Metasearch, multi-modal and big data – that’s what’s been discussed at today’s PhoCusWright@ITB convention.
Our digital world is growing more and more complex and the above topics illustrate attempts for simplification. A lot of thought is being put into making the customer journey easier – personalisation is the goal but how to acquire, structure and interpret big data?
One challenge for the travel sector is the great variety of peoples’ travel intentions, be it for business or leisure. Travel intentions can even depend on destination. For example, a person may be wanting to gamble while in Las Vegas although they have never done this anywhere else before.
So, how do you profile a traveler with so many factors playing a role? Perhaps through prediction?
Moreover, people travel less often than they purchase consumer goods. This may explain the travel sector lagging behind while retailers such as Amazon have been driving sales through personalized product recommendations for some time already. After all, personalization is not only about delivering the right search results but also about inspiration.
Multi-modal is a European phenomenon, describing a journey from A to B using various modes of transport at once e.g. flight, coach, taxi, train. Again, the challenge is to accommodate everything that’s on offer and making sensible suggestions to the customer who can book the entire trip on one website online.
Metasearch has been around for a while but seems to be taking really off now as the figures in the photo below show. According to studies, the customer does not want to check as many websites anymore before booking and metasearch exactly fulfills this proposition. But metasearch needs to be comprehensive and include brands and individual hotels as well as OTAs. The challenge here, working with third-party booking engine providers for direct bookings, says Malte Siewert, Managing Director of Trivago.
For me the question remains, can these challenges be overcome with technology and how? Or will the customer eventually fall back onto personalization via human interaction?