Three 2019 travel trends jumped out at me when I saw the findings of a Booking.com online survey of 21,500 travel-inclined adults around the world.
- Many consumers want to “do” as much as “go.” That can mean learning something new, gaining a skill, participating in a cultural exchange or volunteering while traveling.
- Short but sweet micro trips. Travelers want to take more frequent but briefer trips. More than half of those surveyed said they will take more weekend trips in 2019.
- Tech that minimizes hassles. That means key-less room access from a mobile phone or a single app for all planning, booking and travel needs rather than a technology such as self-driving transportation.
Tying these 2019 travel trends together, travelers are seeking “curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames,” according to booking.com. It’s all about offering more support to design and deliver a better experience, customized to meet the different needs of different travelers.
Catering to vacation owners
Vacation ownership companies are in a strong position to meet these changing travel needs and expectations. Here’s how:
- Make pre-planning easy. Use different touch points, such as the vacation confirmation, along the owner journey to present relevant services and become an ongoing resource for owners. Improving the customer experience starts with making it easier to pre-plan activities and make advance reservations. For example, the confirmation can include a link to book curated “do” activities like cooking lessons with a local chef and a concierge who can arrange concert or popular Disney tickets, stock groceries or book tours.
- Make it fast and mobile. Mobile wallets for storing virtual membership cards are great for complementing or replacing physical cards while enabling owners to see rewards, point totals and more on their phones and tablets. Nearly half of all emails are now read on a mobile phone, so owner communications – from trip confirmations to activity bookings –need to use responsive design that adapts to the device. Mobile’s also a good way to go for fast communication, a priority for owners due to the nature of how and when timeshare exchanges become available. Owners want to know without delay whether they received their exchange request and be assured that the trip is for the chosen location and on the correct plan.
- Deliver personal, individual recommendations. As in other industries, travelers want to feel special, so making specific trip recommendations using data from past trips, fits with their desire for personalization. In keeping with the micro-trip trend, you could recommend exchanges that are within a certain number of miles or match the owner’s destination preferences.
After a strong 2018, this year is expected to be another good year for the hospitality industry. Let us know if we can help improve your ability to capitalize on what travelers want most – a great customer experience that’s personal to them. Customer communications delivered through a mobile wallet, SMS/text, email, and good old-fashioned print and mail materials are right in our wheelhouse.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.
Bryan Ten Broek
Vice President – Business Development