Addressing consumer demand for technology and sustainability could keep travel business better able to survive the economic downturn, a session heard at World Travel Market (WTM) London.
Caroline Bremner, head of travel research at Euromonitor International, said travel’s current key challenges were inflation stemming from the war in Ukraine coupled with post-pandemic labour shortages and the loss of China and Russia as source markets.
The company’s recent research however shows that technology is predicted to become a rapidly more important way to tap into consumer demand.
Data and analytics continues to be the technological priority of travel companies with over 65% of 700 travel professional surveyed believing this will impact travel businesses in the next five years, with artificial intelligence and augmented or virtual reality the next in importance.
Despite its economic problems, the Metaverse is seen as an area with long term potential. 50% of millennial consumers surveyed by Euromonitor were planning to attend virtual experiences such as concerts or sporting events while there was also take up in the viewing of virtual reality holiday destinations.
Among European travel companies surveyed, 69% believed big data and analytics would impact them in the next five years, 52% expected AI to be important and 42% augmented or virtual reality.
Euromonitor believes this will be motivated primarily by a wish to improve the customer experience followed by a desire to enhance cyber security, a concern likely accelerated by the war in Ukraine.
In the Americas, Latin America had a greater interest in VR with more than 50% of survey respondents there interested in exploring travel destinations by headset compared to 35% in the US.
In the Asia Pacific region 52% of travel businesses said integrating new technologies would be a key priority over the next three to five years. Meanwhile 48% of consumers said they would use a VR headset to view holiday destinations before deciding to book.
Euromonitor highlighted how Millenium Hotels has launched M Social, the first hotel in the Metaverse, allowing consumers’ avatars to earn awards in the Decentraland virtual world that could be redeemed in the real world.
Bremner advised companies not to turn the cost of living crisis into a ‘race to the bottom’ but instead to protect margins by investing in technology and being transparent with marketing sustainability, another growing customer demand.
“We have to remain cautiously optimistic because there are some very big challenges ahead. Already we know in Europe and the US there could be recession next year,” said Bremner.
She added that customers were willing to forgo other luxuries like home improvements in order to travel but flexible booking terms like offering payment in instalments were likely to help.
Photography from WTM shows is available to download via the following link: https://wtm.mediafiler.net/wtm/start/index
World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts.
Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London and 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London. http://london.wtm.com/
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 23,000 visitors and hosted over 30,000 participants including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai
Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai
Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.
WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.
Next event: Monday April 3rd to Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/
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