In the last five years alone, technology has revolutionised the way that the average consumer will research, plan and book their next holiday, adding a whole new meaning to the concept of a personalised customer experience.
A 2017 Barclays report found that – out of millennials – just over half (51%) would choose one hotel over another if it meant that they could check-in via their smartphone, with 44% taking an interest in providers that offer room control functionality from a personal device.
Hilton Hotels are a prime example of how technology can be leveraged by hoteliers as a point of differentiation. Their “Connected Room” allows its guests to tailor aspects like the room’s temperature, lights and entertainment from their phone.
Yet whilst the need for innovation is apparent, very few are using digital avenues to maximum effect, relying on commission-based comparison sites instead of self-generating new and repeat business leads.
Eight in ten bookings that are made last-minute are completed over mobile but only 16% of mobile bookers will go direct.
Holidaymakers want an ultra-personalised experience in 2019, with 41% going out of their way to find brands that will use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide recommendations based on their interests and past travel experience.
Last-minute bookings are completed over mobile
Want to check-in from their smartphone
Would use brands that offer AI recommendations
The rise of the micro-break
Over half of global travellers (53%) are planning to take more weekend trips this year, giving you the chance to increase repeat bookings and create customers for life.
To cater for this demand, consider what you’re currently offering – or could make available – to those who would be interested in a condensed but action-packed stay.
For instance, market a 24-hour turnaround vacation that includes your top recommendations and most popular promotions for local businesses in the area, as well as a room discount for off-peak periods.
According to experts, there will be a surge in desire to stay in “unique and remarkable” accommodation types, most likely due to the growing popularity of sharing our travel experiences on social media sites such as Instagram – so remember to lead with your USPs in your marketing.
In the early 2000s, over 110,000 young Brits booked onto the Thomas Cook package, Club 18-30 holidays, bringing in an annual sum of £48 million.
Many have since speculated what has caused millennials to lose interest in this brand, settling on the increasing diversification within the industry, the drive amongst young people to try new things, and social media’s influence over finding “more photogenic travel opportunities”.
This change highlights the struggle business owners face to identify exactly what consumers – especially those under 35 – want from them.
Last year, ethical branding gained considerable traction with today’s consumers – particularly the younger generations, including 54% of those aged 16-19, who stopped buying from a brand that they perceived as “unethical”.
Likewise, travellers are showing more interest in adding purpose to their trips, wanting to learn new skills and life lessons (56%), whilst becoming more conscious of the issues affecting their chosen destination – e.g. human rights, equality and working conditions.
To maintain relevance with your guests, you need to know who they are and what they expect from you.
By surveying them at booking, pre-stay and post-stay, you will build a comprehensive profiling of your customers that can then be used to target them with repeat booking incentives.
How we can help
With the rise in customisable travel and expectations for an on-demand service, holidaymakers are becoming more specific when it comes to what they want from their next trip.
Marketing helps you to segment your audience, targeting them with relevant content to drive bookings and reduce your OTA reliance.
For more information on what our multi-channel marketing platform can do for you, contact our team on 0344 800 84 24.