Industry insights

Next-Gen Travel: Are You Ready?

Travel is changing. The way we travel and interact with the ecosystem is undergoing a dynamic shift – look around, mobile boarding pass, trusted traveler programs, automated baggage drop are some of the latest advancements in making the journey a bit more enjoyable and less of a chore. While premium travel continues to strive to drive new heights around comfort and luxury, a vast majority is poised to benefit from system and technology advancements that are centered around them. Here are a few to look out for:
    • Mobility – Look out for boarding passes, tickets, positive IDs to land on your mobile phones directly. As security agencies begin to warm up to the idea of accepting a boarding pass on a mobile and new technologies such as NFCs proliferate, this is poised to be a big one that will have a direct impact around passenger convenience. But that is not all. Consider airport location based services esp. retail, that can sense when a passenger passes via a burger joint and pushes a discount coupon. How about it senses which airline you are flying and offers an additional discount at its restaurant? The possibilities are vast and the access to consumer/passenger analytics can be a treasure trove to mine.
    • Seamless, multi modal travel – One ticket to conquer them all. No more multiple portals, multiple tickets to carry. A single ticket for all modes of travel in your journey and let the travel provider figure out the various modes and the interlinkages in the backend. As a passenger, figuring out which mode of travel to take during the various legs of the journey, aligning them right, comparing prices across providers, booking multiple tickets can be very stressful if not confusing.
    • Personalised Offers – The banking industry has been doing it for some time now. The loan you get approved fro can be very different from what another colleague gets despite similar financial net worth, since your credit scores differ; the way you shop and save is different. Increasingly, travel companies are differentiating their offers between not just customer segments but also between customers in the same segment. If you have your meal at the lounge every time before you fly, they may not want to offer the ability to purchase one on board since the probability of you buying one is very low or if you have always been at the window then there is no sense in offering an aisle for a fee.
  • Next-gen Social Networks – The social networks used by travel companies will start to go beyond being a channel for mind share. They are increasingly becoming the new age contact centers for bouquets and brickbats, with a very high degree of amplification. Information is being pulled and aggregated, and with great credibility – far more than what any company promotional material can speak about. Not to mention the minute details that are laid bare ranging from which seats have the audio video on demand boxes underneath (and hence less leg room) to airhostess behavior to tips on getting great last minute fares to rail coach step height from the platform. The social network will soon be a tool that will drive innovation, operational excellence and higher standard in customer servicing from travel companies.

Travel companies have already started to think, execute and in some early adopter cases, also deliver against these. As a passenger, this is bound to get better in days to come. For a provider, these are exciting times to drive innovation and work to make the industry climb up to the next stage of maturity.

Associate Partner, Global Strategy & Watson Leader - Travel & Transportation

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