How Digital Influences The Traveler Buying Behavior

Technology has changed the way our world works. As Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of MIT Media Lab once said way back in 1998, “Like air and drinking water, digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence.” And it’s true – we have become technology dependent and it’s hard to think of any arena of life or daily activity today which we don’t use technology for. We have access to virtually everything within our fingertips, making life a lot more convenient and easier.

When it comes to travel, technology has had a significant impact on not only our booking behaviour but our content consumption. Gone are the days of walking into a travel agency and bringing home multiple brochures full of package holidays to mull over. Now you can easily research and book all aspects of your travel on one or more of your own devices without having to leave the house! From choosing a destination(s), booking your taxi to the airport, browse and compare flights, checking in, picking accommodation, researching the local area, booking activities, amenities etc. you name it, you can do it all at the click of a button.

And while we know that technology has changed the way we research, shop for and purchase travel, Expedia Media Solutions recently looked at three examples of how technology may influence your booking behaviour – which goes beyond your everyday targeted advertising i.e.

  • Digital Can Inspire Exploration: Imagery is one of the most powerful ways of storytelling in marketing and when it comes to travel, it can be highly emotive and influential. But for those of us who are still indecisive as to choose where we really want to go, Expedia Media Solutions have taken it one step further to help us make a choice! Partnering with Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA), they showed potential travellers’ drone footage of striking scenery of the Hawaiian Islands. At the same time they used facial recognition technology to identify the most emotional responses from the viewer based on the scenes that evoked the most positive expressions and then recommend their ideal Hawaiian vacation based on the results – pretty impressive!
  • Digital Makes Planning Travel More Accessible: Before you buy a car, you are more than likely take it for a test drive. Before moving apartment or buying a new house, you always have a viewing in person. And more often than not, you can ask for tasters at restaurants before ordering. So when it comes to travel, the use of virtual reality and first-person-style video are examples of how technology allows travellers to also have a “try before they buy” option. Expedia Media Solutions ran a campaign, leveraging first person video and created an immersive online experience allowing potential travellers to experience local cultural activities as if they were there in person. With many travellers now ranking local activities above price and deals, this type of digital campaign could become highly influential when it comes to choosing a destination.
  • Digital Makes the Research and Inspiration Phases Easier: This point is not overly surprising or new. Mobile is ubiquitous in nearly every aspect of our lives. And when it comes to travel, researching, planning and booking a trip is literally accessible at one’s fingertips. But the real statement or point is, if we think mobile is ubiquitous now, soon it will be even more ubiquitous. The millennial generation were “blamed” for the shake-up and disruptive in many industries due to their interaction with mobile devices; mobile usage for them became “ubiquitous”. When compared to millennials, Generation Z is thought to be even more disruptive in how they consume media and mobile, and are four times more likely to use a smartphone for inspiration, research or booking travel than baby boomers. And after them? Generation Alpha (born on or after 2010), the oldest ones in the group are only 7, haven’t even established credit but yet they are already predicted to be the most transformative age group ever! In summary, what we know as “ubiquitous” now, is only the beginning.

To read the full article visit the Skift website here, and for more insights on how traveller behaviour is changing, download the full study here.

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