What to expect from travel and leisure apps in 2019/2020
There are few industries as focused on delivering exceptional service and exceeding customer expectations as the travel and leisure sector. Advances in digital technology, including mobile applications and digital technologies, can provide organisations with a great opportunity to reach their customers and enhance their experiences. With Nielsen research finding that the digital travel space is expected to be worth over $11 trillion in the next ten years, it’s obvious that there’s a huge potential for tech savvy suppliers to get ahead of their competitors by embracing some of the key trends in the industry.
But what exactly are those trends? In this blog, we’ve talked to our developers and designers to get their expert opinion on four key areas to look out for in the digital space for travel and leisure organisations.
Enhancing the customer experience
This has to be the number one priority when considering developments in the digital travel and leisure space. In an industry that’s all about delivering positive experiences for customers, there’s so much potential to use digital solutions to support that. Most customers expect to be able to access information on their holiday or trip on the go through their mobile device, so it’s important that travel companies have an app or a mobile optimised website. Being available where and how your customers like to connect just makes good sense.
Touchpoints at every stage
With mobile devices technology ubiquitous, there’s a great potential to connect with customers at every stage of their experience. Half of all bookings are done through mobile and that figure is growing. Even before booking, there’s the opportunity to provide customers with the ability to research potential destinations, read reviews, compare trips etc. After booking, mobile apps can be an easily accessible source of all the relevant information for the upcoming trip.
Between booking and arrival is the ideal time to provide further information on the attractions and facilities at the destination. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to promote optional extras such as tours and excursions, room upgrades or bespoke services – and with in-app payments these can even be pre-booked and paid for in advance. Providing live updates on travel information is another great benefit of a mobile app for customers.
During the experience provides its own opportunities to inform, engage with, and delight your customers. At Vidatec, we’ve built apps that provide ‘content in context’: using the phone’s location, the apps can provide specific information or features based on location or time. For example, this could be anything from resort maps and restaurant offers, to sightseeing guides and transport information.
When it’s time to go home, there are still ways a mobile app can enhance the experience after the trip – asking for and sharing feedback or giving opportunities to rebook the return visit!
Personalisation and Data
Everyone is justifiably concerned with data security and protecting their privacy. When it comes to travel and leisure however, this is one area where people are more comfortable sharing their information. An American Express study found 83% of millennials would be happy to share their digital information with travel brands if it gave them a more personalised experience. In the same study, 85% of respondents across all age groups preferred the idea of a customised travel itinerary than a general one.
Obviously, organisations should comply with local data legislations and get explicit consent from customers when required, but this is an area that savvy travel and leisure companies should be exploring.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
This is a technology area that has the potential to be huge in the travel and tourism space. There are so many possible applications from the most basic, such as getting a 3D view of hotel rooms and facilities before booking, to more complex, such as AR overlays of popular tourist sites. Imagine viewing an artist’s impression of how the Colosseum originally looked through an app on your phone! There are also more practical uses, such as checking luggage fits within airline restrictions, or helping you pick a premium seat with the extra legroom you desire.
From hotel chains, tour operators and airlines, some companies are already integrating VR functionality into their mobile apps to enhance the customer experience. It’s a growing area however, with new technology and functionality being developed constantly, so it’s never too late to include a VR or AR component to your mobile app.
These are just some of the key areas we see developing in the travel and leisure industry. The overarching focus, as always, is enhancing the customer experience whenever possible. Digital technology, and especially mobile apps, give companies a prime opportunity to do just that.
At Vidatec, we’ve worked with a range of companies in the Travel and Leisure sector. If you have an idea for a project to improve the experience for your customers, we’d love to chat it through with you. Please get in touch here.