The atmosphere and levels of attendance at World Travel Market 2022 highlighted that the travel industry is as thriving and vibrant as ever. But what does the future hold for the industry?
Frank Trampert, Sabre Hospitality SVP and Global MD Community Sales, joined Phocuswire and a panel of travel experts to discuss the travel tech trends of the future, and how these will impact the hospitality industry.
Some of the trends highlighted included:
Many hoteliers have, up until now, relied on expansion for growth. But, in a saturated market, that strategy can’t work indefinitely. The last two years have changed the mindset around the world, and hoteliers are now considering what they can do to tap into different retailing resources in this constrained market environment. As such, hoteliers are daring to do more – and indeed need to do more – to survive in the current ecosystem.
According to a report by Phocuswright, “the old selling model, which relies on simplistic sorting factors, leaves lots of potential revenue on the table by not customizing options for each unique guest.”
Travelers want their experiences to be tailored to them, and for each touchpoint to be uniquely personalized. Yet we are still seeing that hoteliers are not reaching their full innovation and revenue potential, despite the richness of data from multiple touchpoints along the traveler’s journey.
It’s vital that hoteliers can capitalize on this opportunity with offers and services that are tightly tailored to their guests, thinking about retailing opportunities beyond the room – and beyond the hotel. Hoteliers need to shift their focus to total revenue, introducing levels beyond volume and rates and such as merchandise, monetized policies, services, attributes, and additional space. They need the right technology to support them in this intelligent retailing strategy so, enabling them to optimize revenue streams while creating memorable guest experiences.
Adapting to the subscription economy
The subscription model is obviously growing in popularity across industries, with research from OnePoll and eDreams ODIGEO finding that across all sectors, only 1 per cent of shoppers don’t consider themselves to be subscribers.
As with attribute-based selling, subscription models are another way of meeting consumer demands for services that are more time- and cost-efficient, and offer greater personalization.
Travelers are considering more decision factors than ever before booking a trip, so
it’s increasingly important that hoteliers understand what individual guests or personas are thinking about before they book in order to present them with an attractive choice that fits their booking patterns and behaviors, and keeps them coming back for more.
One way in which we are already seeing subscription models being used amongst our customers is in
utilizing under-used areas of the property such as gym facilities. For example, monitoring of activity in a gym for several customers has revealed that outside of Monday to Friday 6-9am and 5-8pm, the facility was largely under-utilized. Hotel owners were still paying the same rent and staffing fees, but the space was barely populated. A number of enterprising hoteliers therefore introduced the concept of ‘Non-Resident’ memberships, where paying locals can access the gym outside of peak hours. The memberships in most instances came with discounts on food and beverage (F&B). The outcome was additional revenue through monthly or annual gym fees – as well as increased revenue through higher traffic to the hotel’s F&B outlets. –
The fintech and payment revolution
As outlined by Phocuswire, “a renewed drive for increased efficiency and a simplified, secure user experience as demands for the travel industry warrants a focus on fintech.”
Customers are becoming more ‘demanding’, because they are expecting the same experience in travel that they receive in the retailing world. As such, fintech – in terms of enablement of payment – has to be a key focus for travel companies; if you have quality products in the right places, it is essential to have the right payment set up.
The convenience of payment through retailers such as Amazon Prime should be replicated in the hotel industry. Due to regulatory requirements, this is not easy enabled, which is why hoteliers need the back-end support. This is a focus area for Sabre. We are working to innovate further in the field of travel payments and build solutions that help our customers to support an end-to-end experience, from booking to payment, through to trip and after the trip has finished.