The alarming findings of a new report indicate that the world’s foremost hotel and airline brands must do more on mobile to attract and retain loyalty from younger travelers.
New insight gleaned from the Travel Demographics Report Series published by Strategy Analytics Travel Analytics service shows that the hospitality and travel industries are likely dropping the ball on mobile.
“Those under 25 are either not traveling or not involved in the travel booking process. Encouragingly for the industry those between 26 – 35 over-index on travel apps,” the report summary reads. “However, much of this usage is focused on local travel apps or OTAs. While a boon for OTAs, this scenario poses a big challenge for hotels and airlines.”
Online Travel Agents excel in commoditizing travel costs while democratizing the selection process for users. For hotels and airlines that seek to generate loyal customers the wave of lowest price shoppers – those up to 35 years old – must be concerning. Not only do these groups over-index on OTA usage but they severely under-index sometimes more than 7% for hotels and airlines.
Researchers working on the report say that the big question that must be asked is – “is the reliance on OTAs a result of life stage – or a broader market transition?” If the latter, researchers propose, airlines and hotels “will be hard pressed to pay off the investments they are making to woo millennials.”
Joshua Martin, Travel Analytics Research Service Director, says that as new technology such as Apple Pay makes “booking travel on mobile devices easier – new threats to established players emerge.”
“If younger travelers become loyal to their OTA in lieu of an airline or hotel it makes securing regular and repeat customers difficult,” Martin explains. “While hotels and airlines are performing well with those 36+ as a new generation comes of age the companies must keep innovating to remain unique. The continued focus on new technology and features are an important first step to achieving this goal.”