Travel Trends

We are in one of the most creative and critical eras of digital empowerment where every place, device, interaction and journey experience is now a touch point. In other words, the sum of the travel technology solutions, services and interactions provided across touch-points – pre travel, travel and post travel, is BIGGER than the destination itself. Digitalization of travel is impossible to ignore.

In 2016, travel will go into overdrive with seamless services, connecting technologies, and redefining guest interactions. From crew assist technologies and infotainment to mobility in Travel – it’s time to step up and utilize the “on-demand economy” in the movement of people, experiences and services. As a global provider of travel technology solutions, IGT is at the forefront of many changes and we’re meeting these advances headfirst for the travel and hospitality industry.

Today’s traveller’s always on. So you are pressed to deliver better, faster and further. Mobilization, personalization and socialization will establish the ‘wonder and magic’ associated with travel with connected experience. In this blog I’ll cover ‘IGT’s 12 trends for travel industry: The journey becomes the destination’.

1) SMARTER Personal.Social.Mobile drives 2016:
Seamless and connected experience means we have to power and unify data-on-demand, entertainment-on-demand and experiences-on-demand at the right time, right platform, and right solution for the right passenger. From booking to boarding, eating to entertainment, information to in-flight services, digital to destination, the journey will become service driven, seamless and smarter. The journey is the destination.

  • 72% air passengers are willing to share personal data with travel providers.
  • 65% of airlines plan to offer complete personalized services by 2018

2) Prepare for Bleisure Travellers:
Bleisure are travellers who mix leisure activities on the business travel. Bleisure travellers are quickly mixing business with pleasure as they add tours, city stays and even bring their partners for a getaway with work. They rate ‘experiencing everyday life in another country’ and ‘increasing knowledge’ are top travel motivations for Millennial travelers.

In 2016 Business Travel is forecasting a 12 percent growth. And 94% of younger travellers (18-35) are ‘more than’ or ‘equally’ likely to take a bleisure trip in the next five years – significantly higher than the worldwide average, paving way for a whole new class of traveller touch-points.

3) It’s all App’ening now:
The new mantra is ‘MyTravel, MyWay’. By 2017, 3-billion people will have access to Mobile internet and in 2015, 42% of global travellers were mobile and 94% – researching things to do. So if you are a hospitality co., airline, car rental or an OTA, you need to be connected with each other and your consumer. Internet access is a ‘must’ hotel amenity for both leisure and business travelers. Smaller but critical functions like pricing and queue management will become more automated and integrated.

Apps will affect not only the way travel is planned, but how travellers consume and experience the destination itself. Travellers’ expect access the local happenings, know the closest park, go for a boat ride or visit the local art show. And this information needs to be at a touch of screen. They are not looking for tweets or treats. They want everything at once.

4) Technology to drive seamless personalized travel:
Technology has become so entrenched in everything we do irrespective of the industry, that we can actually all be called a “Technology companies”. When interfacing with customer mobility and personalization seamlessness has become a requirement. Three notable touch-points will be devices, services and partners. From airline ancillary services to in-flight services we are looking at a wishing well for personalization.

Today, it’s a “Smart” world -100% of airlines are investing in mobile services, as are 84% of airports.

5) Smart Destinations:
Devices, connectivity, and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT market in 2020 as per research reports. Currently there are 28 mega-cities – 16 in Asia, 4 in Latin America, 3 each in Africa and Europe, and 2 in Northern America. They are poised to become smart destinations as connectivity enters each and every aspect of our lives.  Today, we can lock a car from our phones, adjust the temperature or even turn off the TV with a simple app. As “Smart” goes both micro and macro, the rise of smart cities or destinations will be the future.

6) P’ for Personalization, ‘P’ for Profit:
And ‘P’ for people in the ‘Age of the consumer.’  In the ever changing dynamics of social, apps, chats and channels from the existing fours P’s of marketing, it’s the recent fifth ‘P’ for ‘Personalization’ that the most profitable right now. Personalization is critical for travel providers seeking to drive customer centricity and engagement. Airlines alone can unlock $130 billion+ in revenue for by 2020 with personalization.

The elusive ‘personalization’ comes from profiling data, contextualizing content and channels, and is delivered across touch-points that seamlessly. Looking future forward, by 2018, half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing.

7) Internet of Things (IoT) will be adopted widely across the hospitality industry:
The trend of digitizing physical products is here to stay. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. Devices, connectivity, and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT market in 2020. And the travel industry is leading the IoT initiative with an average spend per company of $128 million in 2015. IoT initiatives like smart watches, smart sensors in airplane engines, beacons in airports and keyless hotel room entry are all having a profound impact on the industry.

8) Guest data, Big expectations:
By shrinking data footprints, optimizing your existing investments, and aligning experiences with people, travel can become a case study for matching data with expectations. As guest data grows, so will expectations for a unique and immersive experience. In a first-of-its-kind hospitality solution, IGT and CHG partnered to develop Cachet World, CHG’s proprietary technology platform, bringing greater mobility and seamless control across segments including hotels, residential, restaurants and entertainment, enabling significant value to guest and owners.

This partnership will see IGT as launch partner, working with CHG on the design, functionality and evolution of Cachet World. It’s a mark of things to come, and those who innovate will move forward.

9) The multi-channel contact center: Social/Voice/Digital.
Gartner estimates state that 75% of the total market in 2014 was made up of voice-based services, while the other 25% was made up of non-voice services. For example, IGT’s 11 global BPM centers are more voice-driven; but keenly integrating IT and digital mechanisms. There is need for higher competencies and new roles both for customer service teams and the BPO providers, in the changing ecosystem of travel. And paired with mobility, smart machines and personalization requires knowing and working with automated systems and data. Few data numbers:

  • 87% increase in non-voice customer service engagements
  • Earns double (9.7% vs. 3.9%) customer satisfaction year-on-year

11) Airports become the destination:
From Singapore’s Changi airport to Seoul’s Incheon Airport, airports are reinventing themselves around user experience. The airport is also witnessing the collision of Operations Technology with automated Technology and IoT. In the future more airports will be autonomously connected across all end points, stakeholders and services to enable the world of connected “things.” Airline will become a mini-city with experiences driving its destination reputation. From self check-ins to dining or spas, airports will be more than just take off and landing.
• More than 22% of airlines are expecting to offer beacons or kiosks by 2018.
• Critical data share with on-ground crew during irops
• As for the travellers, “42% passengers look for support in the airport, whether finding their way around, accessing lounges or the aircraft, providing identification at checkpoints, or making payments”.

12) Tailoring the in-flight experience:
If airports are making unique amenities for the traveller’s in-airport experience, airlines cannot be far behind. At present, 59 airlines provide passenger in-flight connectivity services via satellite or ATG networks. The total revenue from passenger connectivity services is expected to grow from $440 million in 2013 to $2.1 billion by 2023. From crew management to personalized in-flight ambience and sale of ancillary services, automation will be key to experience.

IGT’s In-flight POS application automates the end-to-end inventory management to provide crew with real-time inventory and passenger updates enabling them to service the passengers better.

The travel is a complex place, with multiple layers and hundreds of stakeholders including ancillary vendors, BPO service providers, Airlines, Cruise, OTA, IT software providers, and passengers. Intelligent automation of services, technology and people is only the tip of the “experiential” ice-berg to hit Travel. Creating targeted and personalized communications and services with big data from travel’s multiple stakeholders will be critical in today’s travel world. Lead the change.

About the Author:

IGT CEO

Vipul Doshi, CEO – IGT

Mr.Vipul Doshi, CEO IGT, is the recognized authority with over 20 years of experience in the areas of travel, technology and consulting across the globe. Serving at the helm of IGT for the past 13 years, Vipul Doshi has been instrumental in leading IGT to be recognized as one of the Top 3 IT & BPM service provider for the Travel & Hospitality industry.