Author: Krishna Jothikumar

21 Jan 2019
Check-In Ahead of the Competition – Travel & Hospitality Industries Digital Trends

Check-In Ahead of the Competition – Travel & Hospitality Industries Digital Trends

Travel Industry Trends

Global online travel sales totaled an impressive $564 billion in 2016, and the market research company eMarketer has projected revenues to skyrocket to $755 billion by 2019, growing to an incredible $817 billion by 2020.

Digital travel sales worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (In billion U.S. dollars)

There are multitudes of travel options for consumers to choose from and the competition to provide excellent shopping experiences by the travel industry is fierce.  It was not so long ago that families and business travelers worked through travel agents or contacted airlines, hotels or car rental companies directly in order to reserve and book their travel but the travel industry has evolved significantly over the last decade.Now with the click of a button, consumers are able to book their own travel using modern websites and mobile apps offered by the leading travel and hospitality companies having digitally transformed their businesses.  Technological advancements have empowered travelers to research, plan and book travel arrangements independently, design their own itineraries, create bespoke packages, compare prices and take other travelers reviews into account when planning their vacations.

Today, the majority of travel transactions are completed through desktop websites, closely followed by apps and then by mobile websites.   However, the growth and popularity of travel apps are rising the most and already proving to be one of the more popular categories in the Apple App Store representing almost 4% of all app categories and reaching approximately 95% of the Android users in the United States.  Online Sales from these mobile channels are set to grow from $52 billion in 2015 to $95 billion by 2019 (source: Statista).

Omnichannel Optimization

Current research suggests that travelers prefer researching travel destinations via their smartphones but are still making their purchases on desktops because it is more user-friendly and secure.  Phocuswright for Bing’s ‘The Travel Marketer’s Guide’ reports that 40% of users conduct research using a mobile phone to find flights, hotels, and accommodations, compared to only 21% of shoppers that complete their transactions on mobile.  Given this trend, those in the travel and hospitality sector must work to make the transition between their channels seamless, with effective mobile optimization, websites, and apps, that keep their customers engaged and prevent them from leaving to shop at a competitor.

Omnichannel Optimization

Social Media Influence

There has been an enormous increase in the number of people sharing their travel experiences on social media platforms. It is no secret that millennials enjoy sharing images and comments on their travels and that it has become a large part of their identity creation, with many becoming influencers among friends, colleagues and their community, through sharing their experiences.

The dramatic growth of social media posts and reviews on holiday and travel activities have made the importance of a positive public image for travel hospitality destinations vital. Expedia’s ‘Millennial Traveler Report’ states that many customers base their choice of holiday destinations on their friends’ influence.

Social Media Influence

Having happy customers who post online is incredibly valuable to any business in travel and hospitality, making it one of the most important touch points in the customer journey. Satisfied customers become brand advocates through their posts, feedback and reviews on social media, magnifying every brand’s message and reputation significantly, as well as growing the customer base and awareness. Additionally, a positive presence on social media enables travel and hospitality companies to influence potential customers and get them interested in the complementary products and services they offer.

Analytics and Personalization

Vacationers look for unique experiences when booking their travels, and hospitality companies must personalize their shopping experiences accordingly.  An adrenaline filled adventure, a holiday with friends or a romantic getaway should all have unique content that is personalized and relevant to the traveler in order to provide the ultimate shopping experience.

Analytics and Personalization

State of the art analytics and personalization tools enable travel and hospitality companies to provide personalized shopping experiences by serving up relevant content throughout the shopper’s journey.    Theses tools measure and take into account customer searches, preferences, realtime site behavior, purchase history, and social habits when personalizing the content shown.  When done effectively, sales and conversions improve dramatically.

NextGen Technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI): With the help of AI, travel, and hospitality companies are now able to analyze their customer’s unstructured data including pictures, social post, reviews, natural language, searches, and history. Now more than ever before, targeted, personalized content that is based on a deep understanding of what they are most interested in can be curated to capture the attention of their shoppers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Internet of Things: IoT is driving the connected world of the future, and the travel and hospitality industries are going to reap the benefits of these new technologies. For example, in the future, hotel beds will be able to measure body temperature, mood, and hydration levels, linking with smart home technology climate controls to provide the ultimate in-room experiences.

07 May 2018

IoT Influence in Future of Digital Commerce

Digital Commerce

As per Gartner, digital commerce is defined as “buying and selling of goods and services using the Internet, mobile networks, and commerce infrastructure.

It includes the marketing activities that support these transactions, including people, processes, and technologies to execute the offering of development content, analytics, promotion, pricing, customer acquisition and retention, and customer experience at all touch points throughout the customer buying journey.”

Digital Commerce

Since the emergence of eCommerce in the US during late 90’s, the growth of eCommerce has been tremendous, generating a huge amount of transactions in retail, hospitality and media industry, which changed the way the business is conducted all over the world.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. The connecting of assets, processes, and personnel enables the capture of data and events from which a company can learn behavior and usage, react with preventive action, or augment or transform business processes. The IoT is a foundational capability for the creation of digital business.

In simple words, IOT goes beyond the traditional digital commerce devices like desktop, laptop, mobile phones and tablets to a more varied range of devices which the humans use every day with embedded technology that can communicate with the external systems using the Internet.

In order for a company to get into IOT domain, getting the fundamentals right is essential for long-term success, but the IoT is not a “one size fits all” solution. The integration of IoT technologies varies significantly among companies and industries.  Be it wired or wireless internet infrastructure, various things that are required to identify an object and communicate with the internet, which forms the basis for IOT infrastructure. These infrastructures include sensors, tags, product, networks, software application and analytics tools. As per Gartner following infrastructures are required for IOT to be a success

  • Things: Things can be dumb or smart on their own and store most of their data on board. Things can also be self-sufficient and communicate to the internet for only centralized coordination and analysis.
  • Gateways: Gateways may house the application logic, store data and communicate with the internet for the things that are connected to it. Things don’t have to be as smart because the gateway can provide these resources.
  • Mobile devices: Smartphones (or any mobile device) may house the application logic, store data and communicate with the internet on behalf of things that are connected to it. Things don’t have to be as smart because the mobile device provides these abilities.
  • The cloud: The cloud can act as the central connection hub, power analytics and provides data storage. Things don’t have to be as smart because the cloud will provide these resources.
  • The enterprise: This architectural role is focused on keeping connected machines, application logic, and analytics and data

Digital Commerce with IOT

Digital commerce growth is on the increase every year and shows no sign of a slowdown. Still, with this growth, there is a great opportunity available in the developed markets to take this to the next level using IoT. The digital commerce players or retailer or manufactures should stay on top of the IoT trend in order to stay ahead of the competition and not to miss the big IoT bus.

As per Gartner insights, IoT base is expected to grow by 26 billion units in 20203. There are a lot of R&D and implementation happening around us, with Amazon being one of the most visible case studies by implementing Amazon Dash, where each Dash button assigned to a product number and pre-defined quantity. Pressing the button will send the order to Amazon with the predefined address and payment method.

Another example of IoT in digital commerce can be of printer cartridges replenishment based on the cartridge levels. The printer can come with sensors which monitor the cartridges, and when cartridge life/level reaches a certain threshold level, the order is automatically placed using the account associated with the Printer and cartridges delivered to the address associated with the device and account. Similarly, IoT can be used for service, with the same example of Printer, if there are error codes, the sensor can send automatic troubleshooting instructions to the email id associated with the Printer and account, if it cannot be troubleshot by the consumer, schedule a service appointment by initiating schedule process with the customer.

With the application of IoT, Digital Commerce business can get a huge leap ahead in the way business is conducted and reap greater competitive edge. The main areas which the IoT can help the organization to go the next level are

i. Customer Experience

IoT can provide consumers with more holistic shopping experience with personalized and context driven interactions that can lead to high level of customer engagement. Based on the previous shopping behaviors, purchase history, the company can remove certain regular or low-value interactions and make it automatic and concentrate on providing more value to the consumer. Again, with the example of the printer, for the specific customer, take off the service and cartridge replenishment part from the main customer experience in the website and instead channel the customer towards more productive office automation or products of interest which will provide higher value.

ii. Customer Value

IoT technology leverages real-time information that helps companies to deliver unique value to the customers. In the current market scenario which is highly competitive, the customer data becomes a valuable asset to the company.  The companies can make use of this date to focus on various customer engagement strategies which may include warranties, periodic maintenance, expiry reminders, etc., as post-sale services. E.g., Based on the purchase date and product data, CVS can send a notification to the customer around 15 days before the expiry date of the product and provide an option to reorder the same product again.

iii. Inventory and Logistics

With IoT technology, companies can monitor the flow of goods/product/SKU from one location to another with the help of sensors and internet. This helps in tracking of product from production to consumption. IoT can help in tracking the items in transit, giving complete information about location, temperature, and more. With IoT-enabled technology, companies can easily manage the route and speed of their shipped products too, which can help in reducing lost or misplaced shipments. Sensors can be used in delivery trucks as well for real-time monitoring of the deliveries and decreasing losses.

About Pragiti
Pragiti is Gold Partner with SAP Hybris and providing broad range Digital Commerce and Omni Channel solutions and system integration services across varied industry and business segment. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills 4 locations, Pragiti works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders.
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