The importance of a good digital experience is critical to travelers, regardless of their age, according to Travelport’s "Global Digital Traveler Research 2019." This year’s research includes information from 23,000 people from 20 countries, including 1,000 travelers from the United States.
All age groups consider whether a brand offers a good digital experience such as online check-in, gate information, room key on smartphones etc., as important when booking a hotel or an airline. Get Z leads the pack at 81 percent, followed by Gen Y at 78 percent and Gen X at 67 percent , with baby boomers rounding out the digital experience ranking at 60 percent, according to the resarch.
Three-quarters of Gen Y (76 percent) also said in-room technology, such as smart TVs, digital music players or Bluetooth speakers, is important when choosing accommodation.
Nearly half (45 percent) of travelers today get frustrated when they are unable to access their booking information round-the-clock on mobile devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches, up 9 percent from 2018. When it comes to age groups, frustration is particularly high among Gen Y (50 percent) and Gen Z (47 percent) travelers, according to Travelport.
Nearly half (44 percent) of travelers have now used voice search to help manage travel, with use greatest among Gen Y travelers (61 percent) and lowest among baby boomers (12 percent). One quarter (25 percent) of Gen Y travelers today "nearly always" use the technology for this use. The research showed that when the technology is used by travelers, some of the most popular requests made are for information relating to the weather at their destinations (60 percent) and getting live traffic updates (54 percent).
Technology, however, is not always the answer. Two-fifths (42 percent of travelers), for example, find not being able to speak to a human frustrating, up from 38 percent in 2018. This view was shared consistently across all age groups, though highest among baby boomers (43 percent).
When researching a trip, three quarters (77 percent) of travelers have reviewed videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media, up 2 percent over 2018. One third (36 percent) of Gen Y travelers today "nearly always" do this in the research phase. Facebook is considered the most influential social media platform by all age groups except for Gen Z, which puts Instagram marginally ahead.
Nearly half of all travelers (48 percent) now believe augmented or virtual reality experiences would help them better plan their trips. Demand is greatest among Gen Y (61 percent) travelers, though still significant among all other age categories.
“Travelers are consumers too and they want an experience from travel providers and travel agents that is as simple and engaging as the best retailers,” Fiona Shanley, Travelport’s chief customer officer/CMO said in a statement. “Travelport’s latest global research shows that technology is key to this—from serving relevant and personalized offers to providing attractive propositions from trusted sources. With increasing adoption of emerging technologies and use of new industry standards, this is precisely where the industry is heading.”