Internet Travel Monitor - Industry News

July 12, 2017

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Wearables Emerge as Travel Industry Disruptors

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The travel and hospitality industry has made its reservations early to be first in line to test emerging technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and wearable devices.

New analysis of 321 million social engagements by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) has found at least eight of the largest hotels have tested some kind of VR experience during the past six months. Most of these experiences were programs that paired VR devices with consumers' mobile devices.

What's more, consumers seem to crave these types of experiences: ADI found that social mentions for travel and AR/VR-related experiences have increased 13% year over year (YoY). Social mentions about travel-related wearables also increased (44% YoY), with considerable buzz coming from the upcoming Princess Cruises Ocean Medallion launch.

"There's a huge opportunity here for travel companies, as consumers are keen on leveraging technology to make their travel experiences more seamless, save them time, or just entertain them," said Becky Tasker, senior managing analyst at ADI. "Because the technology is still fairly new, it's a good time to experiment and see what works and what doesn't for your brand and your customers."

According to Tasker, the car-rental industry also is being impacted by changing travel trends. For instance, higher airline ticket prices have led to fewer international flights, which, in turn, has decreased the need for rental cars. Similarly, one-stop destinations, such as cruises and all-inclusive resorts, are becoming popular, again eliminating the need for rental cars. Indeed, according to ADI, online car rentals decreased 14% YoY in Q1 2017. At the same time, Uber's social mentions reached 6 million, with online car reservations dropping by 2% for every 10% increase in Uber's social mentions.

The ADI analysis also included a survey of 2,000 U.S. working consumers, which found that experience drives the desire to travel. "Experience is becoming more important, especially as Millennials age up," Tasker said. Indeed, 70% of Millennials would rather spend on amazing experiences than on tangible items, according to the survey. Fifty-seven percent of those who are 35 years and older said they feel the same way.

Based on 16 billion visits to major U.S travel, airline, hotel, car rental, cruise, and online travel booking sites - compiled by Adobe Analytics between March 2015 and March 2017 - ADI forecasts online revenue growth for the travel industry this summer, with spend expected to hit $98.02 billion. The major travel holidays will be Independence Day ($3.68 billion), Memorial Day weekend ($2.93 billion) and Labor Day weekend ($2.83 billion).

For airlines, online flight bookings overall will be flat YoY, according to ADI. But international arrivals to the United States will shrink, as prices have increased by 9.7% YoY; ADI reported a 6% decrease in international flights with destinations in the U.S. booked online in Q1 2017.

"Revenue for airlines will be driven by higher prices for both international and domestic flights," Tasker said. From a hospitality standpoint, domestic hotel prices have increased 3.7%, while international hotel prices have gone down 1.4%.

Meanwhile, visits to cruise websites are at a record high, having almost doubled in the past three years, according to ADI. Additionally, the average stock price of major cruise lines has increased by more than 13% since the beginning of 2017, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

ADI also looked at how travelers use social media. On average, 14 million mentions occur around travel each month. That's more social mentions than Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift combined. Additionally, global travel mentions peak during July and August, with about 15% more than any other month during the year.

Who's posting about their vacations? Solo travelers, ADI found, make up two out of every three travel mentions on social media, according to ADI. "Social media is becoming a way for travelers to stay connected while they are on vacation or a business trip," Tasker told CMO.com.


Copyright 2017 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. From http://www.cmo.com. By Giselle Abramovich.
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