I recently shared with you what I expected as five key social media marketing trends to look out for in 2014. Since I have been working in the travel & hospitality vertical for the past 20 years, I figure it would be equally interesting to try to figure out what we ought to look out for in 2014 from that industry perspective. So here it goes! Read Here
The Automated Passenger
SecureExpress at Montreal AirportOn a recent trip departing out of Montreal-Trudeau International airport, I realized how travel processes automation holds tremendous potential to make passengers’ lives so much easier. 24 hours prior to departure, I had received the automated email from Air Canada allowing me to register for pre-boarding, ensuring proper seating and avoiding getting bumped due to over-booking, had I arrived with last-minute folks. On the way to the airport, running late and stuck in traffic, I used the new “SecurExpress” system whereby you can now reserve your time slot for going through a security checkpoint. Again, a fabulous way to not only gain peace of mind, but also to skip the line-ups of folks who, in some cases, may miss their flight because of sheer volume during rush hours. Lastly, I presented my mobile phone throughout the process, since I had opted for paperless with the QR code option.
Arriving from an international flight recently, I was also able to skip the traditional queue at customs and go through an automated checkpoint rather than dealing with a custom agent. Not to mention programs such as Canpass Air or NEXUS that allow frictionless passage at most US-Canada customs, based on prior pre-approval and payment of an annual fee.
We’re seeing similar frictionless, automated processes taking place in larger hotel chains, rail companies (mostly in Europe and Japan), car rentals and many attractions and events, in particular with RFID technology taking hold with some of the big festivals, i.e. Coachella, Osheaga, etc. From email, to SMS and e-passport, it will be interesting to see how fast travel companies embrace this sea of change for an enhanced traveler experience.
At the end of 2012, Google Travel estimated that 25% of all travel-related searches online came from a mobile device, whether it was a smartphone, tablet or wifi-enabled device. While they estimated this figure would reach 40% by end of 2013, it seems we were all under-estimating mobile adoption on a global scale since we reached that point… back in May! We will end most likely the year 2013 at 50%, which means 1 out of every 2 online travel search now comes from a mobile device! And we can only expect this trend to get stronger in 2014. But are people simply looking, or are they booking as well?
As can be seen in the results of this survey conducted earlier in 2013 by HeBS Digital, a New York based agency dealing with a client portfolio of top-tier hotel brands, mobile has been increasing year over year not just in terms of page views and visits, but also in terms of room nights generated and, most importantly, in revenue. This is especially true with tablets, seeing triple digit growth comparing Q1 2013 with Q1 2012. Desktop is getting less traffic overall, but the decrease is not as substantial in terms of room nights and revenue. Yet. So expect mobile to definitely grow strong…Read More