Online travel is going through a time of intense innovation
Online travel is going through a period of growth and innovation, changing the way travel products are booked and how travel companies communicate with customers. It is also increasing the power consumers have – to find compare and choose products, and also to reshape the whole industry, Euromonitor reports.
Smartphones and tablets are increasingly used to book travel products, not just to search and shop around. This trend is expected to rise in the coming years. Mobile travel bookings account for 15% of global online travel bookings in 2014, forecast to rise to 35% by 2018.
The average size of smartphone screens will increase, while travel companies are making it easier for clients to buy via mobile devices.
Mobile devices also offer assistance and services in real time to consumers on the go, demand for which is increasing among travellers. Companies are learning to generate extra sales and ancillary revenue through bookings of in-destination services, as shown by the acquisition of online restaurant reservations site OpenTable by Priceline and of Viator by TripAdvisor.
Types of mobile devices are increasing to include wearable electronics like watches and glasses, connected cars and inflight screens.
However, technology means that consumers are disrupting the travel industry. Not only do they have the power to boost or hurt travel firms through reviews, they are also becoming providers of travel services, shown by the success of peer-to-peer holiday rentals such as Airbnb.
Another important development is the rise of personalised online marketing, made possible by big data analytics. Today companies can use vast amounts of data, gathered through internal and external sources, to suggest personalised options to travellers.
[pictured: Airbnb homepage]