As 2014 approaches, it’s always important to catch up with current technology trends to properly prepare for the coming year. HotelNewsNow recently released their top ten list of the most important travel and technology travel distribution trends for 2014:
- New patterns of content challenge distribution: New types of content are affecting the traditional travel distribution channels, like the GDS. With new tools like Internet clouds and online communications, consumers are able to access real-time information and connect with travel companies more effectively, and companies are better able to collect and integrate itinerary data, without the GDS.
- Less is better: People get overwhelmed with too many choices so travel companies should target travelers’ specific needs. “The new traveler, the millennial as we call him today, embraces technology and embraces all devices, and he wants to be shown the right information for what he needs,” says Florence Kaci, Marketing Specialist and PhoCusWright’s Sales Director. Because millennials use mobile technology very frequently, it is imperative that travel companies pare down the information and presentation of their mobile sites to properly accommodate the smaller screen size.
- Social technologies change travel: “Facebook alone has more than 1billion users, while social media in general, reaches 85% of the world’s total internet users,” says Cees Bosselaar, Director of Business Development at PhoCusWright. Engage with target customers on social media because it is not going away.
- New technology re-energizes the customer experience: Determine how best to utilize the latest customer service technology to minimize costs and maximize customer experience.
- Cross-platform data access engages users: Today’s customers use many different digital devices to research and book travel, making it important for travel companies to provide mobile and tablet-compatible websites and booking tools. Consider using HTML 5, which is coded to work on all devices, regardless of different browsers and interfaces.
- A cloudy future beats no future at all: Cloud services reduce IT costs and allow customers to seamlessly integrate their hotel stays with other aspects of their itinerary. Kaci says, “Travel companies must really aggressively consider some spend as a business value when it comes to cloud computing.”
- Intermediaries require fresh approaches throughout the travel cycle: The report states that “Instead of just selling the best airfare between Point A and Point B, intermediaries will have to provide the best (or lowest-cost) travel experience as a whole. This new imperative requires (sometimes drastic) changes- and investment- in technology, training, customer service time, and service delivery tools. If intermediaries can’t make the needed changes, they will cede shopping to suppliers.”
- Big data makes travel smarter: Big data has the potential to greatly improve a customer’s travel experience. Use customer data to understand why and when travelers select to book and the way in which they book. Choice Hotelsinternational, which was observed in this study, set-up a master record for each guest and loyalty member. The company’s observations have enabled the company to offer a more effective loyalty program, which delivers $1 out of every $3 in revenue.
- Better travel management through predictive analysis: Business intelligence tools have allowed the travel industry to flourish, but each company should focus on how to update their usage as they evolve. “Travel companies need to determine their own ‘best practices’ for optimizing content acquisition and distribution. Doing so involves acquiring the appropriate tools and establishing business processes and management structures to monitor, analyze and respond to channel business intelligence.”
- Short-range communications links improve processes: Tap into the potential that Bluetooth and other devices provide. You can use radio-frequency identification (RFIC) and near-field communications (NFC) for room entry devices and payment delivery.
Do you think that any key trends were overlooked in this list?
Read more about the study here: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/12773/10-travel-technology-and-distribution-trends