1. The word experience has lost its meaning
Innovation expert Alain Sylvain argued that one of today’s biggest industry buzzwords, experience, has lost its meaning - stating that businesses have indulged in experiences to such an extreme that everyone has lost sight of what the term actually is. He pointed out that there are more people that use the word “experience” in their LinkedIn title (33 million) than there are residents in all of the Netherlands (17 million).
When it comes to brands building experiences - a term he defines as an imprinted moment - he spoke about the importance of human connections, suggesting that EQ is greater than IQ and recommending brands keep in mind that experiences come from hearts and not algorithms.
2. Customers now expect alternative payment methods
Daniel Marovitz, Vice President of Payments at Booking.com, addressed the recent explosion of payment methods, highlighting that there are now over 1,000 solutions existing across the globe. And while some of them are global, the majority of them are local alternatives: using Amsterdam as an example, he explained that Visa cards are not widely accepted outside of the most touristic centre, as most locals use a national/Dutch Pinpas system.
In a world that’s moving beyond the credit card, he stressed that to be relevant to bookers and take friction out of the payment process, facilitating alternative methods is crucial. Explaining where Booking.com is today in terms of payments, he discussed working on customer clarity, solving partner pain points and navigating compliance, along with the OTA’s plans for the future.
3. Introverts are idea generators just waiting to be asked
Duncan Wardle, the former Head of Innovation and Creativity for Disney, wasn't just at Click. to unlock the creativity of the audience members. The overarching goal in his Design Thinking workshop was to demonstrate how to successfully run your own workshops that foster a culture of innovation and creativity, with an emphasis on going beyond bullet points to turn brainstorming session takeaways into actionable instructions that actually make sense the next day. Through rapid-fire, interactive group activities, he demonstrated how you can turn even a quiet group of introverts into a team of idea-generating machines.
4. Experiences are fundamentally different than accommodations
Douglas Quinby, CEO of Arival, views the market for attractions as the fastest-growing sector of travel, but he acknowledges the sector is fragmented and complicated. During his session, he argued that tours and activities is not actually a vertical in travel. It's composed of hundreds of businesses that are all quite different and each incorporates a multitude of variables that do not exist in accommodations - so you cannot simply plug tours and activities into the same model.
Indeed, the path to purchase for consumers is fundamentally different than accommodations. Douglas shared data that shows the majority of travelers purchase accommodations weeks or even months in advance. Yet most of these same travellers will wait to book an attraction until the last minute — often on the day of the activity. While they may think about purchasing an attraction ticket many times during the weeks leading up to their in-destination arrival, they wait until they're in vacation mode to pull the trigger.
5. High-trust partnerships are key in low-trust times
Would it surprise you to learn that the first response from the majority of people to any new technology is a negative one? Thankfully, such a skeptical point of view can be shifted to the positive by employing the principles of social psychology.
In his Future of Partnerships presentation, Thimon de Jong toured the annals of product innovation, showing how the inventors of the elevator fine-tuned the experience of the ride by employing engineering know-how, experimentation and mass marketing to allay user fears. Can those types of learnings apply today, as we collectively grapple with ethical uncertainties when confronted with new technologies like facial recognition software that uses AI to measure emotion in job candidates? Thimon shares real-world examples of how we are already shaping how people respond to technology in positive ways to create high-trust partnerships in low-trust times.
- Booking.com recently hosted the annual Click. event in Amsterdam. The two-day event featured speakers from around the world, representing a wide variety of voices from the travel industry
- Just as technology has a huge impact on consumers, so too does technology have tremendous influence on the travel industry. In particular, the explosion of payment processing options will continue to be an important trend to follow in 2020
- Other popular topics at the event tackled the complex differences between experiences and accommodations, the rise of sustainability as a key differentiator for hoteliers, and thought-provoking, futuristic visions of travel and tourism