The booking path goes non linear
There are so many different and seemingly unrelated changes happening in the world of online travel, but many of these converge at the point of reinventing the way a person searches for, buys, and then consumes the travel experience. In future, this path moves from linear to seemingly haphazard – steps are skipped whilst others occur in an order that may appear incomprehensible today. Some of the individual impacts feeding into this tectonic trend are campaign management, content management, inspiration, mobile proliferation, personalization, intelligent caching and the merging of pre-shopping and shopping. This prediction will take a number of years to play out fully, but the first real signs will be visible during 2011.
Mobile apps and airport kiosks begin their decline
It is always difficult to predict exactly the high water mark during a flood, or the top of the stock market bull run prior to a correction; likewise it is difficult to say that a current hot technology will not get any hotter. This is not to say people won’t be making good money for years to come, but reverting to the old BCG Growth-Share Matrix, 2011 is the start of the cash cow period. App fatigue is rearing its head, ad spend is elsewhere, and HTML 5 is gaining momentum. Games via mobile and other certain segments may still favor native apps, but I remember 10 years ago when I had to download a web app to use online banking – today doing this outside the PC browser would be laughable. Travel will follow the same path, and one impact of everything becoming mobile is that airport kiosks will play a smaller and smaller role over time in the airport as space is freed up for more productive uses.
In 2011, travelers begin to shift from “always-on” travel experiences to “digitally-disconnected” preferences. Technology companies start to support this shift through integration of unique data in the shopping process. Check-ins, social shares and real-time supplier inventory will be used in aggregate to inform travelers of the most likely recommended destinations featuring short lines and low occupancy bliss. Today, we use this data to see where our network is now/who’s nearby, as well as where, when and with whom friends have future travel plans. But in 2011, this data will be used to optimize preferences and inform travelers of destinations people aren’t visiting and which beach or ski mountain the crowds won’t be occupying on specific dates.