Author: Ethel Graff, Account Director, Webhelp

The Webhelp team returned from a very successful visit to the EU Digital Travel Summit, in London last week. Here Webhelp Account Director Ethel Graff, reflects on her experience at the event and the rapid pace of change currently affecting the tourism industry.

There is no doubt that there is an increased appetite for digital expansion in the travel sector, with over 300 delegates attending the summit from a range of innovative retailers like Easyjet, Expedia and Marriot.

Representatives from social media giants, Google, Buzzfeed, Instagram and Uber also travelled to the UK to share practical insights on subjects as diverse as advanced data analytics, response strategies, consumer leverage, frictionless customer experiences and industry trends and disruptors.

This final topic made me consider how disruption in the industry is growing, with many traditional high-street or ‘on holiday’ bookings, now becoming the target of online sales.

For example, TripAdvisor traditionally focused on delivering information, reviews and then added room booking, but last year, there was a marked change in their profit structure. Venue-specific experience and restaurants bookings now account for 27% of their $1.61 billion in revenue. Plus, they have just increased the experience packages they offer by 90% – something that must impact the sector as a whole!

Undoubtedly this will be a growth market – I know from personal experience that it can be frustrating to arrive in a city like Madrid and find that it is impossible to visit The Prado Museum because it is sold out. TripAdvisor is proving very savvy in introducing these lucrative ‘must-see’ experiences as an early part of the booking process.

The lucrative experience market is now being captured by online retailers
Picture credit: Yudi Susilo on Unsplash

The TripAdvisor story is the perfect illustration of how improved understanding can lead to a better relationship with your customers, increasing revenue streams and client satisfaction – something that we work hard to deliver for our clients.

There were many other insights to discover over the two-day event, we were delighted to meet colleagues from across the sector, and there were several thought-provoking and stand-out moments that our team enjoyed.

Nora Boros, Webhelp, Head of Global Sector – Travel, Transportation & Leisure:

“This world-class summit brought together representatives from a wide variety of travel brands with key thought leaders from the CX world to explore and discuss the challenges and opportunities that the evolving digital market space offers.

Speaking to them and sharing ideas, helps to reinforce that in travel, there’s an opportunity to use the right emotional triggers and connections to bring to life the locations, the holiday, or the venue and increase the engagement levels that brands can have with their audience.”

You can read more on Nora’s thoughts in her blog on how emotional connections deliver smoother journeys and increased loyalty here.

Delegates should return to their home countries heartened by this experience of collaboration, with confidence that global innovation and new ideas will strengthen the industry.

Here at Webhelp, we are continually refining and improving our services, maintaining our position as Europe’s largest and most progressive customer experience outsourcing company. We boost the resilience of our clients to disruption and technological change by creating prosperous and smooth user journeys.

Get in touch if you’re facing disruption – or want to disrupt – and want to talk through the implications for CX. E:ewan.mckay@uk.webhelp.com

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