It’s that time of the year again. As 2019 draws to a close it’s time to take stock of the year just gone and lookout to 2020 with anticipation. The only thing faster than the rate at which the months fly by is the pace of change in technology. Each year travel companies are adopting more advanced technological solutions to try and eke out some competitive gains.
It’s encouraging to see the travel industry being early adopters of initiatives like voice search and artificial intelligence technologies. Though their application is still in its infancy it will be exciting watching these initiatives evolve.
In this blog, we showcase our Mobile Travel Trends for 2020. I’ve compiled a summary of each trend from our eight experts. You can download the full report here.
1. Super Apps
Did you ever reach for your smartphone to search, compare and book or buy something? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could perform all these tasks in one place?
This may be a relatively new concept to consumers in the west, but Asian mobile users have become accustomed to using a super app to manage lots of different types of tasks. Our own Niall Minihan, Senior Commercial Manager at Travelport, gave us the low down.
WeChat is the origin of the species and has evolved into a quasi-operating system. It pioneered the use of mini-programs (millions of them within the WeChat app). For many Chinese users, WeChat is the internet with 1 billion active users logging on every month.
For travel brands, delivering a frictionless experience from the beginning to the end of the traveler’s journey has always been the holy grail. The super app may just be the solution.
To get Niall’s full take on the impact of super apps, download the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report.
2. View from the big TMCs: BCD Travel
Following on from our super app trend we looked around the industry to see if companies were looking to streamline the digital experience for travelers. We spoke to a leader in the TMC space, Will Pinnell, Vice President, Digital and Product Strategy, from BCD Travel. Will gave us some insights into BCD's strategy for 2020, specifically looking at how to deliver a frictionless experience for travelers.
To read more from Will on BCD Travel’s digital strategy, download the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report.
3. The rise of the machine(s)
Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube use machine learning to pick and serve content that we are most likely to engage with. A corporate travel booking solution combined with machine learning could achieve the same engaging results. Mike Wake, VP of Technology at Travelport provides some great examples of how this trend will develop in 2020.
To get the full story on the machine learning trend, download the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report.
4. Business travel ROI – The data revolution
A simple booking process with a single user will generate a vast amount of data from at least 10 different data sources. Most companies are failing to leverage these data points to improve traveler experiences. Sijia Li, Senior Data Analyst at Travelport, explores how data is going to help develop the travel industry in 2020.
One trend for travel brands in 2020 will be to switch from traditional statistic-based reporting solutions to more advanced analytics solutions that can process all forms of data. The benefits of doing this include:
- Personalization: Big data can help travel brands understand what an individual traveler wants.
- Predictive: Using data collected from the traveler's history to display preferred content.
- Spend: Using the data can change the way the organization sees travel, from an unmanageable cost to a tracked KPI.
- Sustainable data lake: New travel data lake architecture should take a more sustainable approach, led by business requirements that the technology is then built to follow.
5. Now we're talking business
For a time, the travel industry would jealously eye some latest development in consumer tech and hope for the day that a similar feature would be available to travelers. Glenville Morris, Product Director – Digital Insights at Travelport, believes airport mapping, augmented reality bag scanning, and live chat are shining examples of just how quickly these once ‘consumer only’ mobile experiences are flowing into the business traveler apps. It’s this rapid absorption that is seeing even infant technologies like voice move into the corporate space in a matter of months now, not years.
6. Reimagining the business travel experience
Business travelers need a consumer-like experience. There is increasing value in agencies thinking more like retail giants such as Amazon, known for their exceptional user experience. Julie O’Sullivan, Head of Digital – Business Travel at Travelport, believes 2020 will be the year we reimagine the digital traveler experience.
Today’s travelers want an experience that is as easy and engaging as the best retailers in the world. End-to-end traveler self-service functionality is now the ‘north star’ of the biggest travel brands. Because we live in a mobile, ‘always-on’ culture, the ability to self-serve is what travelers want and expect. At the same time, we must recognize that there are times when the traveler will need to reach out to a human agent and it’s about providing the ability to do that in one tap.
To read Julie’s full description of how BCD reimagined the digital traveler experience, download the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report.
7. The fourth industrial revolution
Every few decades we can look back and pinpoint a step change that moved us from one era to the next. Today, as we transform into the digital era Sharon Doyle, Global VP Product Management at Travelport, reflects on the changes the travel industry has made and looks forward to the next era.
We are already seeing companies offer ways of discovering and experiencing travel through virtual and augmented reality. With the emergence of 5G, travel brands will be able to create more immersive digital experiences. Furthermore, blockchain is likely to redefine the nature of the business itself. This will see contracts and payments become digitally secured which reduces much of the manual processing of travel transactions.
Read the full article from Sharon on the digital era for travel in the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report.
8. Is your TMC ready for Gen Z?
Gen Z (18-24-year old’s) were born into a digital world and when it comes to connected experiences, this generation has high expectations. Travel brands who think that having a sizeable social following and a mobile app prepares them for Gen Z… need to think again. Aisling White, Senior Marketing Manager at Travelport, explains how this generation of travelers are about to change the game once more for what innovation means in business travel.
One aspect of Gen Z being so reliant on digital is their need to communicate in real-time, in the now. Real-time alerts can be made easier with the help of automation by anticipatory and predictive artificial intelligence programs. As these programs become smarter, automation will be enabled even earlier in the booking process meaning everything will be done for the Gen Z traveler via predictive analytics, rich personas, preferences, and anticipatory AI.
Download the full Mobile Travel Trends 2020 report now for all the analysis and research data.