The Digital Trends in the Travel and Hospitality Sector report, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, explores how companies operating in this sector approach digital marketing, as well as the key trends, opportunities and sector-specific issues shaping their digital strategies.

The research is based on a global survey of more than 170 senior digital marketing and ecommerce executives, with responding companies including major hotel groups, travel agents, airlines, passenger ship operators and car hire firms.

Where there are interesting differences, we have compared the findings for North America and Europe, and between the travel and hospitality sector and all other sectors.

Key themes emerging from the research include:

  • Strong focus on digital transformation. Most travel companies recognise the importance of having digital at the core of their business in order to meet the needs of technology and social-savvy travelers and tourists.
  • Importance of customer experience and blending the physical and digital. While growth of the traveler or guest base is the top business priority for companies surveyed, customer experience is a key area of focus for driving both customer acquisition and retention. Travel and hospitality brands are working hard to fuse physical and digital experiences in order to differentiate from their competitors.
  • Mobile at the heart of the customer journey. In the travel sector, the mobile experience, in many respects, IS the customer experience or at least the glue that binds together online and offline experiences. As a group, companies participating in this research have really grasped the importance of mobile and are more focused on this business imperative than their counterparts in other industries.
  • Data-driven customer centricity. Travel companies recognise the importance of building a 360-degree view of the customer so they can pin-point where they are on their customer journey and provide them with the right information at the right time in the right context, irrespective of channel.
  • Personalisation and the importance of first-party data. The customer experience is increasingly about personalisation, with companies in travel-related industries recognising that applying the personal touch at scale is becoming a necessity rather than a ‘nice-to-have’.
  • Social is here to stay. Social media play an important role in many consumers’ lives, and companies in this space are working hard to encourage and harness these sentiments for their benefit.