The Future of Travel & Tourism is Fueled by Digital Experiences, According to Appnovation Research

Consumer expectations of travel & tourism brands have shifted amidst the pandemic, and travel brands are primed for change powered by more personalized, values-driven experiences.

September 27, 2021 8:52 AM EDT

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VANCOUVER, Sept. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to Appnovation’s latest consumer research, Digital Innovation for the Experience Economy: Travel & Tourism, the majority (71%) of travelers are now ready to get back to local travel destinations, with 21% of travelers anticipating that they’ll be comfortable with international travel within six to twelve months and 28% in a year or more. Travel brands that integrate digital into customer-first experiences will thrive as the industry rebuilds and travelers regain confidence. 

Appnovation’s research measured Canadian consumers’ sentiment around travel readiness amidst the pandemic, as well as their expectations of Travel & Tourism brands in relation to their digital experiences when planning and booking travel.

Traveler Sentiment

  • Prior to the pandemic, day trips were the most popular form of travel. Day trips were the most popular form of travel for Canadian tourists (71%) compared to 64% of Americans. But, they also enjoyed traveling abroad, with 47% reporting international travel prior to the pandemic compared to only 22% of Americans.
  • Canadians are keen to get back to traveling, but at their own pace. Just under a third of Canadians say they’re ready to travel out of province (32%) with more Americans willing to travel out of state (49%). Traveler confidence gets higher as travelers look to the future. 
  • Cautious approach to the safe restart of travel. A third (33%) indicated that they would only feel comfortable to travel again once COVID-19 is gone or nearly gone. A quarter of people reported they would feel comfortable to travel once they and most people at their destination were fully vaccinated.

The Digital Customer Experience

  • Travel brands must optimize the digital experience. Only 16% of travelers rate the current digital experience offered by destination organizations as ‘Excellent’, and the digital experience of booking platforms slightly higher, at 19%. However, this indicates that there’s room for improvement.
  • Travelers expect an exceptional digital experience customized to their needs. Canadian travelers ranked easy navigation and up-to-date information as the most important factors (26% and 24%). A user-friendly design (16%) was ranked the second most important factor for a memorable online experience, meaning the user is able to easily and intuitively accomplish what they want.
  • Resources for trip inspiration vary amongst regions. Travelers are visiting destination websites for information around accommodations (71%), places to visit (69%), things to do (62%) and dining recommendations (59%). When planning travel, Canadians are less likely to use social media (17%)  as a resource for information than Americans (28%). 

“Now is the time to reimagine the digital experience for the traveler,” said Anton Morrison, VP, Experience Design at Appnovation. “Whether they’re planning, booking or experiencing a vacation, travelers are more cautious. That means there’s likely more research and more digital interactions happening before they’re ready to make a decision. It’s never been more important to invest in a digital experience that serves the relevant information they need alongside the inspiration they want.”

Travel Brands Should Focus on Values-Driven Experiences to Exceed Consumer Expectations

Customers ultimately value a seamless omnichannel experience that combines innovative, adaptive and convenient digital experiences with personalized and seamless in-person ones.

Three Actions Travel Brands Must Consider

  1. Focus on the customer. Different generations value different things when it comes to the online experience. It’s important to understand what the customer wants and how they’re behaving at every step of the journey in order to deliver a best-in-class experience.
  2. Provide personalized, data-driven experiences. By collecting  and analyzing data, travel brands can create data-driven experiences that are personalized to the individual customer. When this happens consistently, customer loyalty and  trust follow.
  3. Implement scalable, flexible technology to achieve this flexible and agile CX. Technology that allows for personalization, scalability and the addition of new channels as customers’ expectations evolve is essential.

The full report can be read here.

Laura Jeffery
[email protected]

Source: Appnovation

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