“My apartment, my car, my life insurance” – these assets are no longer prioritised by above all young people around the world. Instead of ownership of goods, millennials value experiences. “The experience has to be the focus”, said TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen at the FVW Congress, running in parallel to the B2B trade show Travel Expo for the tourism and mobility sectors in Cologne. “We have to bear that in mind and develop the right services. The consumer behaviour changes and that also applies for travel. In a lot of countries, Mobile First is part of the reality already: China and Sweden are good examples. We actively want to shape this change otherwise we might become the parents and grandparents of the market. The new generation is thoroughly digital. If you don’t play part in this, you waste opportunities. ”
Apart from the younger target group, megatrend number one for the entire travel sector is first and foremost technology. In today’s environment, providers must be able to run their IT infrastructure via low-cost, fail-safe Cloud-based systems in order to future-proof their business. The market will also be fundamentally impacted by developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and blockchain. “If prices change, currencies fluctuate or capacity must be redistributed globally at short notice due to external factors, these processes currently being manually controlled. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and blockchain technology, they can be enormously improved and accelerated. Blockchain is the new Internet.” Mobile First is also a technological change facing the travel sector – not least in the German market, where in particular multi-channel is a topic that has only just started to evolve.
Fritz Joussen presented four clear initiatives to outline these megatrends:
- Brand Centric: While TUI has primarily focused on distribution this far, the focus in now on the customer. Launching one unified brand is the right move in this context. A unified customer experience is becoming increasingly important. “Brand is what customers feel when they buy something”, creating a pull effect. Customers will only search TUI on the web if they know the brand.
- Mobile First: “In the next few years, TUI will become a Mobile First company” – although customers will certainly continue to visit their travel agencies over the next ten years, they will already research all relevant details beforehand. In many European markets, it has already emerged that we can engage with customers via their smartphones, if they want us to do so. All software development activities carried out by TUI Group today are now driven by Mobile First.
- Customer in the Cloud: TUI generates average revenues of 800 euros per year with each of its 20 million customers – however, this far based on different systems and databases. Pooling, for instance, all CRM data might help to improve the customer experience. “If customers, for instance, check into the hotel, we immediately want to be able to see where they have previously engaged with TUI – in order, for instance, to be able to offer them their favourite room.” It is important to address the customer in an individual and personal way. Offers have to be relevant for the customer. Mass mailings are the exact opposite.
- Inventory on Blockchain: One of the key questions in the tourism business is when what offerings are available for booking at what price. Blockchain technology provides an opportunity to map that decision on a more centralised and dynamic basis.
Overall, Fritz Joussen is very confident with regard to the further development of tourism worldwide: “With the exception of 2009, tourism recorded steady growth over the past ten years – even outperforming the economic growth in the relevant regions.” Even challenges such as Brexit or the fear of terrorist attacks have not triggered a downward trend in the growing sector. Such a positive development is exactly the right point in time to take the right decisions regarding technology.