According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) the Entertainment and Hospitality Industry is a $8 Trillion industry today and will grow to $12 Trillion by 2020. It is also a very accurate indicator of the global economy – the canary in the coal mine. If global economy is down due to any reason, E&H falls steeper and deeper and almost real time – a true barometer of the global economy.
It’s typically broken into 3 sub-segments:
- In Travel & Leisure – parks and resorts, cruise lines, car rentals, airlines and mediators in between
- In Lodging – vacation clubs, hotel chains, etc.
- In Media & Entertainment – Content producers, Content aggregators, Digital right management companies, TV distributors, etc.
All of them are changing really fast – with the onslaught of Social Media and a truly Digital Lifestyle, this industry is seeing some paradigm shifts. Every customer touch point is evolving so fast in this changing world. Let’s look at some examples of this
- You look at a poster of Bahamas. Right there is a QR reader for you to see the top 3 hotels, car services and sea excursions.
- A website like TripIt – once your itinerary is up, they will send you emails 1 day before to checkin. If there is a volcanic eruption in Iceland, they will show you 2 hours before flight that it is cancelled. Options for another flight right there. No running to gates with 300 other passengers and trying to use your Elite status to get another seat home.
- They offer Travel Diary or “Traviary’ - for before, during and after pictures/comments
- When you land after a certain flight – Hertz sends you a message/ email that your car is in a certain lane.
- No looking at online behavior itself, 80% business can be lost in less than 5-7 seconds. If your mobile or website waits more than 5 seconds, typically people hit BACK button. After 2 more attempts you have typically lost the business.
So all these customer touch points are dictated by only one word – EXPERIENCE. That is what the process and technology platforms have to deliver and enable the human interacting with the customer. And that EXPERIENCE starts much BEFORE traveler walks into the property.
As an example take Cruise Lines customer touch points, looking at this from a customer’s glasses:
Segmenting the customers – Seniors, Boomers, Families, Couples, Singles, etc. – is key and the unique experience they seek. E.g. Singles can find information on print media – men’s magazines (GQ, Cosmo, etc.), Travel Mags (CondeNast, etc.).
The consumer is
- more knowledgeable with internet and mobile accessibility, online consumer-created content and social networks. Everyone who books a vacation, looks at TripAdvisor, Expedia, etc. for ideas, feedback and reviews. Price and convenience are essential differentiators for most consumers.
- more empowered and demands unique requirements and they want more self-service and multi-channel options. You go online the moment your friend tells you something. This speed, volume, and transparency associated with internet travel distribution has put new pressure on most companies to re-calibrate their value chains.
- more diverse since there is a lot of global and local influence and the consumer is very individualistic and demanding more convenience. Everyone looks for specific personalization and destination flexibility – such data-driven is key for companies to compete.