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Data and personalization key to unlocking travellers’ ‘second wallet’ for ancillary travel purchases Travel Tech News

Data and personalization key to unlocking travellers’ ‘second wallet’ for ancillary travel purchases

New research reveals travellers’ dissatisfaction across digital channels and highlights the need for airlines and hotels to embrace the “era of complete retailing” to become the “Amazon of travel”.

New research on the travel sector has found that 50% of airline passengers around the world report that they spend more time than is desirable using digital channels to plan and book flights.

Similarly, 45% of hotel guests report that they spend too much time planning and booking a hotel stay.

Of the travellers surveyed, 70% reported that they would like to receive personalized offers from travel sellers and 75% report they are comfortable sharing personal data if it will help them to save money or have better journeys. However, despite this, just 20% reported receiving offers that reflect their interests, travel behaviours, or stage in their lives. This is despite the travel sector being one of the pioneering e-commerce sectors and one of the largest digital commerce sectors globally.

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The research was undertaken by Atmosphere Research Group, a San Francisco-based travel industry market research firm, and published in a new thought leadership report, which sets out the need for airlines and hotels to enter the era of complete retailing and distinguish their brands from competitors, to make their digital channels more compelling, and strengthen their customer experience if they want to become the ‘Amazons of travel’.

The report ‘Maximizing Revenue across the Traveler’s Journey’ was commissioned by Ireland’s trade and innovation agency, Enterprise Ireland, a significant seed investor in travel tech companies. Having created industries like aircraft leasing and duty-free shopping, Ireland’s uniquely concentrated and collaborative ecosystem comprises more than 100 travel tech companies, spanning global giants to rapidly scaling niche players. The report finds that airlines, hotels and travel sellers are increasingly looking to Irish travel tech companies to build out their ancillary product strategies and boost profits.

Travel industry thought leader and author of the report Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research Group said: “The travel technology world is thriving, but poor digital experiences weaken the joy of travel and the potential profitability of travel retailers. Entering the era of complete retailing is the next frontier for travel retailers, where they are dynamically creating and selling relevant, personalized, appealing offers to travelers. Cloud and machine learning technologies that deliver data-driven responsive technologies will be core to this.”

“Groundbreaking travel tech companies are already delivering new generations of nimble and responsive technologies that are helping travel sellers to maximize sales opportunities spanning every traveler’s journey,” added Henry Harteveldt.

CarTrawler, for example, provides the technology for airlines to offer car rental, private airport transfers and on-demand ride hailing services at more than 50,000 locations in 174 countries. Working with more than 100 airlines, CarTrawler expands the airline’s offering to their customers, creating substantial ancillary revenues. Data is at the core of their offering, using data effectively to tailor offers to increase the potential of a traveler making a purchase. In CarTrawler’s first year of working with SWISS and Vueling, each airline saw its car rental conversion increase by 151% and 298% respectively.

Boxever, the data and personalization firm working with major airlines around the world, has been one of the pioneers in harnessing the strengths of data, AI and machine learning to help airlines such as Emirates, Ryanair and Volaris to use their data better and offer smart effective personalization to improve conversion rates and average order value.

Hostelworld helps hostels worldwide who especially cater for millennial and generation z guests to offer a compete retailing solution with their property management system software. As well as managing occupancy, the software is configured to sell ancillary services online, helping hostels to improve guest experience, reduce operating costs and drive ancillary sales.

Maire P. Walsh, SVP Digital Technologies, Enterprise Ireland USA said: “The travel industry’s demand for market-proven innovative solutions that supports the complete retailing agenda is high and are increasingly looking to Ireland’s strong cluster of travel technology companies for the solutions. Reflecting this demand, Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio of travel tech companies had combined international sales of close to €0.5 billion in 2018.”

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