You probably guessed that travel trends come and go, but here at the top travel industry trends that drive the tourism industry in 2021.
It is no longer as simple as deciding a destination and heading out toward a train station. The travel industry has evolved beyond recognition and so does the way travelers interact with the internet. Online travel has certainly become competitive and there is a lot of chaos over the internet.
It has become crucial to know the latest travel trends and develop a market strategy to stay on top of what the customers want. Additionally, keeping track of the latest market trends would show you what travelers search for and how they prefer to book hotels and tickets. This way, you can gain insights regarding what you should offer to meet the demand of your target audience.
The sole purpose of online travel providers is to ease travel planning as well as booking for travelers. The industry has gained its popularity due to the rise in customer’s trust in online payment, quick & convenient flight and hotel bookings, a variety of travel options to compare.
According to Allied Market Research, the global online travel market is expected to garner $1,091 billion by 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% from 2016 to 2022. What’s more, market players such as Booking Holdings and Expedia Group are extensively offering its travel services through its mobile apps and websites, which is particularly popular among young professionals.
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Online travel trends for 2021
Customers trust online reviews
Every time, you order or buy anything online like food delivery, you scroll up and down for the customer reviews to decide whether to go ahead with the purchase or not. According to a survey conducted by Trust You, a hotel guest feedback platform, observed that reviews influence customers to make around 95% of booking decisions.
Moreover, TripAdvisor declared that more than half of the travelers commit to any booking only after they have read the reviews. Thus, it is undeniable that it is extremely vital for any travel company to build trust with fellow travelers.
Artificial Intelligence is a must have
Despite what people say about overuse of Artificial Intelligence (AI), studies show that people tend to trust those websites that offer AI-based chatbots and are more open to interacting with the technology. The most effective way of using AI is for customer support via chatbots.
According to TechRadar, around 80% of travelers that use Booking.com opt for a self-serve option. This proves that most travelers want to make their own decisions, however, as an online travel agency (OTA), you must maintain a level of personalization while developing your platform. One must find a mid-way between effective AI and human assistance.
Mobile travel trends
Bookings on mobile
As technology has enabled people to gather any information by a mere click, more people are comfortable using their smartphones while making travel planning. In fact, Google analyzed that mobile phones are used throughout the travel process, to book hotels, search for nearest destinations, hotels, and unique experiences. It is thus important for any OTA to use those website templates that work seamlessly on desktop, tablets, as well as mobile.
It has proved that incorporating this digital trend in the travel & tourism industry is the best and quickest way to gather customers. If your website is combined with the internet of things (IoT) and AI, it would allow travelers to control room applications and remotely monitor their hotel room while roaming around a foreign city.
Develop a dedicated mobile app
As it is clear that, having a mobile-friendly site helps to lure customers, developing a dedicated mobile app is the next obvious step. You can send promotional messages via the mobile app as a part of your marketing strategy. What’s more, if you combined your app with beacon technology, you can offer relevant offers that are based on users’ location and preference.
According to a study, more than 15% of the travel brands use progressive web app (PWA) and more than 25% of the studied brands intend to invest in developing their dedicated mobile apps. In addition, more than 60% of the travelers perform searches on mobile and 85% of them spent most of their time on mobile apps. With the technology that has come at a fingertip, having a mobile app feature definitely adds a plus point for any OTA.
Add feature of voice over touch
People prefer those technologies that can interpret human voice. Additionally, they want more convenience and if by just talking to a device you can make reservations, the investment is worth making. This the main reason why most of the hoteliers are introducing voice-activated devices as travelers can switch to voice interactions wherever it is possible. For instance, guests can adjust their room settings according to their needs by just commanding the voice-activated device.
The incorporation of voice to command search on mobile is now mainstream. According to Travelport Digital, around 40% of their respondents use voice search once a day. What’s more, Google insights prove that almost 70% of voice requests are made through Google Assistance. This means people are well familiarized with the feature of talking to a machine.
Trends in the Travel industry
The surge in last minute booking
Gone are the times when we had to book flight or train tickets months before the trip. As several travel websites have become more efficient and booking processes have become more streamlined, travelers now are more inclined to make more last-minute bookings. The OTA benefit from this as they offer real-time reservations and secure the deal. Thus, travelers opt to book their flights and hotels last minute so they can change their minds at any time. Moreover, while doing so, they benefit from discounts on accommodations and flight fare. Such last-minute deals are beneficial for the impulse buyers as well as the OTA that offers such discounts.
The craze of solo traveling
If you are in the travel business, you should never ignore the solo travelers. Most of the time, companies focus on family discounts and completely forget about the solo backpackers. According to Solo Traveler World, Google searches for keywords such as travel alone and solo travel have skyrocketed over the last few years. Not only domestic travel, but also the popular travel destinations such as the U.K, U.S., Thailand, Europe, and Africa have witnessed the largest solo travelers.
Personalization: Biggest priority among travelers
Till this date, around 90% of the travelers agree that the conventional traveling procedure is not good enough. They want a touch of personalization. People expect their travel experience to be something unique and extraordinary. Be that a business trip or a holiday, travelers value one of a kind experience while on the go. What’s more, personalization has become one of the crucial and priority among the travel & tourism industry. Thus, the OTA must introduce personalized services and customized offerings to its customers. For instance, Delta Air Lines introduced account-specific messaging with corporate clients, offering them exclusive benefits. In fact, the company offers a tool that allows travelers personalization such as recognition, assistance, and even down-line flight and gate information.
It is essential to stand out in any industry. Your company must show personal in the attitude to the travelers. However, there are challenges such as gathering the required data without invading their personal privacy. Thus, in today’s world, personalization needs sophistication as well as helping hand of advanced technologies to keep up with the upcoming travel trends and everchanging demands of travelers.
Include recognition technologies
Recognition technologies including facial recognition, fingerprint & retina scanning, and other biometric identification methods are not new for people. However, the technology is still somewhat new to the hospitality and travel industry. The aim of the technology is to gather data and identifying a person based on the collected information. This would allow OTA to offer its clients personalized services and reward regular or potential customers.
Another and rather most essential purpose of the technology is security. Facial recognition of travels with a bad reputation could help the traveling agency to prepare to take the required steps and alert the staff of the hotel or airline accordingly. Apart from security, it helps to make the payment process hassle-free. By recognizing the customers, it would be easy for OTAs to consider their bonuses, discount codes, and loyalty schemes.
While this is not the most comprehensive list of the recent travel trends, it offers a fair idea regarding where to invest time and money to boost the revenue of your online travel market. In short, it is vital to focus on mobile and online travel trends as they shed light on the preferences of travelers and help you keep with the demands of your audience. The last-minute bookings, innovative technologies such as facial recognition, and personalization are the most important factors for the growth of any online travel agency. Ultimately, these are the tools that help you meet the demands of the customers and you should be aware of the recent and upcoming trends.
Ultimately, to get in on these travel industry trends and shape your travel business for the future, your travel offering needs to meet travelers’ demands needs and fulfill the desired outcomes.
Swamini Kulkarni holds a bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation and control engineering from Pune University and works as a content writer at Allied Market Research. She is deeply fascinated by the impact of technology on human life and loves to talk about science and mythology. When she is not glued to the computer, she loves to read, travel, and daydream about her areas of interest.