The Future of Travel - New Consumer Behavior and the Technology Giving It Flight - Google

Excerpt from Google

With its early use of online booking, the travel industry stands as one of the first successful adopters of digital marketing. But as tech’s effect on consumer behavior continues to evolve, so must the playbook by which companies operate. For travel companies, that means meeting customers’ rising expectations for assistance at every point of the purchase journey.

Today’s travelers are increasingly impulsive and want information quickly. A recent study that we conducted with Phocuswright suggests that more than 60% of U.S. travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal.1 We see this trend reflected in our search data too. In the U.S., we’ve seen that travel-related searches for “today” and “tonight” on mobile have increased by 150% over the past two years.

“People don’t just want faster access to information—they want better, more personalized experiences,” said Oliver Heckmann, Google’s VP of engineering for travel and shopping. “If I were to pull out my phone and search for a nearby hotel or restaurant, I’d expect the information I find to be tailored to me based on my location, time of day, and maybe even past interests," he said.

The numbers show Heckmann is right: 57% of U.S. travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. Furthermore, if a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% (over 1 in 3) would be likely to pay more for their services.2 He added: “Not only is there a strong appetite for more customized, meaningful experiences, but there’s a business case for travel companies to do more here.”

And here’s where machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) factor into the picture. As we transition to a new era of computing with machine intelligence—equally significant to last decade’s move from desktops to mobile devices—machine learning unlocks new insights and opportunities for travel companies to deliver better, more useful experiences for users than ever before.

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