Travel companies should target more specifically and jump onto social media before their position as an expert is lost to others, a new PhoCusWright report has said.
The ‘Travel Innovation & Technology Trends: 2013 & Beyond’ report released at WTM said that a combination of information overload; increased mobile use and a rise in peer-to-peer services will mean companies are better served by reaching out to select, clearly-defined audiences across various platforms.
However the customer should be allowed to feel they can book wherever they like, through whichever channel they choose and turn off if bombarded by information.
“Shoppers want a few choices but not too many- if they have to make too many decisions they become irritated and unhappy,” the report read. “Delivering targeted content based on personal and behavioural data can improve conversion. Suppliers and distributors need to put the channel wars behind them and focus on competing for customer loyalty”.
The use of Big Data is one of the developments that is likely to offer this personal service the most, enabling companies to capture more personal data and move away from seeing technology as just a transaction to more operation and service-led.
Social media can also play a crucial part in building up the awareness of travel agents particularly if they are an expert in a field. Failure to do so could result in travel agencies missing out to social media initiatives or recommendation platforms, or they will miss losing out to tour operators direct.
“Proactive supplier behaviour opens the door for a major change in allegiance. Rather than serving as trusted advisors, travel agents will simply become data suppliers. Unless travel agents ‘get the memo’, suppliers’ social media initiatives are likely to steal the share. Still, it is early days, and while social technologies have created substantial value so far, their power is still unclear.”
In the future the industry will be expected to see more development in voice command programmes like Apple’s Siri as well as wearable technologies; movement commands and 3D interaction.
However PhoCusWright argued the travel industry is still slow on its uptake of new technology such as cloud-based systems, which can speed up booking processes and save time and money in administration.