Travel. It’s a personal thing. Two people travelling to the exact same destination on the very same day will have two wildly different experiences. And that’s the beauty of it. What one consumer wants from travel is completely different to the next, despite both visiting the same place.

So, how can brands tap into the power of personalisation when it comes to travel? Today’s consumers are empowered, and they want it all. Yes, they may want to be safe post-Covid, but they also want personalised picks from their chosen destination to build a spontaneous itinerary on the fly. Yes, cost is an issue but so is their mood when they travel.

As consumers get bolder, so must brands.

Travel in the age of Bigger Bolder Brands

In our Travel DNA report, we explore the macro trend of travel in the age of Bigger Bolder Brands and what this means for consumer choice across the travel industry.

In the 2010s, consumers became more empowered, with increasing choice and the ability to engage with brands on their own terms. In the 2020s, the focus will shift to how brands can help meet consumers’ needs more effectively across all aspects of daily life.

In the next decade, consumers will look to brands to perfect their transport and travel experience via ever more enhanced personalisation and members-only subscription propositions. Here we look at both in more detail.

Travelling: It’s all in the feeling

We’ve all been there when travelling. A crowded and busy airport. Stress getting through security. A desire to relax when we get on the flight that isn’t always achieved.

But what if you could find this sense of nirvana when you get on the flight?

In the next decade, better access to new forms of consumer data such as biometrics, combined with innovation in multi-space design, will power new forms of hyper-personalisation across all parts of the travel journey.

Specifically, we’re talking personalisation that changes with your mood. This concept is already in the works with BMW’s iX Flow concept car – which is able to change from black to white in order to suit the driver's mood or the climate/weather.

Could this trend head into the mainstream with air travel?

As we move later into the decade, we expect to see further innovation in how all parts of a travel experience can be enhanced via the use of biometric data. Potentially even on airplanes.

In fact, we’re already seeing demand for personalisation on aircrafts, with different zones for different passengers in line with their mood and specific needs for each moment of the journey. For example, 84% of global consumers claim that they would like a seat onboard an aircraft that could transform into a sleeping space. While 65% would like a seat that transforms into an entertainment space and 54% would like a seat that transforms into a workspace.

The consumer desire is there. The technology is possible. Now, that would bring an added dimension to travel.

Hyper-personalisation in the here and now

Personalisation based on biometric data might seem fanciful and too far in the future for the uninitiated, but we’re already seeing personalisation (albeit less scientific) impact the travel industry. So, how can brands help? And what can they do to stand out?

Right now, the consumer demand is around personalised services that provide third-party or expert-led travel planning and booking. Safety post-Covid is a huge concern, tailored travel experiences within a defined budget are key amidst the cost of living crisis, while personalised and spontaneous itineraries in each location feel like the natural progression for an increasingly demanding consumer.

The key for brands is to make it simple and intuitive to the customer, engraining their offerings into the psyche of travel.

Becoming the go-to holistic travel partner for your customers

And there’s no better way to engrain your offering into the psyche of travel for your customers than by becoming a more holistic partner. By this we mean servicing all the travel needs of your users, tailored to their specific preferences and demands.

It’s this shift to a members-only subscription models that could be one of the biggest consumer-driven trends across the industry in the next decade.

For the consumer, having a single travel service that caters to their precise needs will offer more diversity of travel options, signposting locations tailored to their individual preferences that might not have been previously considered. Such models also provide an added level of security and flexibility in terms of end-to-end holiday planning, which will be particularly important to consumers in the post-pandemic era.

And the benefits don’t stop there:

  • Travel brands will be able to build a more expansive and sophisticated data set to better understand their members. This means better personalisation and better predictive power of their future needs. This is essential when consumers are looking for one travel partner to best meet their needs.
  • Increased data means the ability to build 5 Star Customer propositions. Travel companies will be able to rate their customers, Uber-style, to offer the most exclusive services to their highest rated customers. Something that 1 in 2 consumers would already be happy with.

So, how can brands keep up with the pace of change?

In our Travel DNA report, we dive further into the changing consumer demand and consumer empowerment driving the trend of Bigger Bolder Brands. We also highlight the key changes brands need to make now and in the next two to five years to keep up with the pace of change. Download the Travel DNA Report now.

And in our latest webinar, we looked in detail at the opportunities for brands when it comes to tackling these changing consumer travel choices. Watch the webinar now.