Amadeus: Understanding the untapped potential of ‘Destination X’

Key trends in the post-booking ancillary game

Amadeus - Destination X

In the Asia-Pacific region, the market for travel activities has been projected to grow up to USD 183 billion by 2020. But along with this growth comes fragmented services options and different offerings from multiple travel sellers across various channels — leading to traveller frustration.

Therefore, it is critical for industry players to understand this largely untapped and dynamic destination services marketplace, which Amadeus refers to as ‘Destination X‘.

To help the travel industry understand Destination X and the role that technology plays in it, global travel IT provider, Amadeus worked with several industry leaders to highlight eight key trends which are pivotal in the post-booking ancillary game.

1. Destination services make or break the trip

  • A third of travellers say destination services ‘make or break’ their trips, with 50% of them feeling frustrated about travelling to/around their destination on the day of departure.
  • 93% of travellers now consider ancillary destination services to be an important part of their overall travel experience with 40% of these travellers specifically believing ancillary destination services make their trips more productive and enjoyable.
  • 45% of travellers say their mobile browser is the first place they go to discover what’s out there and 41% also use it to book their destination service.
  • Around 25% of respondents book destination services the day before travel, en route, or once they’ve arrived at their destination.

2. Travellers are underserved in Destination X

  • 27% of our respondents identify having to use multiple apps as the number one frustration when searching for ancillary destination services.
  • Almost a quarter of travellers lack time to properly evaluate what is available or plan when and how to do things during their trip, with 17% being unable to easily access destination services upon arrival.
  • 10% feel that they are not receiving sufficient guidance from their employer, travel agency or air/hotel supplier to keep them fully informed.

Amadeus - Destination X - Mobile

3. Businesses and leisure travellers have similar values but different priorities

  • Travellers typically book 1-2 ancillary destination services per trip.
  • Top three business traveller priorities: flight compensation, taxi transfers, airport/rail lounges.
  • Top three leisure traveller priorities: attractions & amenities, flight compensation, dining.
  • For those typically booking three or more ancillary destination services, 34% say they do so primarily for leisure trips, while around 10% book the same amount for a business trip.

4. Complementary services: the new name of the ancillary travel game

  • 72% of travelers are very receptive to receiving proactive suggestions about related destination services.
  • A third say complementary services “truly enhance their trip experience”.

5. In pursuit of the perfect personal touch

  • Over half of travellers want travel brands to tailor destination content and shopping to their preferences and previous behaviours.
  • During the “discovering” stage of their holiday planning, only 5% of travellers want push notifications.
  • After booking the trip, the demand for push notifications increases, peaking at 93% of survey respondents saying they would welcome receiving information about other complementary services or offers when they book an ancillary destination service.
  • “The most important thing for great customer experience is trust, and that you achieve through consistency in the offer. When customers know that they can expect a certain level of experience with the brand, they trust it even more,” said Alex Rogers, head of partnerships, Holiday Taxis

Amadeus - Destination X - Customer Service

6. Services from a single point of contact is a must

  • More than a quarter of respondents dislike visiting multiple apps and/or websites to access their desired ancillary destination services. When asked what single biggest improvement they would like to see, over a third-ranked ‘having a single mobile point of access to relevant destination information’ as number one.

7. Destination X should be inclusive and accessible to all travellers

  • Among adults with disabilities who traveled by air, 72% have encountered major obstacles with airlines and 65% with airports. There are three specific areas travel providers must consider improving for travellers with health conditions or impairments:
  • “I’d love to see offers of services for seniors and other people with mobility issues, plus suggested destination activities for us too, without being overly pushy” – CheckMyTrip traveler
  • Inclusivity would also include safety considerations for solo travellers. Ensuring current security information is properly balanced with historical data for context, so as not to frighten travellers or underestimate potential risks.

8. Awaiting traveller nirvana

  • 18% of travellers desire better coordinated access to destination services across apps, chat, web and voice.
  • Travellers are just beginning to open up to the possibilities of voice search with less than 5% saying that they search for destination services using voice recognition technology such as Alexa, Siri or Google.
  • “Technology developments can no longer be ignored. There is evidence of changes in homes, first with the iPad generation and now starting with voice in the last year, but this has to be embraced with automation – and with a recognition of learning which is where AI fits in, said Michael Bayle, executive vice president for mobile, Amadeus
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