The Complexities of Modern Travel Merchandising
Doug Gaccione blog
For airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers, the present and future opportunities for revenue and loyalty are ready for the taking. The complexities, however, are growing more vast and unmanageable under existing, legacy systems.
Transforming Travel One Opportunity at a Time
The practical possibilities for travel and loyalty must be understood in the context of ongoing changes across the entire travel technology and distribution landscape. Brands will need to make better connections between personally identifiable information (PII), loyalty data, passenger/guest systems and merchandise to really push their ancillary margins wider and be part of the larger ecosystem that serves the connected traveler.
Many suppliers have been able to cobble existing systems together to connect loyalty programs with other channels like hotel partnerships. But they need newer technology to adequately manage the larger ecosystem, not just hotels but car rentals, destination activity providers, travel insurance and more. But first they need to use their customer data to refine the booking process – this is the only way they can generate higher revenue and translate those results into sustainable and profitable loyalty.
Making Connections in a Complex Travel Ecosystem
The traditional model of travel distribution – in which suppliers use distributors to deliver inventory to third party agents, who then make sales on the supplier’s behalf – is giving way to a much more complex travel ecosystem that will require much more sophisticated booking engines. Above all, booking must be dynamic and engaging, presenting the right inventory to the right customer at the right time, and building loyalty components (incentives and rewards) directly into the booking process.
Consumers themselves are driving transformation by engaging travel content across multiple channels and devices – and demanding that travel suppliers adapt. Consider the developments in the landscape of travel distribution in just the past decade...
Search engines and social media platforms are becoming online travel agencies (OTAs).
Traditional OTAs are investing in loyalty programs of their own to compete against direct channel booking engines from airlines, hotels and other suppliers.
Metasearch sites are also becoming powerful arbiters in the distribution of travel search traffic.
The travel industry may be messy, but many of its problems and challenges come down to a lack of travel technology that works across verticals and allows providers to connect their inventory with other sources. Interested in how you can create better experiences for travelers, drive ancillary revenue, and create more loyal customers? Contact us today to learn how we’re partnering with airlines, hotels, and other travel brands transform travel challenges into travel opportunities.
Blog author: Doug Gaccione