According to data from the Digital Innovation Observatory for Tourism of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano presented in October 2017, the digital shopping market for tourism and travel in Italy has reached remarkable figures, reaching € 11.2 billion, equal to 20% of the overall travel market.
Travel and tourism purchases increased by 9% in 2017, while growth in 2016 was 8%.
Dividing online spending in the Tourism area into the three products under investigation, namely accommodation, transport and travel packages, the percentages are very close to the 2016 data: the world of transport covers 73% of the market, followed by the accommodation facilities with the 15% and from the Travel Packages with 12%.
Within transport 78% is made up of air transport, 19% of trains, and the rest, but the results of strong investments by the railway operators are beginning to be seen.
The incidence of transacting from indirect channels on the total of digital tourism remains constant: the Online Travel Agency market share and the various aggregator sites is equal to 24% (up 16% in absolute value compared to 2016).
The incidence of purchases from smartphones on digital spending in the Tourism area exceeds 13% and is around 1,500 million (+ 50% on 2016), while the contribution of the Tablet is still limited.
The growth is closely related to an increase in access volumes to web services and to the significant improvements that digital tourism operators have improved on their portals to optimize the customer experience.
The data presented by the Observatory showed that in reality there is no single digital tourist format, if anything, macro-classes of travelers using the internet for different purposes:
– the “voracious digital”, equal to 42% that use the internet mainly for the marketplace, where there is cross-buying for the stimulation of the logic that the purchase of a product pulls that of others;
– the “digital selective”, equal to 58% that instead book last minute but exploit the network mainly to do research and share more;
The recurring feature between the two macro classes is that the digital tourist does not have a homogeneous and predictable behavior, acts as if he were doing a “zapping” similar to the television one, he passes from one channel to the other with frequency, using up to 3 different instruments ( online and offline) in the inspiration phase and 4 for research in the most extreme cases.
And are the agencies and accommodation facilities sufficiently “digital”?
Indeed, the adoption rate of digital tools is now high both in terms of promotion (89%) and booking (85% is present on OTAs and 57% have advanced online booking system on their own site).
Can they effectively manage the various communication channels?
The structures that manage to have a higher percentage of direct bookings are those that focus on a stable relationship with the customer and use promotional tools such as email marketing (direct bookings make up 48% compared to 41% of those who do not use them).
What is the activity most booked by digital tourists?
The catering sector, with as much as 28%, even if in the sector companies there is a scarce adoption of a CRM system and only 3% of the bookings come from specific apps or portals.
And did the travel agencies understand the need to transform themselves?
Also in this case it can be said of yes, in fact 88% of the Agencies has introduced at least one innovation in the last two years and is aware that their competitive advantage will derive more and more from the creation of a relationship of trust between agent and traveler ( for 42% of the Agencies, +6 percentage points compared to 2016), by the ability to provide support in the organization of complex trips (50%) and to provide assistance at all stages of the journey (47%).
In a moment of transformation like this, it is therefore necessary for the agencies to update themselves with digital tools for the promotion of travel and customer care.
Processes, strategies, assistance and business organization are totally focused on the customer and on the experience that he lives in the digital environment for the choice of the product or the tourist service.
Offering a personalized travel experience means for a company to create a bond of trust with its customers and prospects, to guarantee constant, competent and adequate support for their requests.
It’s about following users during all phases of their Digital Travel Journey:
- making the trip
- story of experience and sharing
Users search, browse, evaluate offers and promotions, compare prices, make a virtual tour, book, travel and then tell the experience to their friends and share it on social channels.
It becomes fundamental for companies in the sector to intercept the new digital tourist flows linked to business travel in the short term, avoiding having to chase them afterwards with inadequate and not very competitive offers and above all to become aware of the new behavior of the “digital tourist”, trying to preside over effective all the communication channels on the web.