The travel industry has entered a new frontier where travelers are seeking more connection between different parts of their trips, like lodging and activities, as safety and real-time destination information are increasingly important.
As the travel and hospitality industry adapts to COVID-19, it’s clear that hospitality brands will need to identify and provide additional sources of customer value to diversify their offerings and expand their product portfolios. Rather than thinking of themselves as only a hotel or casino, for example, brands can become marketplaces that expand their core product offerings. This enables them to also sell such products and services as tours and activities, car rentals or food delivery from attraction, transportation and restaurant partners. Such a selection will help travelers understand different ways they can engage with brands and use them to create a one-stop-shopping experience.
Marketplaces require managing and personalizing multiple traveler interactions across shopping, booking, payment, fulfillment and loyalty while connecting data from different systems that power each capability. The marketplace should feel conversational and use modern digital capabilities such as search engine indexing, machine learning ranking algorithms and AI chat features to create convenient shopping behaviors.
- Publicis Sapient’s Digital Life Index, which surveyed 3,000 people in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Singapore, found that most respondents favor using digital tools when planning, booking and participating in vacation activities – including things to do in destinations, restaurants and transportation options – rather than have a person help them.
- Nearly 40 percent of U.S. travelers research activities before booking flights or hotels, according to Phocuswright’s U.S. Consumer Travel 2018 report.
- A 2019 Booking.com survey found travelers who book activities ahead of their trip spend 47 percent more on lodging and 81 percent more on transportation than those who wait to book in-destination.
Bringing a brand’s entire product portfolio onto a single platform that helps travelers understand the breadth of products available will bring in new customers and help brands get a fuller picture of customers and their preferences.