How to improve online travel industry with new technology

For the last few years the role of online travel agencies has grown dramatically and now they are the main way to book holidays and vocations. According to Statista Digital Market Outlook, the revenue from the industry will have grown to almost $300 billion by 2021. The statistics include such categories as hotels, accommodation rent and holiday trips. The research shows that the offline travel agencies will be gone soon and it’s a high time to think about the advancement of your business with the help of new technologies! You can also read about prank apps

Benefits for clients

Customers are a base of every business, let’s try to understand why your own web or mobile solution development for travel business is a reasonable step and why customers like them so much.
Simple booking. Trip booking services are very convenient to use minimizing the time needed to plan the vocation or a business trip. Customers can book a trip any time they feel like from any place and get the immediate confirmation. More than that, the online-travel agencies offer a wide range of services like accommodation booking, tour planning and so on.
Appealing content. One more great advantage of the online booking is that a customer can use lots of various content like maps, videos, customers’ reviews or even virtual tours. This variation helps to persuade a user easily.
Comparison feature. As well as that, some services allow to compare prices, so a user believes that they make an informed choice with lots of benefits and with no filling that they spent more than they planned to. Especially it’s necessary for flight tickets booking as their prices can vary.
Hot offers. As a matter of fact, some customers are very impulsive and tend to make spur-of-the-moment purchases. And tourist industry is not an exception here, so make sure that such customers will find everything they need on your portal. Make your solution flexible so people can find lots of hot immediate offers with a hotel and flight tickets options.

How to make your solution competitive

Comparing the data from all over the world, we have to notice that the greatest proportion of the income is generated in Europe ($62 billion) then goes the USA ($60 billion) and China ($20 billion) in 2016. In Europe, the most travelling country is Great Britain. And if you have no idea where to start, you can easily choose Europe.
However, don’t forget about the giants of this business like Expedia and Priceline Group, which offer all-in-one travel solutions, with flight tickets booking, hotel reservation, car rent and so on. They achieved it with the help of mediators consolidation, like Kayak, Booking, TripAdvisor and Hotels.com.
Now, you see that the market is rather competitive. In order not to drown you need to stand out from others. To do that, pay attention to these three main factors:
  • Unique concept of your company
  • Technical innovations and innovative solutions
  • Social hype around your project

1. Unique concept of your company.

It’s not a secret that there are lots of similar tours on the tourist service market every gives you a chance to book a hotel, plan your tour, buy flight tickets. Nevertheless, they also try to create some unique proposals, like “romantic tour” or “gastronome tour” where you can enjoy a private relaxed atmosphere with your soul-mate or try gastronomic specialities.
Use all your creativity and imagination to make an exclusive offer that will be interesting to customers, like unknown roots or eco-hotels. The hotels in your service may have yoga classes, adventurous events, ski holidays and various spa or vice versa services for families with kids. Religious tours gain popularity, why not to use it as a special offer, including monasteries and holy places in the itinerary.
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2. Technical innovations and innovative solutions

The main factors that brought tourism industry to the global level were smartphones and online booking services. Smartphones allow customers to get immediate access to online-booking of various services via the mobile applications. And believe me, the leaders on the market are not standing still and keep up with technological innovations. They understand that it’s a key to their success, a way to advance their business and attract a new audience to their services.
According to the recent Facebook Developer Conference, the trends in the technological sphere is chatbot implementation, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual reality. And soon the implementation of these technologies will be an essential part of the majority of travel agencies.
Customers are thrilled with an idea to try VR tour before booking a trip or an accommodation. As well as that, virtual assistants and chatbots will make the booking process more personalized and automated.
Actually, there are many more innovative approaches which can be used in the travel industry, let’s look closer at them.

2.1. Chatbot

Chatbot is a program that works perfectly with clients, as it creates a personalized approach and shortens the route to the action fulfilment. Even more, the program memorizes preferences and taste of a user. Some famous travel companies like Expedia.com, Kayak and Skyscanner launched their own bots on Facebook, Messenger and Slack. The bots help customers to book tickets, choose hotels and tours for their holidays.
Chatbots are an effective way to save on client support and improve their satisfaction. If you create a multilingual Chatbot with 24\7 client support, you will automate multiple routine tasks and reduce expenses on staff training.
As an example, take a look at SnapTravel Chatbot, which combines Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning tools to perform a search on Expedia, Priceline and other partner sites to provide a customer with the best offer. At first, the Chatbot asks cities, date of a trip and your hotel and budget preferences. After that, it offers a few deals. Of course, the program doesn’t cover all offers on the market and a customer may have to wait for a few minutes until the answer arrives, yet the service is reliable and already has many loyal customers.
The other example is a Chatbot from Hello Hipmunk. It works on Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype. A customer can ask for advice where to go, when to go and even choose a type of a holiday, like romantic, adventure, bitch or gastronome. A User can even choose an airline company that he likes the most. Based on this information the Chatbot searches for the relevant offers. If a customer doesn’t want to talk to Chatbot, he can use standard site or application, which is rather sensible as not all users like chatting neither with a bot nor with a person-assistant.

2.2. VR and AR

We believe that AR and VR can fulfil two tasks in the tourism industry: demonstration and inspiration. The technologies can be used as a sales instrument and influence on a decision making process. VR can be used by:
  • Airlines and railway companies to demonstrate airplane cabin, choose between classes (business or first class)
  • Hotels, to show different rooms, view and facilities.
  • Travel agencies, to show what tourist attractions are included in a tour, some special offers, like diving or paragliding.
  • Car rental companies, to offer all available vehicles and services.
  • Conference and exhibition centres.
You may hear an opinion that it’s too complicated and too expensive but new technologies build the world we will live tomorrow, don’t lose a chance to be a part of the future. Photo and video not always give an overall idea of a place. Full-immersion is a new experience that may become a great marketing tool for your business.
Suppose a user is choosing a hotel, your mobile app offers a VR tour, so a customer can feel the atmosphere, the condition of a place and if something is wrong he can move to another VR tour.
YouVisit is a great example of a platform that adapted VR tours for its purposes. They have a really impressive HD library of virtual tours. Using Google Cardboard for mobile phones viewers dive into virtual tours visiting cosy streets of Paris or sunny beaches of Bora Bora.
Hooper is a great app with lots of personalized offers. In the app, you can not only book flight tickets right from your handset but also recommend you the best time to do this. The app applies predictive analytics and finds the best offer according to the latest trends and price levels.
Don’t forget about Google Trips one more service to organize and plan trips. It automatically shows what places to visit during a day. If a user can’t find an interesting variant, he updates the result and the app shows what other spots near he can see. The standard feature to book a hotel is also available here. Moreover, the app works in online mode as well, so don’t worry if the Wi-Fi connection is poor.
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3. Create social hype around your project.

Probably rumour mill is the best tool to advertise your project. And if you want everyone to know about your app, add there a few social features. For this, add city guide or a section with city events based on users advice. The section “Meeting” can also be helpful, here customers could arrange a meeting with other travellers to chat or have a cup of coffee. And the most important feature is social integration to share impressions with all friends.
To be successful in the market of tourism industry take into consideration our advice based on the information mentioned above:
  • Target European market
  • Add good content to your app, the more formats you use the better it is, so videos, maps, users comments and virtual tours are must have.
  • Offer exclusive tours
  • Include technical trends into your project, like a Chatbot, AR and VR experience, personal guide.
  • Add social features to make your app more popular
  • Add price comparison feature for the convenience of your customers.
It would be great if you develop a web portal or an application including all the creative, innovative or even crazy ideas you have. Look closer at your competitors, what are they missing? Think what else you would add to make it better. Today, with all the technologies and tools we have it’s not a problem develop a first class product and make it extra popular. If you want to create your product with a team of professionals, write us to mix our experience and your ideas.