|Source: Trending With Seniors|
Across the travel ecosystem, one individual will emerge as the top trendsetter in 2015: the end traveler, reports Amadeus in its forecast for 2015.
Here are six travel trends Amadeus believes will shape a more connected future for travelers and those who serve them in 2015.
1. Travelers will push to level the playing field. According to a December 2014 Amadeus-Tnooz survey, online travel shoppers will demand price transparency, personalized offers and value assurance in their search and shopping experience. While social media may help travel providers serve and connect with customers, it won’t necessarily drive sales. Travelers’ pocketbooks will increasingly drive purchase decisions in 2015; more than half (54%) of survey respondents said price transparency is a critical component for travel companies moving forward.
2. Travelers will pay for personalized options. Amadeus’ Thinking Like a Retailer study reports 50 percent of airline travelers are interested in purchasing bundled ancillaries – add-ons like preferred seating, meals and beverages, entertainment, lounges and loyalty programs – to make their travels more comfortable. Another study, The Evolution of Airline Merchandising, cites a huge opportunity – more than US$130 billion in additional revenues – for airlines that invest in retailing. Industry estimates show that airlines are already earning $50 billion in annual revenues by selling ancillary services mainly through their direct channels. An additional $53 billion could be secured over the next five years by adopting an omni-channel strategy to merchandise ancillary sales.
3. Travel planners will rediscover traditional customer service. In response to the growing active senior traveler demographic, travel counselors will return to tried-and-true customer service methods like telephoning vs. texting, offering 24/7 telephone help lines, and delivering post-trip perks to generate customer loyalty. According to the Amadeus research report, “Trending with Seniors: Understanding the Active Senior Consumer Traveler,” one in every six Americans will be 65-plus years old by 2020, giving travel professionals a unique opportunity to tap senior spending power – $157 billion, according to a 2013 Forbes report. While tech-savvy to varying degrees, active senior travelers will gravitate toward travel planners who offer personalized counsel, expertise and support.
4. Travel technology will help ease travel hassles. New apps like the Amadeus Personal Disruption Companion will offer relief to passengers who, according to an Amadeus passenger study, say the No. 1 cause of frustration during times of disruption is insufficient information about what’s happening, followed by 18 percent who complain about receiving conflicting communication. The app puts the traveler in control when flights are delayed or canceled; it analyzes the traveler’s profile and current situation, and offers tailored options to manage the disruption.
5. Smart airports will make traveling easier. When they get to the airport, travelers will expect a more seamless, navigable experience. Airports will invest in technology that helps travelers check in automatically, move more fluidly from point to point, pass through customs, and access “just like home” amenities. New technology like Amadeus’ cloud-based Airport-Collaborative Decision Making Portal (A-CDM) at London Gatwick Airport are uniting the airport ecosystem (airport operators, airlines, ground handlers and air traffic management), helping them operate more efficiently, share information in a timely and accurate manner, and improve travelers’ overall experience.
6. Hotel and cab companies will woo upscale, budget-conscious, time-crunched customers. Frugal, clock-watching travelers will continue to want more for less, and hotel and cab companies will respond in kind. According to a report by the World Travel Market (WTM) and Euromonitor, a new hotel concept called the “poshtel” is emerging. This hybrid hostel/hotel will target consumers watching their dollars while still demanding an upscale hotel experience. In ground transportation, Amadeus has joined forces with innovative cab companies like Cabify and Cabforce to offer time-saving, budget-friendly options for passengers to book high-end vehicles with drivers by using their smartphones and PCs with real-time confirmation.
For today’s travel companies, the focus for 2015 rests squarely on the end traveler, the top trendsetter, Amadeus concludes. Understanding what travelers want most will help suppliers invest dollars and resources in the right places.