The advancement of technology, the uptake of digital channels, the popularity of mobile devices and changing consumer expectations and behaviour are changing numerous industries, no more so than the travel industry.
As change speeds up and industry boundaries themselves blur, there is a huge opportunity for organisations to interact, understand and engage with their customers in new and different ways. By utilising data to predict behaviour and customer journeys, and designing a more personalised experience, brands and businesses can interact and undertake transactions, anywhere and at any time.
As more and more industries continue to overlap, the focus will continue to move from the singular moment to the ability to change the entire customer journey with experience design as the driver.
Boundaries are blurring
Gone are the days of being about to focus solely on a single moment to build engagement. Particularly within the travel industry, we will see more and more need for industry partners to work together to offer a more wide-reaching experience. As an example, rather than focusing on just the experience of staying in a hotel, airlines and hotels will work together to create the whole ‘experience’ of the holiday. Leaders in the field will be those designing the experience from door-to-door.
Strangely, online travel aggregators are only now really getting a handle on the booking experience. What’s needed in a user-centric, cohesive viewpoint to the booking experience – design that moved beyond the individual moment and combines interactions and sections of travel into an overall journey. Why design is important at this point is because it will create a way for industries to work together to build a better environment for brands and customers.
Customers already understand this need and expect it; it’s now time for traditional brands to catch up and implement a more disruptive digital thinking.
The new way of thinking
Digital disruption introduces a connection of a range of industries – travel, transportation, accommodation, DIY travel planning. By offering the digital capability to connect a person that needs a service to a person that provides that service, the industry moves from just being a product or service to fulfilling the overall needs of the customer.
By reframing the existing problems and customer expectations, new solutions can be found that create a unique human experience, solve a real problem and/or create an opportunity for your brand.
The rise in mobile device popularity brings even more focus to the role of design in the travel industry. As we see more and more transactions being conducted on mobile, as well as from a social media and content management perspective, mobile must be a part of the new look travel industry. Mobile ensures that customers have power, collaboration and data in their hand at all times, and this means that many transactions now have a more social, convenient and spontaneous feel to them.
Mobile popularity runs the risk of eroding brand loyalty – customers are seemingly out for the best deal and the least amount of hassle. But this can offer an opportunity for brands willing to develop customer-centric experiences that are appealing, engaging, interactive, trustworthy and even shareable. Personalised and authentic interactions can be extremely valuable so it’s important to get it right and this requires a deep understanding of the customer journey, their behaviour and their ecosystem.
As the travel industry evolves and transforms into more of an experience rather than a snap shot in time, the sustainable growth and differentiation will come about through the use of specialised design. The combining of the real and digital worlds will build a solid customer experience based on evolving consumer behaviours.
To learn more contact the brand agency Liquid Creativity team, your local branding specialist, today.