If we look at hotel rooms and travel experiences as if they were in a food marketplace, i.e. as a pure product, we have to deal with criteria around regionality, seasonality, value, purpose, supply and demand. The difference is that we are not in a farmers market, but within the luxury travel ecosystem. With a new generation of travelers and digital natives the requirements have radically changed, but the previously mentioned criteria remain unchanged and relevant. Surprisingly hotels, resorts and carriers essentially continue to deliver core value still in the same way they have always done, with transport, a room, a bed, and a meal. If you think you’ll have plenty of time to get it right because you’re a beloved brand, think again. Bad experiences and a few quick and dirty comments on Tripadvisor are driving customers away—faster than you think. For good.
With the arrival of new technology and a cultural adoption of e-commerce, it is no longer enough to present a glossy brochure, a three-language website and then welcome the guest with a smile in situ. Hotels, resorts and travel companies must now embrace the fact that they need to offer an online experience BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER the stay, that will enable them to succeed in a digital community, to convert casual browsers into paying guests and to bridge the gap between physical experience and digital experience. In addition, it will increasingly matter how skillfully they connect specific content with their brand in order to build loyalty, trust and confidence.