Over the last several weeks, we have been highlighting a series of posts that focus on catering to the next generation of traveler: the Millennial. From pre-stay considerations and beyond, many hotel brands are developing new strategies for capturing the brand loyalty of this connected and hyper-social travel.
Now, let’s focus on what the future should look like for the Millennial traveler. Moving forward, travel planning will incorporate several key features important to this segment of travelers. This will include digital check-in and checkout, and intelligent voice-based searches that understand the rules of the today’s web searching capabilities.
We call it a “Travel Discovery Engine” or TDE. Using a TDE, guests will begin their vacation discovery and planning process by asking questions that sound more like interactions with a human travel agent. They might make a statement like “I’m looking to travel from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, Washington on business and plan to leave on the 12th and return on the 19th and need to keep the cost under $5,000.” The TDE would respond by asking some clarifying questions such as the type of transpiration and hotel, and if the traveler would like the prospective hotels arranged by community-sourced ratings.
Millennials’ expectations are formed inside and outside of the hospitality industry, and technologies like this are already in the mainstream. For example, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search create expectations based on voice searches being easier, especially on smart phones and tablets.
By considering the future of travel search today and incorporating this thinking into its planning, a hotelier can be better prepared for the switch to voice-driven travel planning and vacation discovery in the near future.
Millennials will continue to aggressively adopt new and disruptive innovations long before the traditional traveler. Hotel brands will always be challenged to procure and implement the most cutting-edge innovations. Though by staying ahead of the curve, it will be possible to win long-term brand loyalty from this unique traveler.