Travel Trends: Customization
Five trends involving personalization in the travel industry are personalized transportation, personalized recreation, personalized accommodations, personalized communications, and personalized ancillary options.
- In a report by Wex, it was found that airline companies are now offering personalized flight notifications to consumers based on data collected on social media and other online browsing. These notifications are more likely to be acted upon than non-personalized flight notifications, with 34% of consumers reporting booking a flight after receiving one of these notifications.
- Ryan Air is one example of an airline that recently invested in IT and data analytics in order to provide more customized recommendations.
- Consumers are also requesting super customized transportation options, like VIP shuttles and private helicopter transfers.
- Customers now expect at least some degree of personalization for their travel plans, even simple things such as personalized dining or entertainment recommendations.
- Customers are demanding increased itinerary personalization based on interests. For example, sports enthusiasts may request an itinerary to view multiple big-sporting venues, while animal loves may request to visit animal welfare organizations or have animal based experiences.
- In the future, itineraries may be entirely planned by artificial intelligence based on personal travel history and browsing, which would lead to a specifically customized experience for every traveler.
- Hotels are going all-in on personalization, with some customizing the room and stay to the traveler's preference before the traveler even arrives at the hotel.
- For example, hotels may customize the room's temperature, mini-fridge selection, lighting, and entertainment selection.
- Additionally, hotels are monitoring their customer's stays and adding personalized touches. For example, Marriott monitors the social media accounts of customers staying at their hotels in order to "surprise and delight" guests. Recently, they sent a bottle of Champagne to a couple that got engaged after the couple tagged Marriott in their celebratory social media post.
- Finally, travelers are continually seeking out-of-the-ordinary, completely unique and personalized accommodations, like igloos or tree houses.
- One big trend in personalized travel is personalized travel marketing. For example, AccorHotels is planning to spend €225 million on personalized email marketing over the next five years.
- Some companies are interacting one-on-one with their customers, or potential customers, on social media, by commenting on customers' posts or making use of hashtags so their customers can share their experiences with the brand more easily.
- Most companies are using AI to tailor their marketing "to consumer intent in the moment." This means tailored ads "that promote the specific amenities, services or experiences you know particular guests are interested in."
- Travel booking sites are offering personalization in their ancillary options that customers can add on when booking their travel plans.
- For example, booking sites may offer gift cards to local restaurants, equipment purchases specific to the destination, or even allowing the customer to order a specific catered meal for an outing during the trip.
- The luxury segment is taking this to the next level by allowing customers to add on a personal photographer for their trip, or a custom photo shoot specific to the destination.
Trends were identified as such in expert publications and industry surveys. All trends focused on the North American region.