Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You h...

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS competition

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS co…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:00

Ferry operator, DFDS, is putting out a call to professional and amateur artists to create a poster that will be used in their 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Savings on worldwide adventures with Explore

Savings on worldwide adventures with Exp…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:00

Explore has launched a new collection of worldwide adventures with a launch offer of up to 10% discount on all new trips booked by November 7.

New route to Seattle makes it one to watch for 2017

New route to Seattle makes it one to wat…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12

Seattle is expected to be one of the fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers next year with a Virgin Atlantic direct non-stop daily flight launching March 2017, new hotel...

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with increased connections across Canada

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:04

Air Transat has expanded its programme of flights from the UK to Canada with increased capacity and connections for travel in 2017.

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplement fares

Oceania Cruises reduces single supplemen…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:02

Oceania Cruises has launched a reduced single supplement promotion for solo travellers, with guests offered single supplements fares from 25% on seven itineraries, booked before December 31.

Mall of America welcomes arrival of MythBusters

Mall of America welcomes arrival of Myth…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:00

Running throughout autumn until January 15, 2017, visitors can ignite their curiosity and discover whether they can really huff and puff to blow a house down; if running in the...

Emirates to launch new daily service to Fort Lauderdale

Emirates to launch new daily service to …

Monday, 17 October 2016 11:00

Emirates has announced that it will launch a daily service between Dubai and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, on December 15, serving the South Florida area, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and...

New tours in UK & Europe from Back-Roads Touring

New tours in UK & Europe from Back-R…

Monday, 17 October 2016 08:42

Small group tour specialist Back-Roads Touring has launched its summer 2017 brochure to reveal a unique line up of new itineraries in Switzerland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, France, Iberia and Russia.

Star studded cruise line up from CMV in 2017

Star studded cruise line up from CMV in …

Friday, 14 October 2016 10:16

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has announced five star-studded cruises for 2017 following the arrival of its new main brochure.

Non-stop flights to Manchester from SIA

Non-stop flights to Manchester from SIA

Friday, 14 October 2016 10:11

Singapore Airlines will fly non-stop between Singapore and Manchester from October 30 as part of its northern winter schedule.

The rate of technological change in the hospitality industry has been extraordinary. Growth in the number of mobile users, digital intermediaries and the emergence of disruptive hospitality models such as Airbnb have transformed the market and created the need for a digital revolution. In particular, changes in consumer behaviour and online renditions of traditional distribution platforms are pivotal to transformations in the future of hospitality.

One of the most fascinating characteristics in the evolution of technology in the past few years has been the increasing speed of consumer adoption. From the first ever radio broadcast in 1920, it was another 38 years before the technology reached 50 million users. It took mobile phones 27 years to reach 50 million and for the internet 17 years, while it took Facebook just 3.5 years, the iPad 1.5 years and Google+ 0.3 years. Customers today anticipate digital innovations and are quicker than ever to embrace them.

We can see this willingness to adopt digital innovations continue in 2016, as the number of mobile users has overtaken desktop. The number of travel bookings made through mobile devices is also on the rise, and is predicted to increase further from 15% in 2014 to 35% in 2018. A further trend developing today is that 65% of leisure travellers and 69% of businesses travellers are now initially inspired to travel by online sources. These changes in consumer behaviour reflect an increased desire for relevance, personalisation and ease of access from travel operators. The implications for travel providers is a mastery of all stages in the customer journey – obtaining a complete understanding of how digital can influence each juncture from initial inspirations to action and reaction.

A perpetual digital transformation and knowledge of customer behaviour will be key to ensure that services are up-to date with the latest developments and consumers are consistently presented with a path of least resistance from their initial inspiration to booking. With such a digital transformation, the capacity for instant feedback through analytics and ease of customisation with flexible online or mobile platforms is greatly enhanced. In addition to changes in customer behaviour, broader industry adaptations to accommodate them such as the growth of metasearch providers, comparison platforms and new disruptive models have resulted in a shift in the nature of distribution and traditional value chains.

It isn’t a secret that Google is everywhere and it’s often hard to remember a time without it. Google’s continued ability to transform the balance of industries can’t be underestimated - particularly when the spotlight focuses on ‘the next big things’ such as Big Data or the Internet of Things. Search engines have shifted the value chain towards digital intermediaries, which now account for 15% of the hospitality industry profit to the disadvantage of hoteliers and advantage of online travel agents who have seen the share of hotel bookings double from 12% in 2009 to 24% in 2015. Alongside the traditional search engines, metasearch providers - which allow customers to compare thousands of prices and options instantly - will continue to rise in influence.

Customer to customer (C2C) players such as Airbnb, Home Away and other potentially disruptive models also present a challenge to the status quo of the hospitality industry. Their current margins are around 20%, and it is important to take lessons and learn from other industries and reactions to new digital models - such as Uber’s challenge to the taxi industry. The high-rising-and-falling start-up culture and open, unpredictable nature of technology today means it’s more important than ever to be aware of all potential challenges to the status quo and understand every means to adapt to them.

Perhaps the greatest influence of C2C players is that the balance of power has shifted towards consumers. Digital has given consumers a far greater means and platform to influence the opinion of others through social media and review sites, and more information and power of selection thanks to comparison providers and search engines. This is a trend that extends beyond the hospitality sector and underlines the continued need for customisation and understanding of the complete consumer journey. Never underestimate the value of detail in achieving this – something a margins or top-line percentage alone cannot provide.

Predicting the future will always be a treacherous undertaking. While it is incredibly valuable to understand the current state of an industry and the directions it might take, there is ultimately no telling what world-altering technology, market-changing model or fundamental shift in attitudes is waiting around the corner.

Digital transformation will continue to play a pivotal role in the direction of the industry, but perhaps the only certainty is that the future of hospitality will never be boring. 

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