come and experience Gini for yourself here.

Ultimately keeping your travel business aligned with what your customers want is crucial to staying relevant in an ever increasingly competitive market. So, if you want to boost your travel bookings this year (and beyond), it’s crucial to embrace digital innovation. By targeting the right customers, offering them a unique perspective and a seamless booking experience, you can tap into the potential of the digital world and drive bookings to new heights.

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