Making Money Referring Hotel Bookings
Travel industry trends are constantly changing, which makes it important for consumers to always stay updated. For example, earlier this year, technology integration helped hotels start accepting mobile payments for their reservations. Now, with direct airfare purchases coming to mobile devices, it’s easy to see how travelers will continue to be more tech-savvy. This is great news for travel industry vendors, like those focused on improving the booking process.
The mobile payments integration—which is being rolled out by a variety of airlines—is just the latest example of how travel industry technology vendors such as Gate2way can enhance the overall booking process for hotels, through customer-facing technology that pushes what’s best about travel beyond the digital journey. As a travel market leader, it’s important for my company to understand the trends and emerging technologies that travelers are using to make their reservations.
New innovations are using consumer feedback and behavioral science to improve the traveler experience. One such new development is the concept of a traveler “connector.” A traveler connector is an online service that collects data about the traveler and provides them with an improved booking experience.
Let’s say you’re booking a room for your upcoming vacation. Your travel agent or online travel company would send an inquiry to a traveler connector, which then sends you personalized recommendations. These personalized recommendations could be as simple as where you can eat or where to get the best view of the city. However, these personalized suggestions might also be as complex as directing you to a night club or book a yoga class for you. Based on your interests, the traveler connector would then engage you in a conversation, and enable you to customize your booking experience by adding-on amenities, like extra legroom.
The traveler connector is built with a variety of data sources, and should complement existing technologies that are used to improve the booking process. For example, if a traveler was planning a trip with his wife, the travel agent would leverage a variety of data sources, including past travel purchases, to determine what hotels are best suited for him and his wife. The traveler connector would then ensure the hotel is included in the trip and provide a personal interaction to ensure you don’t get stuck in the middle seat. This entire process would be completed in just a few steps, ensuring that you have an amazing trip and don’t end up leaving your spouse behind!
Realizing the traveler connector concept
A few travel companies are already working on this concept, and many others are following suit. Travel and technology companies need to recognize the major implications of consumer engagement and pay closer attention to how they deliver this information to their customers. With this concept in place, it will become a lot easier for consumers to make the booking decisions for their entire trip, rather than just during the booking process. Once consumers have the perfect itinerary, we will be able to do away with travel agents and communicate with guests directly.