How the current digital revolution will ignite the travel industry
The future of travel technology looks very promising. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and machine learning are revolutionizing the travel industry landscape and loyalty programs are no exception. It’s high time to explore long-term strategies and new distribution models to drive engagement and reinvigorate your travel brand in this intensely evolving travel ecosystem.
The technology’s expanding footprints have triggered a formidable rise in competition for travel brands. The 21st-century consumer is tech-savvy and different from previous generations. The most obvious change in the last year is the rise of Baby Boomer travelers.
This affluent generation is keen to embark on adventures, involve in experiential trips with a luxury component, most likely to travel in a group and use devices to plan their trips while staying connected to their families and friends.
Baby boomers account for 80% luxury travel spending in the travel industry representing USD 120 billion a year market. (Source) Baby boomers are the ‘invisible tech generation’ representing the largest demographic group in the US with a population of 74M and are expected to be larger than Gen X by 2028. They are the wealthiest generation estimated to be worth $30 trillion. (Source) They have embraced technology to become some of the most engaged users. Here are some relevant tech facts about them –
- 90% own a laptop/computer and 70% have a smartphone
- they form 1/3 of all online users
- 80% book their travel online
- they have taken Facebook by the storm – about 65% prefer Facebook as their primary social media compared to 33% millennials
- 1/3 of them shop online spending almost $7B.
If you combine the size, wealth and ‘tech hunger’ of baby boomers, it suggests a big boom for the travel industry in the coming years. It’s time for tech-enabled trip planning with a centralized solution to be brought out by brands to cater specifically to this older audience. By offering seamless and easy-to-book experiences, brands can make sure to capture boomers and win their trust. Boomers particularly prefer loyalty programs for added incentives and rewards. Loyalty clubs can cater to this demographic by optimizing member experience and creating customized trips.
It is time to put the boomers’ data to work and offer relevant, high-value rewards to this luxe-seeking generation. About 71% of boomers like to travel solo and in style. (Source) Small, bespoke trips will appeal to the intrepid travelers who want to explore on their own. Since baby boomers are becoming increasingly reliant on technology, they prefer to research online before booking their trip. They do appreciate intuitive website or app with easy navigation. Brands can invest in offering real-time personalized rewards while browsing, tailored itineraries, and multi-generational trips, loyalty incentives, complimentary insurance, doc in a suitcase, visa assistance services and 24X7 personal assistance to cater to this large and powerful generation. Loyalty programs should focus on delivering quality through personalized product offerings and impeccable services through the intersection of travel and technology.