Up Close and Personal: Traveling in the Experience Era
“The days of mass tourism are long behind us!” I bet you’ve heard this one before. But what has crept in to take its place in the current travel landscape? Welcome to the experience era, as the demand for “experience-first” travel shows no signs of slowing down.
The modern traveler is already shifting their priorities accordingly – I see it with my Gen Z friends, my millennial co-workers and even my boomer parents. These modern travelers look to save on flight expenses and accommodation and instead spend their money on extraordinary experiences abroad. The tourism market has already responded to these changes, and realizing that new loyalty strategies are required. And, while there is some consensus regarding the importance of journey value, and going the extra mile has become the new normal, it seems that many companies have yet to figure the right way to curate memorable and engaging activity-based travels for their customers. (That, or they lack the resources to do it).
The key to all of this is personalization. Travelers today seek out distinctive, tailored offerings that match their own idea of a perfect travel experience.
I bet you’re already familiar with the stats – consumers want to shop with brands that provide them with customized offers and recommendations; they want to be recognized as an individual, not a market segment. In order to not only keep up with these expectations, but reap the benefits of them, companies need to become a trustworthy source of travel inspiration, and “gift” their customers a holistic travel experience.
Many companies are heading in this direction by creating new tech-driven channels to engage with their customers. Great innovations are already in motion as travel brands upgrade their platforms and offer new customer success features – I love it when an airline texts me live updates regarding my flight, I adore the easy check in process for keyless Airbnb flats and I would definitely appreciate my hotel more if they’d answer my pre-arrival questions on Messenger. Technology will surely continue to open new doors for travelers, and with older generations slowly adjusting to the world of possibilities that technology holds, these solutions will become more and more approachable.
But technology, as advanced as it may be, is still just a measure and not an entire solution. With the goal of providing a better experience in mind, content still plays a major role in earning a customer’s trust. Technological developments have slowly managed to take on a variety of human skills that never fail to amaze me. But when it comes to the reliability and trustworthiness of content, a human touch is the one thing that ultimately makes a world of difference for the end-user.
Our day-to-day dialogues with dozens of travel companies, whether existing clients or potential ones, has only emphasized to us the industry’s desperate need for new ways to drive customer satisfaction and increase their loyalty. It’s pretty clear that the companies who successfully leverage this trend will be the ones to strive in this increasingly competitive market. At Unwrapped, we understand the power of high quality curated content, and by using human-vetted recommendations as an effective personalization tool, we are helping dozens of our partners to become the content-driven, experience-focused brands that their customers expect them to be.