Breaking news

World tourism: The 13 mega-trends of 2016

15/01/2016 Top Stories , Trends
World tourism: The 13 mega-trends of 2016

Skift's annual magazine is devoted to their analysis of 15 big trends playing out in the global travel industry, from changing consumer habits, to the big marketing changes happening, to how consumer data are finally being used to understand the trav

Skift magazine reveals its big, annual package devoted to the trends that will define the coming year, The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016.

During the last three years, Skift has defined the conversation for the year ahead with its annual megatrends package. This year they hope to continue to decipher and define the big trends for you, the professional in the global travel industry.

This annual magazine is devoted to their analysis of 15 big trends playing out in the global travel industry, from changing consumer habits, to the big marketing changes happening, to how consumer data are finally being used to understand the traveler, among others.

These are the 15 megatrends Skift has addressed in its magazine package:

1. The Travel Industry Is Now Ready For A 360-Degree View of The Traveler

Data, it has often been said lately, is the new oil. Just as oil in the 19th century was an untapped resource that ushered in wholesale changes to the world economy, so is data, which has the potential to make businesses smarter and turn all marketing communication into one-on-one conversations with customers.

In the past, a hotel would know when a guest has booked and could track some behaviors while they are on site, but understood much less about that consumer’s overall trip — where they were traveling to next and how they would be getting there.

That is changing with the wide adoption of mobile and willingness of consumers to interact with travel brands in a growing number of ways. The speed with which solutions providers are rushing to tap into the increasing amount of available consumer data, and evolving technology means that in the coming year, marketers will approach an all-encompassing view into customer behavior and preferences.

Helping to drive this are the evolving CRM systems and technologies underpinning them, providing more details on travelers than in the past. The rapid shift of CRM technology into the cloud (Centaur Partners puts it at 31 percent of the current SaaS market with expectations for rapid growth in the coming year) has meant lower cost of entry and more rapid deployment for brands. Solutions providers have been working to help clients deepen their understanding of customers’ purchase paths and long-term behavior, offering brands a wealth of customer data trails, drawn from social media, Google and elsewhere, based simply on a customer’s name and phone number.

Data from online reputation management (ORM) efforts, including travel reviews and survey data, is being integrated into CRM programs while major hotel brands are building more robust customer service efforts on social media, and integrating this data into their prospecting and retargeting efforts. Mobile messaging is enjoying a larger role as part of a brand’s communication stack, and hotels and airlines have made greater investments in this area. This means more data from a wider range of sources and steps in their path to travel, allowing for personalized messaging on a grand scale. Consumers are sharing more information than ever, and while brands must be careful not to overstep with respect to consumer privacy, those that strike the right balance have a far more robust understanding of the traveler.

Context-aware apps and those using beacon technology has deepened this further, allowing brands to present customers with offers or services based on their location within a hotel or travel journey, such as Marriott’s LocalPerks or James Hotels’ James Pocket Assistant. Mobile deep-linking is also allowing mobile apps to reach outside their silos, creating potential for cross-app marketing, and a seamless experience for customers. Such a 360-degree view into customer behavior opens up a huge number of possibilities for travel marketers, from leveraging a larger number of channels more effectively, to making the growing amount of consumer data more actionable.

With this comprehensive view into the traveler’s journey, the industry is poised to elevate and personalize the travel experience further than ever

2. The Big Turmoil in Big Hospitality

The global hospitality industry, comprised of the organized hotels sector, the organized vacation rentals sector and the former sharing economy sector, is driving all innovation in travel now. That much we said last year in the Skift Megatrends For 2015. That is still true.

What is also true that at a time where everything about hospitality is being rethought, the industry that pioneered the chain experience and made global business travel consistent, stable and possible, is now in the midst of all kind of turmoil.

This is happening despite a record-level 2015 performance, and the big hospitality industry is left wondering what to do for a second act.

Last year was marked by a wholesale reinvention of hotels with heavy investments in design and technology and tremendous growth through lifestyle properties and soft brands. Hotels vied for first place in the race for relevance, fueled by OTA dominance, the sharing economy and consumer desire for local, authentic experiences.

To ride that momentum of innovation and to grow on top of record, hotels may turn to one strategy, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which historically occur when the industry is on the uptick of its business cycle. That’s where where we find ourselves now.

Marriott seized the moment by buying Starwood for $12 billion. Weeks later AccorHotels paid $2.9 billion for Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel. Continued demand growth and record occupancy levels matched with modest supply growth will also foster 2016’s frenzy. The economic climate, healthy with flushed cash, is conducive for expansion. Furthermore, brands today are asset-light — wherein they franchise and manage hotels rather than own them — freeing up cash to make companies cheaper to acquire and increasing market presence, attracting hotel owners keen for exposure.

M&A’s can also greatly shift the OTA landscape. Marriott’s deal created the world’s largest hotelier, rich in a portfolio of 30 brands. Such a powerhouse yields tremendous influence when negotiating with OTAs, as they themselves are huge entities. Brands can also better compete against disruptors like Airbnb by way of product differentiation, offering everything from budget to high-end resorts.

Growth is everything for hotels; it keeps shareholders happy, and it also expands their global footprint. Yet consolidation is a gamble. Acquiring brands, depending on whom they acquire and the integration process, could triumph. Smaller companies may benefit from parent company resources like CRM, marketing, sales, and reward programs. Consumers may become spoiled with a vast network of choices and ample means to accrue loyalty. That’s the hope anyway, as the stage has been set for a flurry of M&A deals that will transform the industry.


3. The Bourdain Effect: Food is Now the Leading Hook for Travel

In a time in which almost every experience can be digitized, food stands alone as stubbornly analog.

Perhaps that’s why culinary travel experiences are now the most popular method for driving tourism business. Food has an unmatched ability to communicate a unique sense of place. Local cuisine provides a direct connection to the history of a region, the soul of its people and the rhythm of daily life.

Food app Reserve’s CEO Greg Hong put it very well, speaking at Skift Global Forum in October 2015: “Dining will be the last form of live entertainment. As we start to digitize experiences, we are going to yearn for authentic experiences where we can break bread together.”

As a result, restaurants have shifted the travel brand identity of destinations from Las Vegas to Cape Town. NOMA in Copenhagen, for example, redefined the Scandinavian travel landscape after winning San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurant multiple times. Cheap Southeast Asian street food has evolved on the world’s culinary stage so much that Michelin added a new section in its annual star ratings to profile the best food stalls in Hong Kong and Macau.

The most future-thinking travel brands are now connecting immersive food and beverage with other travel experiences following in the footsteps of culinary travel explorers like Anthony Bourdain. Visit Britain extols the virtues of gastropubs in Manchester. Australia pushes traffic to the Northern Territories with indigenous cuisine-themed itineraries.

Hospitality, cruising and aviation brands across every budget tier are also providing context around native cuisine by incorporating local products and producers into their marketing and strategy. Conrad Hotels launched a new “Smart Luxury” campaign highlighting the most intriguing local travel experiences around its properties, including restaurants and fresh markets. The Seabourn cruise line is opening fleet-wide restaurants operated by star chef Thomas Keller, and United Airlines is partnering with AFAR to develop local destination content with an emphasis on food and beverages.

Travelers today are hungry to explore behind the scenes of any given destination, and they’re using culturally specific food to discover and understand the world like never before.

4. The Direct Booking Wars Are in Full Bloom

After TV ad campaigns by Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International in 2015, and a lobbying campaign by the trade group the American Hotel & Lodging Association all designed to spur travelers to book directly on hotel websites, some hotels are even saying privately that they plan to reduce their room allotments to online travel agencies in 2016.

When the online travel agencies are sold out then booking on hotel websites becomes an even more practical endeavor.

Hotel chain website and mobile share globally seemed to be “trending up” in 2015, says Henry Harteveldt, founder and travel industry analyst for Atmosphere Research Group, while online travel agency share grew more modestly, one percentage point to 20 percent.

The share breakdown, according to Atmosphere’s numbers was:

• Hotel brand websites and mobile, 25 percent

• Local properties’ websites, 8 percent

• Online travel agencies, 20 percent

The rest was divided among channels including hotel phone reservations, walk-ups and traditional travel agencies

In 2016, Marriott and Starwood, which announced that they will merge, as well as Hilton Worldwide, and InterContinental Hotels Group, are all expanding options for loyalty program members to bypass front desks and use smartphones for keyless room entry, and this feature won’t be available for travelers who book their stays on Expedia, Booking. com and TripAdvisor, for example.

What’s needed here? More imagination from hotels. Hotels will continue to add exclusive perks, such as points and basic Wi-Fi for free for those travelers who book direct. The most creative properties and chains will also offer direct-booking perks such as early check-ins or late checkout, too.

Such frills illustrate that while there’s no obvious victor yet among OTAs and hotels, the consumer is a clear winner.
5. The Rise of Fast Casual Design in Travel

At the Element Harrison hotel outside of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, the free breakfast queue snakes through the lobby in a sleep-deprived conga line. Mini-quiches, bagels and cereals cascade across a cool tiled wall and guests ratchet through in selfservice, stacking their plates high with  simple, warm food. It’s an efficient and yet appealing way to feed an army of hotel guests in a style that’s quickly catching on within the travel industry: fast and casual.

The whole concept of fast and casual within the hospitality industry is a throwback to recent progress within the restaurant space. Chipotle, now famous for capturing market share from the legacy fast food brands, was able to resonate with younger customers by deconstructing the ordering process and dressing up the overall experience, making customers feel both classier and more in control of their purchases – all without breaking the bank. And now Shake Shack is one of the hottest purveyors of the fast casual concept, making it a brand restauranteurs around the world are copying.

Hotel brands like Element and Aloft, both Starwood properties, have now applied this model to the hotel space, using tools like self-serve meal kiosks and free Wi-Fi to appeal to a younger generation of travelers more sensitive to cost and less interested in the complexity and stuffiness of legacy brands.

“Fast casual seems to be a reaction to a decade of overdesign and superdesign,” says Lionel Ohayon, the CEO of Icrave, an innovation and design studio responsible for properties such as the Hotel Gansevoort Lobby in New York City and the C and D Delta terminals at LaGuardia Airport. “I think that there’s an elemental quality that people are now looking for in their travel experiences, something more spontaneous and participatory.”

Over at Marriott, the newest solution comes from Moxy hotels. Now open in Milan. Moxy’s design leans heavily on do-it-yourself meals, connected spaces and a communal lobby, shirking the traditional hotel standbys of sit-down restaurants and concierges.

Do it yourself meals and pricing, or à la carte experiences, are also catching on in the airline space, where younger, cost-conscious travelers can choose the perks they want to pay for, ranging from checked bags to upgrades to frequent flyer miles. This is why budget carriers like Ryanair and Spirit have always done well with younger travelers – and why dinosaurs like Delta are now exploring ultra-barebones fares.

Looking forward into 2016, the concept of fast casual in design will continue to rise, creating simple and cleaner experiences across the spectrum of user touch points. Travel providers will benefit by creating more efficient products that are less expensive to operate and that can be portioned out piecemeal for extra revenue. Consumers will benefit too, through cleaner user experiences and simpler, easier to understand fare and product structures. In the end, everyone will come out a bit more efficient – and hopefully a bit happier too.


6. This Is the Year of the American Traveler

It may be a bit messy considering geopolitics and the coming divisive election, but U.S. Travelers are still in an excellent position to travel with fatter wallets and broader horizons than they have in a decade.

With an economy that’s clawed its way back from the disastrous policies of the Bush II years, the U.S. dollar is stronger now that it’s been in recent memory, and unemployment levels are back to pre-Bush levels. The dollar is now at a 10-year high against the euro, the Brazilian real, Japanese yen, Turkish lira, and many other currencies in desirable places. It’s even improved its position against British pound since the latter’s low in 2009, but better than the preceding 10 years when the rate was as poor as $2 to £1.

But Americans don’t have to go abroad to get a deal. Domestically, oil prices are so low — already down 25 percent year over year — you can get two road trips for the price of one.

Not only is the money situation improving, the few remaining barriers of red tape are coming down, too. Brazil will suspend its reciprocal visa policy for Americans (among others) in a three-month period around the Olympics. Visa-on-arrival and visa-free policies are becoming more of the norm elsewhere, too.

It’s not all sunshine. There’s a refugee crisis stretching from Afghanistan to Berlin and ISIL’s horrific attack in Paris in November is a reminder that the War on Terror hasn’t defeated terrorism.

And then there’s Cuba. After 50-plus years of holding its breath in hopes that doing so would succeed in getting the Castro brothers to leave, the Obama administration tried a new tack in December of last year and announced a thaw in relations that’s already resulted in an ease on visits, banking policies, more charter flights by JetBlue, and ports of call for Carnival. By the time this appears in print, we’ll likely see commercial flights, too. We’re pretty sure that a few thousand Carnival passengers invading Havana’s streets will get upend more than a half-century of Castroism faster than an exploding cigar.


7. Video Is the New Language of Brand Communication

A work-addled American loses his laptop in Paris. No, this isn’t the feel-good romantic comedy of and finds love in the form of Margaux, a beautiful the summer, but a 25-minute film produced French woman who tells him, naturellement, to  stop obsessing and enjoy life.

The film, which took place well before the horrific events in Paris in November, is also possibly the answer to a question plaguing the industry: How can a brand emotionally connect with possible customers?

For a long time, this conundrum stymied many travel companies. When you sell experiences, which is what most travel companies actually do, it’s easy to fall back onto time-worn cliches of beaming businessmen relaxing in first-class or couples walking down a sunny beach.

Smart brands have learned that a customer’s feelings, in many ways, determine what they buy. Instead of selling hotel rooms and airplane seats as commodities, brands are learning to tell stories using video that create an emotional connection with a specific audience.

Marriott International is the leader in this approach. The brand now operates an entire video content studio, which produces original short films and animated clips, to serve its own needs and create content for clients.

Some airline brands are also making video a more prominent part of their marketing outreach. Turkish Airlines’ Delightful Stories campaign, for instance, profiles travelers from around the world, highlighting the motivations that drive them to travel.

“The idea with our video ads is that we’re giving our customers soft messages,” Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil told Skift. “We’re never giving them hard messages such as ‘We’re the best airline.’”

Why has this new form of video marketing emerged? Consumers have an intimate relationship with mobile technology, with which they increasingly consume video. Streaming video will account for more than two-thirds of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017, according to Cisco.

As more consumers cut the TV cord, they will increasingly turn to online video for entertainment and inspiration. As always, the travel industry will meet consumers wherever they are.
8. Smart Cities Are Now Platforms and Traveler Services Are Being Built on Top

Twenty-sixteen will be the year when cities start. Looking ahead, the Melbourne Data platform in leveraging their exponentially growing volume of Australia is showcasing the next generation of open data to provide new services for travelers. services for different sectors, including the meetWhile long anticipated, it’s only now where the ings and conventions industry. The city’s data sets “City As Platform” concept is evolving into a func- provide up-to-the-minute information for meeting tional urban operating system to support the hype planners on everything from bookable pop-up around smart cities. conference venues and special events to public  art and local barbecue parties. he number of devices connected to the In- ternet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow 30 Or, what if someone wants data on Melbourne’s percent globally in 2016, driving $235 billion famous laneways? Yep, there’s an API for that. in IoT services. Those “things” are providing a lot  of data, and over the last few years, cities have In the private sector, organizations like MIT’s SENlaunched open data platforms with new APIs for SEable City Lab are developing systems that collect developers to create new apps with. Today, existing a city’s open data to create holistic platforms that examples of that are transportation apps like Smile, also integrate user-generated content from the apps4BCN and MyTransport in Vienna, Barcelona public. VisitBerlin’s new Going Local Berlin app and Singapore, respectively, which collect data on also crowdsources information from locals and traffic patterns, public transportation schedules, visitors, creating rich data offering insight into weather and more to provide the most efficient real world consumer behavior. ways in real time to get people from point A to B.

In effect, cities are becoming their own macro social media networks for sharing information between humans and machines. The challenge is that all of the millions of networks in thousands of cities have different APIs or they’re full of “dark data” that goes unused. They don’t speak to each other very well, which hampers the cross pollination of data and the ability for people in one community network to share information with another in a different city.

Therefore, national and regional governments primarily in the U.S. and Europe are developing cooperative initiatives like “CitySDK (software development kit)” APIs, which ensure a consistent user experience in cities that provide a CitySDK interface. As that gains adoption over time, travelers will be able to plug into different community networks without requiring a new app everywhere they go.


9. Build Your Own Passenger Experience Is the Future of Flying

For decades, flying has been predictable, reliable but a bit boring. Limited reservations systems, and long lead times to adopt change, kept airlines stuck in a sales rut, offering customers little or no flexibility

Market shifts, customer demand and the emergence of new technologies are changing that model to a fully customized experience.

Airlines have broken up their total product costs, selling anything beyond the right to fly as addons. The urge to reap profits from unbundling has forced changes to reservations systems, allowing airlines to sell unique product combinations. They can now offer ancillaries at the time of booking, and closer to the date of travel through email and SMS promotions.

Airlines like Finnair increase send well-timed emails to Economy ticket holders offering limited-time upgrades to business class. This is an effective work around to premium ‘sticker shock’ at the time of booking.

Airlines are also beginning to use apps to sell products and services at the right time, during the journey, when passengers are less price sensitive and more open to suggestions that solve specific problems.

The next step is digitally driven. As reservations and sales systems become more sophisticated, on-the-spot solutions via mobile and with apps could allow better ancillary sales onboard.

JetBlue is already ahead of this trend, making it easier for passengers to buy in-flight food and beverages with Apple Pay on their Apple Wallet or through the airline’s app.
On passenger’s personal electronic devices and even on airlines’ in-flight entertainment systems, airlines can sell more ancillaries including: last minute upgrades to empty premium seats, lounge access during connections, duty-free items shipped home, in-flight meals, comfort products, premium entertainment, hotel reservations, ground transport, special events, tours—nearly endless combinations.
Some of personalization is already becoming part of the airline passenger experience today. Airlines will offer new features at an accelerated rate as they profit from these new sales models, and technology makes it easier.
Despite initial consumer resistance to unbundling, everyone wants to have a better trip and they want control. If what airlines offer their customers solves a problem, and enhances the flying experience, passengers will dig into their wallets.

10. Messaging Is the New Language of the Globe, Are Travel Brands Listening?

Snapchat, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Viber and many other messaging platforms dominate much of how the modern world communicates. Travel brands that haven’t jumped on those platforms yet are missing out on the future of how people prefer to communicate both at work and at leisure, around the globe.

Messaging apps are a place for connection. The one-size-fits-all booking search box is not a place for connection. Messaging is how you break out of the tyranny of the online travel search box, in use since 1995. Team messaging app Slack demonstrates just how penetrable messaging has become.

So far since launching, Slack has hosted the #nomads and #TNdistrict channels. The former is an invite-only 3,000 member strong group of (primarily solo) business travelers that “chat about life, work and travel.” The latter is a premium, subscription-based travel advice community for millennial-friendly black travelers.

These communities feel more intimate than tweeting at a brand or commenting on an Instagram photo. Messaging groups are focused and committed to their topics, and that is the mindset global travelers yearn for as traveling becomes more common in emerging economies where messaging is dominant and these populations seek advice on how to move about the world.

Airlines and hotels have already taken note of the phenomenon. Hyatt, for instance, has been using Asian messaging app WeChat to connect with the Chinese market and Shangri-La uses WeChat for content marketing campaigns. In the airline category, the 28 airline members of Star Alliance are making a concerted push to reach international travelers in China via WeChat. KLM has also tested WhatsApp for its Dutch customers with strong results, and is considering expanding that more widely.

Industry figures point to social messaging as the fastest-growing online behavior within social media during the past five years and WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger all individually have more monthly active users globally than Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest put together. Social messaging will account for 2.5 billion global users by 2018, more than the 2 billion general social media users.

11. Partnership Time for Hospitality in the On-Demand Economy

If your enterprise or business is focused on building on-demand functionality, travel verticals are ready for you to innovate.

Hoteliers understand that on-demand technology is changing passenger and guest expectations around service and responsiveness. They also know that it’s better to partner with existing on-demand providers than to try to create their own services.

Implementation is moving in two key directions: plug-in infrastructure and external service providers to on-site guests.

1. Plug-in on-demand infrastructure means, most directly, a back-end overlay in large part replacing what have traditionally been telephone- and in-person operations for hotels. Third-party on-demand providers such as Alice are already allowing hoteliers to satisfy guest requests for room service, housekeeping, tickets, dinner reservations, even booking a private jet as part of a mobile digital interface. Furthermore, hotel management can monitor all requests and services from a 360-degree vantage. While large hotel companies are working with inhouse iterations of this on-demand/mobile-based tech — Marriott and Virgin Hotels, for example, have recently done so — smaller hotels will turn to third-party solutions, and Alice is the first of them, rather than expend massive resources on building out the needed infrastructure by themselves.

2. External service introduction is another angle of on-demand that hoteliers are talking about. The deeper unbundling and more extensive opening-up of the on-demand milieu to third parties who can bring outside services into the travel brand’s space stands to augment or replace traditional hotel food and other services. For hotels, bringing on partner-level on-demand suppliers stands to eliminate expenses and create a percentage-based revenue stream without the ancillary business responsibilities of running an on-property venue.

Success at solutions such as those in the preceding examples rely upon close attention to partner selection and incentives: hospitality will have to either pair with the best and brightest third parties — ones capable of supplying deep inventory, significant variety, and white-glove customer satisfaction strategies — or they’ll have to create incentives. Logically, these would be incentives attached to loyalty programs — ones that nudge the on-demand partner into the first-choice/ most-favorable category for users seeking points, discounts, and increasingly personalized offers.
When they work, on-demand partnerships  will put cost-cutting and service-amplifying features into travelers’ hands — and they offer the potential of creating new leaders among the vanguard hotels that adopt them — creating a tangible advantage, in 2016, within an increasingly unbundled milieu.
External service introduction is another angle of on-demand that hoteliers are talking about. The deeper unbundling and more extensive opening-up of the on-demand milieu to third parties who can bring outside services into the travel brand’s space stands to augment or replace traditional hotel food and other services. For hotels, bringing on partner-level on-demand suppliers stands to eliminate expenses and create a percentage-based revenue stream without the ancillary business responsibilities of running an on-property venue.

12. Focus Shifts From Millennials to Gen Z

In 1949, Joseph Campbell introduced the concept of “The Hero’s Journey” in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. He outlined the steps a protagonist takes as he is called to a challenge, bravely takes on the battle, and emerges victorious and transformed; identifying the construct that we see in everything from Greek mythology to modern-day superhero movies.

Based on conversations with its flyers, Virgin Atlantic noticed that many business travelers follow a similar quest, with every journey providing an opportunity for adventure. Richard Branson’s transatlantic airline put this theory to the test, asking 1,000 frequent international business travelers about their thoughts on work travel. Nearly three in four say it feels like an adventure – and their actions, behaviors and attitudes support this statement. The survey shows a positive shift in the mindset of business travelers, which is especially encouraging as global business travel spending hits a record high* and more companies invest in sending their employees abroad.

Here’s a glimpse into today’s Sky Hero’s Journey: Nearly all international business travelers (99.5 percent) look forward to business trips and nine in 10 say they always get excited to fly. Three in four say it feels like A Call to Adventure, with new people, places and things to experience. The journey is playing an increasing role, with nine in 10 saying that business flights offer time to think and get inspired. It’s also an opportunity to Meet the Mentor: more than half have done business with someone they met on a flight. As they Cross into the Special World, 84 percent say the outbound trip feels very different from the return. On the way there, people feel focused and optimistic, and they’re absorbed with working and eating healthy. The return trip evokes feelings of relief and gratification; they’re more likely to relax, sleep, and enjoy the in-flight entertainment and a cocktail.

Trials and Tribulations are inevitable: Top gripes amongst frequent international business travelers across all airlines include lack of sleep, loud passengers, and not enough healthy food options to energize them for the challenge ahead, but travelers appreciate ease of check-in, in-flight Wi-Fi, and great customer service.

After the journey, the Sky Hero emerges transformed: four in five say business travel has had a positive effect on their personal lives, while 94 percent agree it has a positive effect on their professional lives. Most (64 percent) feel that they’ve truly Returned with the Elixir, saying the knowledge they gain from other cultures gives them a real advantage in business.

13. Online Booking Sites’ Newest Rivals: Their Former Friends

In every industry, companies that distribute products often get the bug to take more of the business for themselves. Supermarkets push their own private label goods. Amazon doesn’t just sell books from other companies, it publishes them itself.

The reason is simple: it is a bigger margin game, and you also own the customer, at least in more ways than just being an aggregated marketplace.

The same thing is now happening in the travel industry. Metasearch providers TripAdvisor, Trivago and Google, which had built businesses by generating leads for online travel agencies and hotels are now becoming booking sites in their own right.

In the perennial battle between online travel agencies and hotel websites, online travel agencies commanded 41 percent, 69 percent and 64 percent of the hotel gross bookings in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific in 2014, respectively, according to “The Phocuswright Yearbook 2014: The Year Ahead in Digital Travel.”

But now online travel agencies themselves will become increasingly dependent on third parties, namely metasearch sites such as TripAdvisor, Trivago and Google, which will increasingly attract a shareof their booking spoils.

In these metasearch site bookings, the hotels and online travel agencies are still the merchants of and handle customer service for guests but the metasearch sites will gain a foothold in consumer consciousness as booking sites.

As Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia Inc. CEO, recently told analysts, “We don’t know exactly where it is going to shake out.”

Neither does anyone else. But one thing is clear: the trend is definitely greater distribution and an increased number of bookings through newly strengthened and growing travel metasearch players. We wouldn’t be surprised if the supposed “frenemies” for now would end up truly competing with each other in the next few years, with the resultant severing of the existing relationships.

Skift thanks their magazine sponsors Denver International Airport, Meetings Mean Business, Siteminder, Boxever, Checkmate, Virtuoso, and Virgin Atlantic for making this megatrends package possible. These are smart companies that understand the bigger trends happening in the global travel sector and are building their businesses on top of these trends.

Download the compy for deeper read here.


READ MORE HERE: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations , Greek travel market, Greek tourism statistics, Greek tourism reports, Patmos vacations, Patmos island, Patmos news, Patmos Hotels, Patmos Villas, Patmos stay, Patmos luxury, Patmos transportation, Patmos fly to, Patmos ferries

Related articles


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply