I don’t know about you, but I love a trends report- can’t get enough of them. So when Skift launched its Megatrends 2017 report two weeks ago I clicked ‘download’ before you could even say the word “trends”.
This year’s report is particularly great, because it contains something for all travel brands. Whether its about taking learnings from another industry perspective to inform your own positioning, or about an issue that directly effects your business, the thoughtfulness of the content is undisputed.
The part of the report that most resonates with me is the recognition by Skift that, finally, humanity needs to return to how we buy travel. There is no doubt that travel brands - in their race to harness tech, to do it better, faster, with more inspirational - have become dazzled by the array of tech options they can use to promote and sell their products. They have become sidetracked by tech, at the expense of experience.
Because, lets face it, the reason we travel in the first place is to build experiences; experience that we will bring home and that will remain in our memories for a lifetime. It is these feelings that encourage us to book with travel brands time and time again. It is the human connection that we form with the brand that creates loyalty, not the technology that was employed during the booking process (no matter how fun!).
Of course technology will continue to play an important part in the way consumers buy holidays - the functional processes can be automated - but emotional connections can’t be made with machines. Those that recognise that consumers want human-centric experiences when buying and learn how to support human intelligence with technology (and not vice versa) within their customer service models will reap the rewards.
It's time to bring the human touch back into buying travel and build emotional connections with consumers again.
Hospitality is all about the very human trait of empathy. And businesses need to remember that humans should remain front and center to create incredible experiences, helped — but in no way supplanted — by modern technology. — Jason Clampet