In yesterday’s ITB Asia opening keynote, Michael Dykes, vice president, market management, Asia Pacific, Expedia Group, underlined the importance of a physical and digital experience, aligned with travellers expectations.
For Michael Dykes, Expedia Group, the travel industry is emerging stronger from the pandemic and has been able to adapt to the changes affecting the sector. “We survived because our industry has a strong group of leaders, but also because we have passion and want to create that magic for travellers,” he said.
The emergence of a new generation of leaders and actors in the industry has helped bring fresh ideas and make the industry stronger. “The massive disruption in 2020 and 2021 pushed the industry to adapt quickly to a landscape where volatility is the norm. We were forced to be very nimble. This actually allows our industry to be better prepared,” said Dykes.
A major change occured in the way the industry responds to travellers’ expectations. Travel technology has become increasingly accessible, with the power of choice being placed in the hands of the traveller. consequently, expectations have risen. “Travellers have a wide choice of brands. If they do not get what they expect, they let it be known. Travellers might not use a specific brand due to the fact that they did not get the experience they were promised.,” explained Dykes.
“The best way to assure guest loyalty is to keep them happy. This is where the online travel booking experience is headed: technology now puts the traveller’s considerations at its core, with the aim of providing an exceptional experience.
For the industry, better guest experiences – with physical and digital experiences complementing each other – will help consolidate brand loyalty. A platform offering travel services and interactive dialogue is the way to raise travellers’ satisfaction. “When the traveller wins, we all win”, Dykes said.