In a recent guest article on Tnooz, Marco Saio, Director of Global Research and Projects at EyeforTravel, polled key people from Google, TripAdvisor and Facebook to see what they think will be the next major trends in travel, given the current disruptive trends (flash deals and tablets, anyone?) and the quickly changing landscape of both travel tech and consumer preferences and behavior.
Some of their key takeaways are excerpted below.
For Rohit Dhawan, the Lead Product Manager at Facebook, it is the very nature of the web which is shifting to social, not just individual sites and services, meaning that (real) people are at the center of marketing like never before. The era of the “on-going, two-way dialogue between brands and their customers” is truly here:
Because of this connection, we’re seeing that businesses can now achieve effective word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the first time. We’ve always known that the best recommendations come from your own friends – and now businesses can leverage this natural word-of-mouth using the suite of marketing tools that Facebook has to offer – including ads, pages, sponsored stories, and social plugins.
Barbara Messing, Chief Marketing Officer at TripAdvisor, listed several trends. One is that a growing number of travelers are becoming both interested and savvy at discerning how environmentally and socially concious hotels and operators are – they want details on such practices and to know how much of their money is going back to the community.
Another is the widespread appropriation of consumer reviews – TripAdvisor is no longer the only venue for this, and businesses are increasingly posting reviews directly to their sites (the hotel industry in particular).
While TripAdvisor has for over a decade believed that the wisdom of our reviewers helps other travelers have the best trips, we’ve recently seen that the hotel industry has also embraced the benefits of reviews and the importance of that content to their social reputation…With TripAdvisor having over 45 million visitors last month reading some of our 50 million reviews and opinions, we know reviews are essential to consumers in the travel-planning process.
For more statistics and what to do about negative reviews, check out Insights: Why Including Consumer Reviews on Travel Sites Matters
According to Rob Torres, the Head of Travel for Google, the flash web sale patterns that emerged in 2009 will remain strong (and likely increase, with new competitors popping up) as consumers remain value-oriented and willing to spend more time researching deals and options to save money.
The other current he’s predicting is a new spate of product innovation in the industry through travel startups in 2012, particularly in the conceptual stages of travel planning:
When you look across the phases of the travel cycle – Dreaming, Researching, Booking, Experiencing and Sharing – the potential for innovation, particularly in the early stages of dreaming and researching is astounding.
For a full review of the trends predicted, please read the entire article on Tnooz, Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor on what is next for travel