WATCH: are travel brands keeping up with the connected traveller?

Big brands in the travel sector met last week to discuss the age of the 'connected' traveller and whether or not companies are keeping up with their tech savvy customers.

The modern traveller: highly connected, increasingly digital. They expect a fast, seamless and easy experience when they deal with travel brands. 

New research carried out by BIO Agency surveyed 2,000 UK adults who have been on a holiday in the past year to find out what customers expect, and where the travel industry might be falling short. Peter Veash, CEO at BIO Agency, told Marketing: "We’re here today because the travel sector is changing. Many brands are coming in and changing what we know today".

According to Veash, the travel industry is struggling to keep up with the expectations and demands of the increasingly connected traveller. 

Victoria Bacon, head of brand and business development at ABTA makes the point that technology is opening up new opportunities for customers: "Whether that’s enabling them to book online… or whether it’s enabling them to research and find out about their holidays, travel businesses tend to use technology perhaps in different ways".

"Some of them will still be very much people led, and will use technology perhaps to support the booking process. Other travel companies will use it in a much more cohesive, comprehensive way across their researching, booking, buying, and indeed returning from their holidays".

Co-founder and CTO of luxury travel company Mr & Mrs Smith, Tamara Lohan has seen the way customers interact with her brand change dramatically over the years: "We started out as a very analogue company… we did two [guide books] before the internet became a huge thing in 2005 and we built the bookable website."

"We’re trying be a hybrid. Quite a while ago we realised that customers didn't conform to one channel or one means of communication, because of that personalisation that we can get offline, we need to try and have that online. And all the data that we have online we need to be able to show to our consultants in an offline environment".

According to the report customer expectations include personalisation, fast feedback, consistency of brand behaviour, seamless cross-device experiences and having their needs anticipated. Veash told Marketing that increased contact at all points leading up to, during, and after the trip is essential in improving the experience.

For Bacon, it’s all about striking the right balance: ‘There’s definitely more that businesses can do  and I think it’s a learning process. Part of it is about embracing experiments…but also then I think not necessarily going after every technology solution when it costs a lot of money and a lot of resource and time.'


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