The challenges of the changing consumer best sums up the flavour of Day three of the Travel Tech Show at World Travel Market, the largest travel tech event in the UK.
Hoteliers were provided with great insight from Maarten Plesman, Vice President, EMEA for Revinate on reconsidering paid search in light of the dominance of the Priceline brands are in Europe and Expedia in the US.
“These players have such sophistication and scale that it is questionable that you can keep up with them.”
Plesman advised the audience to invest in the channels where hotels are being compared as that’s where the “game is played.”
He also told companies to consider their reputation in terms of images and reviews in comparison portals because it’s not all about price.
Plesman summarised by telling hoteliers to think about the guest experience as the whole journey and making sure they really understand customers by creating rich guest profiles.
Hotels are not the only ones challenged by changing consumer behaviour, destination marketing organisations are also having to deal with the digital traveller.
Leading a session with DMOs, Nick Hall of Digital Tourism Think Tank highlighted the challenges of staying on top of tech savvy, connected consumers who come armed.
VisitDenmark UK Director Dennis Englund said:
“Staying relevant and top of mind is the biggest challenge. What made us successful five years ago does not apply so we need to rethink the approach.”
CapeTown Tourism Executive Marketing Manager Velma Corcoran added that demonstrating value was also an issue when consumers look to sites such as TripAdvisor for credible information.
Funding continues to be challenging for DMOs in the world of Facebook likes and Tweets and how to value social media mentions.
However, some panellists were upbeat about the increasing amounts of data available and how it can be used demonstrate the value an organisation provides.
Facebook is one company with masses of data on consumer behaviour at its fingertips and inevitably a session with Lee McCabe, Head of Travel, Education and Consumer Strategy Services for the social network, was a huge crowd pleaser.
He was speaking at a WTM Travel Perspective session and pointed to the massive potential mobile presents marketers and the travel industry in general.
“The smartphone is the remote control of our lives. We use it for more and more – for travel to plan, book, validate decisions and talk to friends.”
McCabe touched on consumer trends such as the desire for connection, convenience and context.
He also shared some developments Facebook is working on with its Messenger service for Business as well as its M concierge service.
Virtual reality also came up with Facebook-owned Oculus Rift planning to release early next year which will be driven by apps.
“How people communicate is changing. Texting is decreasing and people are using images more and more as a form of communication. Now there’s video as well, which is why we developed the platform and before long virtual reality and augmented reality.”
Virtual reality was highlighted as a trend to watch by Richard Cope, Senior Trends Consultant, Mintel, who presented TravelFutures.
Further areas to for the industry to watch include beacons in cities to guide visitors, also flagged in the WTM Global Trends Report, in association with Euromonitor International.
Dating app Tindr also got a mention as something which could be borrowed by the travel industry and used to introduce travellers to local experts in resort rather than hook people up for potential romance.
“Tinder has got its eye on this,” he said.
Similar social connection-type apps also got a mention by Cope including Zuwoba in China – which translates to “rent me” and PlanDo in Hong Kong.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Almost 52,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
World Travel Market is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s WTM portfolio, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com
The World Travel Market Portfolio is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; World Travel Market in London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
The WTM Portfolio’s events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.
In 2014, the WTM Portfolio facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events.
WTM is owned by the worldʼs leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million active event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of RELX Group, a world leading provider of professional information solutions. www.reedexpo.com