Trends 2020: Connected Trips, Google and Rich Media

As the decade closes, the travel industry is checking in on trends and predictions of years past while looking to the future. Machine learning, personalization, AI and big data have all been trends to watch in the industry for some time now. Our team attended conferences and meetings around the globe throughout 2019, and they have identified some of their own trends to watch out for in 2020 and beyond.

Trips Become More Connected

Even with significant advances in technology, the travel experience is still disjointed. All of the data that one traveler generates across the web —airline bookings, room nights, local event tickets, restaurant reservations, tours – remains siloed.  

Ultimately, unifying travel data should be the goal for travel channels. Promoting better, personalized options for a traveler is only possible when you have a larger data set. If there’s a new buzzword this year, it’s the “connected trip.” The connected trip ties everything—travel, accommodations, and trip activities—into one seamless digital booking experience. How that experience is managed, and where that data goes, is the next frontier for travel channels.

The connected trip will enable travelers to create their own complete travel experience within one travel channels’ product. It’s a way for travelers to become their own travel agents, booking every part of the experience in an ecosystem with all of the necessary, connected data.

Most channels have a good grasp on one element of the booking experience, usually accommodations or transportation. To get ahead of this trend, some channels are investing in ways to better source tour operators and local activities and attractions around the world. This will help them unify larger amounts of data about travelers, provide more personalized travel shopping experiences, and ultimately open up additional revenue streams.

Google Ups Its Travel Game

Google has made big waves in the travel space this year, launching Book on Google to keep travelers within the Google ecosystem for longer. Google is currently expanding its Travel (formally Trips) product, while also surfacing booking information from users’ e-mail in Maps.

It remains to be seen how, and if, they will tie in more elements of trip planning, to create the “connected trip” that so many travel channels are looking to roll out in the coming years.

Some of the biggest names in online travel are either losing ranking on key search results or paying up to maintain visibility. What’s more, the data that travel channels are looking to bring together is often already in Google’s hands. Across the board, every travel supplier should be watching to see what Google does next.

A long-term Google partner, Leonardo pushes hotel images to a variety of Google products, including Maps, Google My Business, and Images. For travel channels, partnering with Leonardo means you’re receiving the same images feeds used by Google. For hotel chains, we’re integrating images into even more Google products with the launch of Book on Google.

Rich Media Content Rises

It takes more than text to sell a room night, and as leaders in hotel content, we know the power of visuals on conversion. A trend that hotel chains should start preparing for in 2020 is rich media – videos and virtual tours, specifically.

Many of our travel channel partners have expressed interest in more rich media content for hotels. Travel channels are looking to see the impact that rich media makes on conversions and revenue. Hotel chains that are ahead of the curve, with high-quality, current videos and 360 virtual tours will have an edge on this trend.

Leonardo has been a travel technology leader for two decades. We understand the trends and challenges in the travel industry and deliver solutions that help travel suppliers gain a competitive edge. Subscribe to receive updates about our new products as we release them.

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