The travel and tourism industry has been at the forefront of digital innovation and is seen as a leader in e-commerce, but industry and technology trends suggest that further change lies ahead. The sector has been an early adopter of digital technologies and platforms and cloud-based solutions have increasingly replaced existing legacy systems and processes, no longer seen as fit for purpose in the new digital world. Cloud computing provides travel companies with an easily scalable infrastructure that is available on-demand and on a pay-per-use basis. It saves travel businesses from investing in on-premise infrastructure, and from managing it.
“Digitisation represents an exciting opportunity for the aviation, travel and tourism ecosystem, with the potential to unlock $1trillion of value to the industry and wider society over the next decade (2016 – 2025)” from the World Economic Forum
Demand in the travel industry has never been higher as customers seek life experiences through travel. In the UK alone, according to the Office of National Statistics:
- 2 to 4 million overseas visitors come to the UK monthly
- 4 to 9 million UK residents visit overseas monthly
Steep demand for travel, driven by growing purchasing power in emerging markets and the increasing importance of digital experiences, indicates that further digitalisation will be vital if the expectations of tomorrow’s consumers are to be met. Travel and transport companies must continually innovate and enhance the traveller and customer experience to drive revenue, maximise the availability of assets and infrastructure, and improve operational efficiency.
The evolution of the industry’s digital transformation over the next decade is predicted to centre around four key themes: a living travel experience, an enabled partner ecosystem, digital enterprise, and safety and security.
Living travel experience
Today's travellers, especially millennials, want to experience travel journeys tailored to their habits and preferences, rather than just consuming products and services. In order to achieve this, partner companies along the aviation, travel and tourism industry journey need to optimise the customer experience by collecting and exchanging data, and continuously generating insights. Over time, travel will become a frictionless experience blending seamlessly with other everyday activities. The challenge is harnessing and connecting the continuously rising volumes of structured and unstructured data to derive actionable insights to improve the customer experience and ultimately drive business results.
Kuoni recognised the need to optimise the customer experience. By migrating their website to the cloud, we helped Kuoni Travel UK deliver their new strategy of creating deeper relationships with their customers through their digital journey.
An enabled partner ecosystem
Travel organisations are facing the challenges of a digital future where customers expect seamless integration between companies and their supply chain. Different organisations collaborate within and outside the industry by partnering with adjacent service providers, creating an ecosystem of value. The ecosystem roles are becoming blurred as stakeholders throughout the customer journey vie to own the customer relationship. Digital platforms that enable ecosystem alliances by exposing their existing business through APIs will continue to emerge, as asset and information sharing become increasingly important from a B2B perspective.
To date most organisations within the aviation, travel and tourism industry have focused their cloud adoption attentions initially on their digital presence and mobile applications. This is understandable as this is where consumers gain access to plan and purchase their holidays, flights and hotels, which drives sales and revenue. Speed, accuracy and relevance of the digital experience are crucial to driving conversions and accelerating success. There is a direct correlation between the quality of digital experience and conversion rates. And with the average load time for travel sites taking 5.7 seconds according to IT ProPortal, a few seconds’ delay is enough to lead to site abandonment.
In addition to the customer experience, embracing the digital transformation can deliver significant benefits and savings internally within the organisations which collectively form the industry ecosystem, to drive operational efficiencies and cost savings.
Working with a wide partner ecosystem, the move of Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to public cloud contributed to a 25% reduction in infrastructure costs while giving rail customers a faster, smoother and more reliable ticketing experience. By moving the infrastructure to Amazon Web Services, KCOM provided a managed service for all applications and a single service desk for their multiple suppliers. On average National Rail Enquiries processes over 600,000 journey plans per hour, while scoring over 80% customer satisfaction between 2014 and 2015, according to a survey of rail customers in the UK.
Safety and Security
As identity management becomes increasingly digital, a collaborative effort towards boosting cybersecurity and protecting the privacy of traveller data is crucial to maintaining customer trust and public safety. Digital technologies (e.g. biometrics such as facial recognition, IoT, crowd analytics and video monitoring via AI) will be used to create a ubiquitously secure environment. And when it comes to a choice of hosting environment, it is increasingly recognised that public cloud security goes far beyond anything that individual organisations can achieve in their on-premise data centres.
2016 Cloud Industry Forum research found that 98% of survey respondents have never experienced a security breach when using a cloud service.
“Many cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, invest heavily in incorporating higher levels of security into their products to continue building confidence that their data is more secure.” according to Neville Cannon, research director at Gartner
Now is the time for change
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