As we wave so long to summer 2017, it’s a good time to review how booking travel has evolved thanks to advances in travel tech. Whether it’s a weekend trip to see distant friends or a 3-week long backpacking trip in Europe, June through September are the most popular months to do so. In 2015, 45% of Americans took a summer vacation, and the percentage of adults taking a summer break increased to 65% in 2016. However, travel season will see another surge with the upcoming holidays not too far off. What can the evolution of booking travel for summer vacations tell us about the e-tourism landscape overall?
The Evolution of Summer Vacation
Taking a trip has always been a chance to relax and explore while either connecting with yourself or loved ones. Over the course of 20 years, planning, taking, and sharing trips has simply become easier thanks to the improvements in travel technology. When comparing the two summer breaks below, it’s easy to see the goals have stayed the same, but the travel trends have changed:
The Summer of ‘97
You’ve just gotten back from your family vacation to the Bahamas from a trip package your travel agent recommended. You head home with stories to share with loved ones the next time you catch up – stories you’ll tell hundreds of times until everyone has asked how about your vacation. You have a stock of film to develop for pictures to show friends, frame, and scrapbook. It takes a lot of effort to share your Bahamas vacation, but it’s worth it. Your trip sounds so awesome that friends are asking for the name of the resort for their next trip.
The Summer of ‘17
You’ve just checked out of your 5-star rated Airbnb in the Bahamas, and check your phone for any updates while on the way to the airport. While scrolling through Facebook, you see Jessica has uploaded a 37-photo album of the elephants she fed in Bali. Tom started a live video of the show he’s attending in Amsterdam. Peter shared a photo on Instagram of him holding a koala in Australia with over 500 likes. It’s almost as if you’re on vacation with your friends on their trips too! In fact, you’ve already started planning a trip to Sydney after that koala post.
From Travel Agencies to e-Tourism
“…e-tourism refers to a phenomenon and research area in which the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) by tourists and businesses transforms the processes and the value chains in the tourism industry. This development changes the process within a business or organization while reconfiguring the landscape of commerce.” – The Encyclopedia of Tourism
In simpler terms, the travel industry adapts to the changing preferences and travel trends of tourists. The way we now plan our trips has been altered by the introduction of new travel technology, and tourism companies must react quickly to retain customers. As information is increasingly available at our fingertips with people spending more time on mobile devices, the travel industry must be prepared for people booking their vacation from the bar/office/beach/bedroom at all times of the day.
On the tourist side of the travel tech evolution, taking a trip has never been easier. The way we research, book, and share our vacations has become a seamless cycle. Discover a new destination, research travel options, book a trip, share your experiences, and help someone discover a new destination for themselves.
Researching the Trip
Then: Generalized Packages
Now: Big Data Personalization
Trying to book a full trip can become overwhelming. From hotels to transportation, every single component of your vacation can be time-consuming – especially without the help of a computer. Luckily, travel agencies were there to offer package deals. Though generally, you could book the package and plan your trip in one, quick purchase. Less personalization, but less hassle.
In today’s world, we see people enjoy having unique and personalized experiences. Packaged trips were wonderful at the time, but now we want our trips to match our travel preferences. We are all about traveling for the experience, after all. Big data allows the travel industry to target your interests to provide the “ideal” travel itinerary. Hyper-personalized travel deals cut down the work for the traveler, and increase the chance of conversion for the company.
When booking travel, consumers will always be concerned with convenience, cost, and customization. As the tourism industry continues to evolve, companies must too adapt.
You must also be interested in our Millennial Travel Trends infographic.