As we welcome the influx of inbound tourism to the Asia Pacific region, the market for travel activities has been projected to grow up to US$183 billion by 2020. However, at the same time, we are also seeing an increase in traveler frustration, as it can be time-consuming having to research fragmented services options and analyze different offerings from multiple travel sellers across various channels. This must change because, in today’s Information Age, people demand immediate access to information at their fingertips.
With time in short supply, it is critical for industry players to understand this largely untapped and dynamic destination services marketplace, which we refer to asDestination X.
To succeed and ensure customer retention, loyalty, and revenue growth, travel sellers will have to change the way they make their offerings available to both leisure and business travelers. As such, the use of technology, especially mobile, will play a big role in this.
To help the travel industry understand Destination X and the role that technology plays in it, global travel IT provider, Amadeus worked with several industry leaders to highlight eight key trends which are pivotal in the post-booking ancillary game.
- Destination services make or break the trip
- A third of travelers say destination services ‘make or break’ their trips, with 50% of them feeling frustrated about traveling to/around their destination on the day of departure.
- 93% of travelers now consider ancillary destination services to be an important part of their overall travel experience with 40% of these travelers specifically believing ancillary destination services make their trips more productive and enjoyable.
- 45% of travelers say their mobile browser is the first place they go to discover what’s out there and 41% also use it to book their destination service.
- Around 25% of respondents book destination services the day before travel, en route, or once they’ve arrived at their destination.
- Travelers are underserved in Destination X
- 27% of our respondents identify having to use multiple apps as the number one frustration when searching for ancillary destination services.
- Almost a quarter of travelers lack time to properly evaluate what is available or plan when and how to do things during their trip, with 17% being unable to easily access destination services upon arrival.
- 10% feel that they are not receiving sufficient guidance from their employer, travel agency or air/hotel supplier to keep them fully informed.
- Businesses and leisure travelers have similar values but different priorities
- Travelers typically book 1-2 ancillary destination services per trip.
- Top three business traveler priorities: flight compensation, taxi transfers, airport/rail lounges.
- Top three leisure traveler priorities: attractions & amenities, flight compensation, dining.
- For those typically booking three or more ancillary destination services, 34% say they do so primarily for leisure trips, while around 10% book the same amount for a business trip.
- Complementary services: the new name of the ancillary travel game
- 72% of travelers are very receptive to receiving proactive suggestions about related destination services.
- A third say complementary services “truly enhance their trip experience”.
- In pursuit of the perfect personal touch
- Over half of travelers want travel brands to tailor destination content and shopping to their preferences and previous behaviors.
- During the “discovering” stage of their holiday planning, only 5% of travelers want push notifications.
- After booking the trip, the demand for push notifications increases, peaking at 93% of survey respondents saying they would welcome receiving information about other complementary services or offers when they book an ancillary destination service.
- “The most important thing for great customer experience is trust, and that you achieve through consistency in the offer. When customers know that they can expect a certain level of experience with the brand, they trust it even more” – Alex Rogers, Head of Partnerships, Holiday Taxis
- Services from a single point of contact is a must
- More than a quarter of respondents dislike visiting multiple apps and/or websites to access their desired ancillary destination services. When asked what single biggest improvement they would like to see, over a third ranked ‘having a single mobile point of access to relevant destination information’ as number one.
- Destination X should be inclusive and accessible to all travelers
- Among adults with disabilities who traveled by air, 72% have encountered major obstacles with airlines and 65% with airports. There are three specific areas travel providers must consider improving for travelers with health conditions or impairments:
Identifying the exact information senior travelers and travelers with a disability need in Destination X is an essential starting point. Considerations include ensuring information regarding stairs, lifts/ramps are clearly displayed.
Good communication isn’t just how much information is being offered; the delivery of that information is also key. Blind and partially sighted people may need audio and voice services to help them determine which services they require. People with hearing impairments or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) users may require vibration, touch and visual displays to be alerted to and evaluate specific destination service options.
There’s huge potential for AI, analytics, and algorithms to offer accessibility solutions by linking a traveler’s specific needs throughout their whole journey, and identify the types of services they may require in advance.
- “I’d love to see offers of services for seniors and other people with mobility issues, plus suggested destination activities for us too, without being overly pushy” – CheckMyTrip traveler
- Inclusivity would also include safety considerations for solo travelers. Ensuring current security information is properly balanced with historical data for context, so as not to frighten travelers or underestimate potential risks.
- Awaiting traveler nirvana
- 18% of travelers desire better coordinated access to destination services across apps, chat, web and voice.
- Travelers are just beginning to open up to the possibilities of voice search with less than 5% saying that they search for destination services using voice recognition technology such as Alexa, Siri or Google.
- “Technology developments can no longer be ignored. There is evidence of changes in homes, first with the iPad generation and now starting with voice in the last year, but this has to be embraced with automation – and with a recognition of learning which is where AI fits in.” – Michael Bayle, Executive Vice President for Mobile, Amadeus