Google has developed a new service called Think With Google. In a nutshell, they take the trends they are seeing online (and Google sees all) and meld it with experts in various fields to give insight to various industries and segments. Travel obviously, is a big one! Take a look at these five alarming (to some) trends and see if you are ready to compete in the travel arena in the coming years.
- 50% of travelers began to dream and conceptualize their next trip online.
- 85% of travelers feel that the Internet is their MAIN SOURCE for travel planning.
- 53% of travelers are actively planning to comparison-shop their trips this year.
- 50% of travelers are utilizing smart phones and tablet devices to find travel related information.
- 32% of business travelers are likely to post an online review of the places they have been.
So what does this all mean to you? It means that to compete in the travel arena, you had better be online. You had better be up to speed with technology. And, you had better be able to harness the Internet (competition) and explain to your clients why you are the best method to plan their travel.
To me, the statistics show that more than ever, travel has been commoditized. It used to be that you walked down the street to your “expert” travel agent and booked a trip. Today, you walk down the same street tapping away on your smart phone booking your trip with a computer who thinks they know you.
Yes, the industry has had a rash of great press lately; but we cannot sit on our laurels and hope for business to come in the door. We need to go and find it. And once we find it, we need to make sure the customer understands our value. If we cannot bring anything additional to the table for the customer, why would they waste time dealing with us by phone, email, or in person when they can do it in their pajamas from the comfort of their own bed?
These statistics tell me that to succeed, you need to be different than Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia. These statistics scream for specialization. Maybe it is a type of travel, destination, or even a lifestyle. When I owned several brick and mortar agencies, we were generalists—corporate, leisure, groups, Greyhound—you name it we sold it. We did very well with that model. But as the Internet began to really take hold, we realized we needed to shift our mindset. Today, we specialize in a lifestyle—single parent travel. Our business is 80% of what it once was. However our profit margins are almost 200% higher than they were! We are working smarter, with less effort, and more return.
Take a look at these graphics and look at the data behind the infographic supplied by Think With Google and decide what you are going to do to compete. Leave a comment, I’d love to know what you think.