Author: Mohammed Shabeer, Engineering Manager
Two years of restricted movement and ban on travel have been hard on those who are eternally afflicted with wanderlust! Now, as the pandemic abates, the travel happy souls are elated at the chance to fulfill their bucket list. As seasoned travelers equipped with the latest tech tools and gadgets feel ready to book their dream vacation, the landscape of the online travel industry looks delightfully ebullient. This means busy times ahead for all travel industry players. However, given that most of the travel transactions now happen online, the coming years will see travel brands leveraging digital commerce to their best advantage.
Rise in popularity of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) continues unabated with more and more gadget happy consumers turning away from traditional brick-and-mortar travel agencies in favor of booking trips themselves. Quite unsurprisingly, most of the leading hotels also trust the OTAs for greater visibility and to improve overall sales and revenue.
Notably, worldwide, the global online travel market reached a value of US$ 407.1 Billion in 2021. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach a value of US$ 843.52 Billion by 2027, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 11.70% during 2022-2027.
The global online travel market revenue is expected to touch unprecedented heights in the coming years. The main drivers of this growth will include providing a global marketplace, wide array of options, quick delivery, advanced tech tools, increase in internet and Credit/ Debit card penetration, rise in mobile users having disposable incomes and accuracy of information on travel destinations. However, to ride on this exponential growth in the tourism sector, online travel companies will have to use digital commerce to their best advantage. This is because, when leveraged properly, travel commerce platforms can provide a great booking experience.
Here are some tips to do this effectively –
With more empowerment through greater choices and control, customer expectations from travel commerce players continue to grow. Listed below are some of the points to make online travel commerce right -
1. Tailor-made solutions to take the cake
As multiple sellers convene on a common platform, features will have to ensure that vendors sell more and customers buy the best available product. More and more tailor-made solutions will have to be made available to the customers. The existing IT scenario can boost this trend, making digital commerce in travel an exciting space for application and research.
2. Connectivity to call the shots
Suppliers, resellers and customers will be closely connected making customers more empowered with decision-making. Moreover, it will simplify the finding and booking exercise with long-tail providers as well as booking several categories at once.
3. Personalization to prevail
While there is an abundance of available data, ability to present the relevant data gainfully and constructively will remain the key. Customizing the offerings according to individual customer preference will thrive. In the pre-sales stage, online facilitators in the travel & tourism industry will have to use the relevant data to target appropriate customers with compelling offers and lead them to personalized journeys.
4. Online-Offline channels to conflate and converge
As AR and VR emerge as the most powerful mode of experiencing destinations and travel itinerary by offering customers a highly immersive experience, travel commerce businesses will move closer to a “try before you buy” approach. AR and VR will also be used as the chief marketing tools to showcase best destinations or experiences, not only to convert more customers, but also to garner interest.
5. Shift to newer tech solutions
Today’s tech savvy tourists are ready to pay for convenience and personalized experience. Customer analysis powered by deep data analytics and big data will help organizations learn about the preferred travel destinations and activities of potential customers.
Shopsphere being a comprehensive travel commerce platform, can be easily customized to the needs of the Travel & Tourism industry with added advantages like content administration, holiday booking management, flight/hotel booking management, applying promotions, page customizations, SEO and other OOB features from ShopSphere.
As travelers from across the globe look for experimenting with unique features, the online travel sector opens up newer scopes for innovative interventions. Brands will be busy innovating and creating apt solutions by using new-age technologies, data analytics and Big data. However, deployment of customized services, non-rigid network configurations, and consumer comfort will also remain critical in deciding the future growth trajectory of travel commerce vertical.