Information overload hampers travel planning and booking process

A new industry study has indicated that younger, savvy consumers in emerging markets are mastering social media and mobile travel information more than most developed markets.

According to Amadeus-commissioned global study, Empowering Inspiration: The Future of Travel Search, three in 10 travellers in Europe currently have no interest in using their mobile phones for travel-related activities, but U.S. consumers show levels of interest comparable to emerging markets for mobile features such as alerts, check-in, etc.

Mobile device usage for travel is more than twice as common in emerging markets, most notably in India, where nearly 24 percent of travellers research destinations online on their phones.

According to Amadeus, there are clear opportunities for travel sellers to inspire and convert consumers while alleviating degrees of frustrations along the way. For example, the use of advanced destination selection and content customisation tools to attract and inspire consumers earlier in the travel planning process is key to gaining competitive edge in the years ahead.

Other key findings:

•  All consumers face frustrations during the destination, shopping and booking process, however, those in emerging markets are more frustrated than their developed counterparts. For example in the shopping process, 47 percent of U.S. travellers experience frustration online, compared to over 78 percent of Russian travellers. This is due to information overload and the lack of confidence that they are getting a good deal.

•  In the developed markets, nearly 50 percent of travellers had a particular place in mind, whereas in the emerging markets, it was only about a third of travellers. Catering to these travellers is advantageous, as attracting shoppers earlier in the purchase funnel broadens their audience and reduces their reliance on search and referral traffic. Furthermore, more than four in 10 travellers across the markets are flexible about travel dates, thus tools that help determine where and which travel dates have the lowest price have widespread appeal. It is time to think outside of the traditional city pair/travel date box.

•  Marketplaces around the world have been flooded with promotions, deals, and now flash sale brands that tout discounts with no context of whether an individual would be interested in the product. As consumer segmentation and behavioural targeting to consumers becomes more sophisticated, sellers will be able to microtarget promotions to specific consumers, offering products that are actually relevant for the buyer.

•  With hundreds of options, online shoppers are overloaded. Eventually, programmes will learn from an individual´s behaviour over time by observing and aggregating common patterns. Microsegmentation will help companies analyse behaviour and deliver increasingly intelligent results.

•  Devices will become smart and interconnected, and will store and make sense of information consumers look at. The programme will recognise and process inputs from the sites consumers visit and what they do on them, and will act as an assistant on the consumer’s behalf.

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