As we look back on an interesting 2016 and then forward to a new year, we have the opportunity to learn from the past so that we can grow in the future. We’ve already seen a slew of predictions for 2017 and even though we have our own strong predictions for this year, we thought we’d share a broader perspective on what others in the industry are predicting for 2017.
Big Data and Personalization
Big data and personalization continue to play an important role in 2017. Travelers are far better informed these days, and with that intelligence comes the need for big data to better assist travel companies. As mentioned in the 2017 travel marketing trends from Smart Insights, “43% of travel companies named “targeting and personalization” as the top priorities in their digital strategies.
Personalization will also be taken to a whole new level with the creation of Personalized Loyalty Pricing. As explained by our friends at Duetto Research in their predictions for 2017, “loyalty members are given personalized rates and experiences based on what the hotel knows about that individual and his or her worth to the property.” The benefits are more profitable bookings, reduced customer acquisition costs and increased loyalty.
Deeper Guest Database Targeting
Personalization also needs to be taken a step further, as US News identifies with their three hospitality trends for 2017. It is now clear that everyone is trying to figure out how to employ targeting, especially with regard to millennial travelers. The same article provides the example of Marriott Hotels creating a new experiential brand, Moxy Hotels, geared towards millennial travelers. It is also mentioned that there continues to be the need to solicit feedback from travelers to really help tailor and grow brands and experiences for travelers of all demographics.
It is the tailored and personalized experiences that make people feel catered to and special. In 2017, we will see the continuation of interest in specialized spas and wellness packages, along with new personalized trends, from stop smoking retreats to body detox, post-cancer recovery retreats along with family wellness and more, as outlined by eHotelier in their spa and wellness travel trends for the year.
Multi-channel marketing is creating buzz in the industry as online travel traffic increases on a daily basis. As mentioned by Smart Insights in their article on Three Critical Travel Digital Marketing Trends, multi-channel marketing will be the norm for many brands, especially OTA’s. And eHotelier points out, ‘Today’s travelers are digitally connected all over the world and inspired to take action—and the hotel brands that reach customers in intent-rich moments across devices will win the customer’s heart, mind, and ultimately the booking.’ We all want to be the brand that wins the customer’s heart, don’t we?
We also see that people are making use of the artificial intelligence they have at their fingertips to help them plan and book. Siri or Google AI personal assists are simplifying life by helping customers move away from traditional search and towards voice-activated platforms to book travel. Along that same idea is Virtual Reality and how it is helping customers see and experience before making that final decision to book. They now can try before they buy with VR walkthroughs of properties, beaches and so much more.
In 2016 we saw changes like a Robot Hotel and growth in new target markets including a boom in “Bleisure travel”, millennials hitting the road along with a growing number of Chinese travelers, as outlined in the hotelier predictions from SiteMinder. There is no question this will continue in 2017.
New Food and Beverage Trends
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about food trends. We could never do that. We’re just hungry thinking about them. The trend toward mocktails is growing and we’ll see goats being used for more than just cheese and milk. Meetings Imagined summarizes this in 10 Foodie Trends for 2017. They also point out that we don’t need to feel that we must eat alone anymore when traveling. There are apps now that bring strangers together to share a meal. And how about cake for breakfast? Doesn’t that sound like a trend you could support?
But, as we have no crystal ball to see what the future has in store for our industry, it’s fun to think about what this fresh year will offer us. We will see a continuation of those 2016 customer trends, but 2017 will be full of new ones. The question now is how will you mobilize and get ready for what 2017 has planned for you and your company in particular.