Three Macro Trends Disrupting the Travel and Hospitality Industry

The world is shrinking. And no we’re not talking about the possibility of California being consumed by the Pacific ocean. Technology is making the world a much smaller place. Thanks to technology, consumers have fingertip access to products and information that would have been much harder to come by in the days before the Internet. This is especially apparent in the travel and hospitality industry.

Think about a time in the not-so-distant past – remember how difficult it was to plan a family vacation or a romantic getaway? Booking flights, finding a place to stay, and renting a car that works was an insurmountable task without the help of a travel agent. Not to mention having to keep track of paper tickets, confirmation numbers, hotel addresses, and so on. Thanks to technology, these are now all simple tasks that even the most technologically challenged among us can master.

Now that everyone’s online, there are several factors currently at work behind big changes already underway in the industry. In a recent webinar, Smartling’s VP of Client Services, Mark Elkin, discussed three macro trends that are disrupting the travel and hospitality industry. In case you missed the webinar, they are outlined below:

Mobile everything

According to TechCrunch, there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally. And that number is only slated to get bigger, fast, with an estimated 6.1 billion smartphone users by 2020. Many consumers nowadays, especially millennials, would prefer to have a strictly mobile experience. They are, for the most part, a mobile-first generation, and trends in mobile purchasing – nearly 52 percent of all digital travel booked in 2016 is expected to be done via a mobile device – are at least in part due to millennials recently becoming old enough to book their own travel. By 2019 it is expected that there will be $210.45 billion of mobile payment transactions in the US, of which $95 billion will be spent on mobile travel sites and apps.

On-demand economies

Perhaps nothing sums up the concept of on-demand economies better than Veruca Salt, a character in the movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Veruca Salt is probably best known for the phrase, “Don’t care how. I want it now!” And like it or not, that is how many consumers feel. They want access to your product or service immediately, and if your brand can’t deliver they will move on to the competition.

The travel and hospitality industry is no stranger to the concept of on-demand economies. Think about it. Consumers choose the destination on their terms, which makes occupancy somewhat unpredictable, and once their stay is over they are gone at least until they decide to book another trip, assuming it’s with you again. This unpredictability can make it difficult to plan out a content strategy, but travel and hospitality brands need to be especially agile, and allow for the pace of global content creation and distribution to keep up with consumer demand, wherever it is found.

Platform fragmentation

Take a look at your tech stack and count how many different systems your content touches. There are content management systems, marketing automation platforms, code repositories – to name a few. And when you’re taking your content mobile there are a whole other set of challenges like different operating systems, hardware versions, and screen sizes you need to consider. And in the travel and hospitality industry you need to take it a step further with legacy hotel and flight booking systems that contain so much valuable data that they are virtually impossible to rip and replace. The question arises, how do you make all of these systems work together without breaking existing processes and workflows, to get quality content to market in a timely manner?

Ambitious brands that are able to confront these trends head on, and provide their consumers with compelling value-driven offers, on multiple platforms and devices, while making the experience as painless as possible will be set up for success now and in the future.