Monday, January 30, 2017

Top Spanish travel trends from FITUR 2017

Every year I come across a whole range of publications and various industry pundits who define hot new travel trends that keep trending across social platforms. This has become a kind of New Year ritual. This year I decided to join them and be in the news J


I was at FITUR recently and it gave me the perfect platform to hob-nob with my fraternity members. I noticed that there are certain hot-ticket items that cropped up in most of these discussions. This made it easier for me to put together what I call my list of ‘top Spanish travel trends for 2017’. While I got the topic items from my meetings at FITUR, a lot of research has been put behind digging out relevant statistics to make this an interesting and useful piece. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the read.

Personalized Service at every touch point

Spain is the third largest county in the world in terms of international tourist arrivals and second most popular country in Europe after France. In 2015, around 68.2 million international tourists visited the country. Being a Spaniard, I have witnessed how technological shift from the last decade has changed travel planning and guest behaviour. A booking.com survey shows that 44% of travellers expect to be able to plan their holiday in a few simple taps on their smartphone and over half (52%) of respondents expect their use of travel apps to increase in 2017. There is no doubt that a country having 74% internet penetration with young and affluent travellers, Spaniards will expect personalized services at every touch point whether it is travel booking or during the stay.


Automation

How much time do you spend on travel research when planning a holiday? Remember the Google study which stated that a traveller visits around 22 websites before makes a booking! We all know that travel planning and research can get ridiculously time consuming and boring. However if you look at the right places, you can crack a great deal in a matter of minutes. Channels like Kayak which offers price comparison have come in very handy for quick travel decision making.


Most of the providers are now toying with automation and coming up with platforms that will provide travellers with everything they need. They just need to feed in their requirements and platforms like Hipmunk do all the needful. Hipmunk is currently beta-testing what it calls ‘Hello Hipmunk’ - a feature that atomically finds best deals for you and notifies when there is lowest available price. I like the feature and tested it on my Skype which is really cool. Instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and newly launched Google Allo let users get travel related information instantly.

Mobile Travel on the rise

Mobile technology is enmeshed in our daily lives so much so that it affects every decision we take – whether it is booking a movie ticket or the way we travel. Most of our activities and planning today start from the mobile. Starting from looking for a preferred accommodation to booking taxi or sharing travel experience in social media – all are connected to mobile. I was talking to an OTA and we got talking about mobile apps. Today most of the big travel brands have invested in developing their own travel apps to woo travellers and through various ‘in-app offers’ they are trying to convert these travellers into loyal customers.


I realised that hoteliers are not far behind – major hotel chains like Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Hilton among others, have their own app where guests can book the hotel directly from their mobile device. With mobile taking centre stage, it is expected that mid-sized and smaller travel brands will soon jump into the fray to offer mobile experiences and offers to their guests.


Ximo Garcia Argent
is Sales Manager for Spain and Portugal at eRevMax. He can be reached at ximog@erevmax.com


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