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Naturally, one of the most significant and continuous trends from 2018 is the widespread use of mobile devices within tourism. In the travel and hospitality industries, the use of smartphones to search for and book trips has undoubtedly increased. Booking.com revealed that 80% of customers search for information on their own mobile devices (TechRadar). Additionally, Sojern Global Travel Insights found that 40% of travel searches in Europe are conducted on a mobile device. Trusted channels to search for destinations, hotels and restaurants have also evolved this year.
The transformation of TripAdvisor has been an exciting update to the travel industry. TripAdvisor has developed into a more personalized and helpful social media channel, allowing users to have a deeper social experience and connecting them with others in the travel community. The aim is to inspire travelers with trusted advice and and relevant information. Check out the new TripAdvisor here!
The act of personalization went back to basics in 2018. In today’s digital economy, the ease of obtaining personal information about followers and customers has gotten much easier. As a result, many tourism organizations are individualizing their offers. During the 2018 Phocuswright Conference, Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer at AccorHotels, revealed that 80% of guests are willing to share their information to get a more personalised stay (Travolution). Essentially, guests are freely providing their personal data in order to have a better experience. To stay competitive, hotels must focus on providing the best experience and many are turning to data to help them do just that. Aberdeen Group Inc. (via Internet Retailer) claims that "companies with the strongest customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies."
Additionally, Google Research reveals, “57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors.” Google also unveiled that "if a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% would be likely to pay more for their services.” Demand is affecting supply as customers are not only willing, but expecting to pay for an experience and brand that caters to their needs and desires. A customer-centric approach is becoming the most imperative business practice, rather than a product focus as seen in past years.
Not only are hotels getting more personalized, but they are becoming more innovative. One trend from 2018 Travel Appeal is excited about was the rapid emergence of Smart Hotels. In 2017, we predicted this trend would gain traction in the hospitality industry over the next few years and are delighted about its integration momentum. Many hotels welcomed technology that allows guests to utilize a digital receptionist from a mobile app or in-room tablet. Guests can do anything from order room service to ask for additional pillows. Hoteliers are also relying on artificial intelligence to provide personalized suggestions to guests about what to do and see in the selected city, based on demographics, behaviors and preferences. Hotels are embracing facial recognition room keys and touchscreen check-in and check-out products. By automating the concierge and reception functions, hoteliers can spend more time developing their business strategies.
What innovations can we look forward to in 2019? How will the hospitality and travel industries be impacted from the emergence of AI technology? We’ll have to wait and see!
What inspired you in the world of hospitality, tourism and technology this year? What emerging trends were your favorites? What changes had the biggest impact on you or your business? Let us know in the comments!