According to Phocuswright, which has extensively researched the in-destination market, travel activities, tours, attractions and events alone were worth about $135 billion worldwide in 2016 – dining and shopping not included.
Elsewhere, new research from eMarketer shows that desktop travel bookings are sharply declining in the US with mobile sales set to total $75.85 billion this year, up 16.7 percent from 2016. Global travel, tourism and hospitality is clearly maneuvering in this direction, so best to hop on board or get left behind.
Large and fragmented supply, together with basic technology and this lack of direct attention from the big fish, are a budding opportunity for companies who aren’t afraid of risk-taking and real ingenuity. Mobile companies that take the time to carefully connect the dots within the sector, forming widespread networks and lasting relationships, will be in a prime position to reap some pretty powerful benefits.
Mobile is pushing innovation in the in-destination market like never before. Bigger brands are beginning to seek out new ways to entice and delight customers during their travels. For example, a telco that sells tourist SIM cards could use a mobile in-destination platform for added value, whereas airlines could benefit from such a platform as a means to connect with customers via loyalty programs.
Consumers want to use their devices to explore, experience and share their travel. In the age of instant gratification there is no reason why companies should not meet these requirements.
Building an in-destination mobile experience requires a lot of working parts to synch and align – dining offers, day planners, guides, and instant booking of tours and activities, or what have you.
And customizing for specific partners, whether telcos, airlines or even financial institutions who want to connect with customer loyalty, adds another layer of sophistication and opportunity.
But in the long game of trendsetters and trend followers, it’s important to know which side you are on. In that way the work can be very well worth it.
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