Travel Experiences in a Digital First World: Preparing for Disruption with the Rise of AI

Julie Hoffman, Global Director Industry Strategy Travel, Hospitality and Dining, Adobe 

This is the third installment in a series of articles sharing insights from our partners who presented at an HSMAI Chief Marketing Officer Roundtable 

Brief overview of research 

The last 3 years have brought unforeseen challenges to the travel industry and accelerated the need to simplify. More than ever, today’s businesses face pressures to evolve rapidly, catering not only to the demands of their customers but also the emergent technological landscape. 

5 challenges business face in retaining loyalty:  

  1. Competition in Loyalty Retention. 
  2. Rapid Market Changes. 
  3. Rise of In-Session Service & Support. 
  4. Scaling Personalization Through Maturity. 
  5. Massive Personnel Shortage. 

Today, it is not just about delivering but how quickly you can do it. Both digital and physical experiences need to be rapid, seamless, and aligned. Through our research we discover the evolving consumer behaviors and answer the questions:  

  • How many chances do we get before losing a customer?  
  • What drives loyalty in today’s world? 

Biggest Takeaways 

Brands that are digital-first are leading in personalization maturity. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) currently set the tone at the initial stages of the consumer journey. Three findings to highlight: 

  1. Loyalty is hard to gain, but easy to lose. 
  2. Consumers are buying experiences, not products. 
  3. Speed, convenience, and relevancy are now more important than cost savings.  

We found that a delay of even 1,000 milliseconds can turn away customers, when their expectations are not being met. It is pivotal for brands to optimize their digital platforms. Brands need to offer an integrated journey, binding both digital and physical experiences for a genuinely personalized touch. 

Why is this Research Timely? 

AI has reached the disruption tipping point. Especially in sectors like travel, brands leveraging personalization through automation are seeing substantial returns. We have witnessed an acceleration in digital progress, operating at speeds 20-25 times faster than previously predicted. In this new era, speed and convenience form the backbone of loyalty. 

Implications for Marketing Professionals 

Consumers want a brand that sees them. Meeting this need for connection can cement loyalty. The integration of offline and online experiences is a necessity. Companies have the opportunity to utilize data from past interactions to enhance future engagements. Recognition, acknowledgment, and awareness are integral to hospitality and can significantly improve consumer relations. 

Understanding and adapting to these insights is not just about keeping pace but about moving ahead. 

Learn More 

Webinar: Driving Consumer Loyalty During Digital Disruption 

State of Personalization in Travel & Dining 

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles