Embracing technology will support a faster recovery for the travel sector
OMD EMEA
10 November 2020

Findings from OMD’s latest report ‘The Travel Revolution’, point to the need to embrace technology ‘now’ & ‘next’.

You can download your copy of The Travel Revolution here.

OMD (part of Omnicom Media Group) today releases its second research report into the implications and opportunities for technology to revolutionise different industry sectors. The Travel Revolution launches exclusively at WTM (World Travel Market’s) Travel Forward, as part of a keynote session alongside OMD client, Tourism Ireland.

The travel sector is facing challenges that have never been seen before. McKinsey estimates we won’t see a recovery to 2019 levels until as late as 2024, but the economic downturn goes beyond airlines and hotel chains. Tourism contributes approximately €782 billion to the European economy, some $2.6 trillion globally; from restaurant bookings, to car hire, to city tours and more, so it is crucial, not just for the travel sector, but for the economy to exopodite the recovery.

The Travel Revolution is a point-of-view on how travel brands; from airlines, to hotels, booking website aggregators and travel retail, can survive ‘now’ and thrive ‘next’, laying out technologies that will aid in building consumer confidence once again and potentially shortening recovery times.

As we look at ‘now’, the Travel Revolution shows us that interest in travel is fluctuating. In the peak of the summer, we saw visits to travel websites in Germany exceed pre-COVID levels by 10%, with visits to booking.com specifically, exceeding pre-lockdown levels by 50%. However, in the US, where travel restrictions are more severe, and consumers remain more cautious, visits to travel sites are still down by 30%.

A solution to address consumer confidence and the fulfil the wish to travel again as we look to what comes ‘next’, is the adoption of frictionless and contactless travel. Technology will be delivering room keys to your smart device and building avatars to check you in at the airport and greet you on arrival at your hotel. VPAs will be autogenerating your itineraries; taking care of all bookings, transport, liaising with each component should you get delayed. By eliminating the need to touch and be in close contact with other people (apart from those you chose), consumer confidence would start to rise.

Jean-Paul Edwards, Chief Product Development Officer at OMD EMEA and co-author of The Travel Revolution explains; “Based on our research in the Travel Revolution, we are able to see that holidaymakers are somewhat advanced when it comes to tech adoption, with high adoption rates for visual search and voice. A good portion of people already use voice to book basic transport, such as getting a taxi to the airport. Travel consumers are also quite open to receiving holiday recommendations and inspiration with almost two in five (37%) saying they would be open to using Image Search to book travel. These are quite basic interactions but, over time, reinforcing and expanding positive interactions could build trust and habituation, leading to a complete revolution in the way travel is planned, booked and experienced.”

Phil Rowley, Futures Director at OMG UK and co-author of The Travel Revolution explains further, “The innovations and transformation you will read about in the report, may seem distant, possibly far-fetched and futuristic, but we predict they will arrive soon in some form or another. Like micro-evolution, you cannot view innovation close up; rather it can only be detected over time; an accretion of marginal gains and improvements. For every iPhone, there was a Palm Pilot. For every Tesla, there was a DeLorean. To steer that perfect path, you need to establish a guidance system. That means frameworks and processes that are geared to adapting to the inevitable change in increments and over time.”

The Travel Revolution will guide you on assessing consumer need-states, utilising data and machine learning, personalisation, and take you through a roadmap from today and across the next ten years to ensure travel brands; from airlines, to hotels, booking website aggregators and travel retail can survive ‘now’ and thrive ‘next’.

You can download your copy of The Travel Revolution here.

 

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