How Technology Impacts on our Holiday Decisions

With the winter months finally coming to an end, we can all look forward to precious summer holidays. In the travel and tourism sector, there is an ongoing battle from travel agents to hotels directly looking to capture our attention.

The Travel Agent Conflict

With the winter months finally coming to an end, we can all look forward to precious summer holidays. In the travel and tourism sector, there is an ongoing battle from travel agents to hotels directly looking to capture our attention.

Travel Agents place a premium in the personalisation of service but are unable to keep up with the shift towards real-time technology for rates and availability of holiday homes and private accommodation.

Online Travel Agents are a step ahead in their integration of modern technology for booking systems and inventory but cannot compete with service demands due to their virtual presence.

Rife Competition

Hotels, conscious of the successful rise of competition such as airbnb, are increasingly alerting us to the fact that the sweetest deals for our next getaway may come from dealing direct, presenting smoother systems, more compelling promotional offers and best-rate guarantees. A clear example of the shift is the Hilton Group’s latest advertising campaign, called ‘stop clicking around.’

Compressed Profit Margins

CEO of NFS Technology, Luis De Souza states: “Online agents typically take over 20% of the booking cost, squeezing profit margins for hotels. For smaller, independent hotels, the commissions can go as high as 30% of the booking amount. This has led hotels to focus on driving sales through their own websites.”

“But to be successful, hotels must ensure their online presence is clear and easy to navigate, and, critically, mobile friendly. From a booking perspective, customers want to know exactly what is on offer and included in a price from the hotel in one click, so it is important to highlight Wi-Fi, car park and dining arrangements alongside the opportunity to complete the booking.”

Technology on Holidays

Once the holiday is booked, it’s also important to consider the use of technology during the holiday. 87% of global travellers use mobile devices, with today’s guest, especially families, arriving with up to three – laptop, mobile, tablet, etc. Many of these devices can only use data when connected to Wi-Fi. It is therefore an essential requirement for the modern traveller that is no longer up for compromise.

Mobile devices and computers are being used simultaneously, as well as high-demand tools such as video calling and streaming services.

Luis Added: “What was once a feature offered typically by hotels to just the business user, now everyone wants. And this is especially true for families who have tablets that can keep the children occupied, and the younger generations such as the Millennials, that have been ingrained into the social era and are anxious to continue to communicate with friends, and post about their trip on social media instantaneously while they’re away.”

Increasing Mobile Platform Demand

This increase in demand for mobile functionality has also driven a rise in smartphone photography to 58% and app use almost exactly equal at 57%, according to a report from BDRC Continental Holiday Trends. There is an increased pressure on hotels to provide sufficient Internet access and hardware, top-quality security assurance, and straightforward logistics of how to login and use the net while away.

At the same time, holidaymakers appreciate greater bandwidth of Wi-Fi for their phones as an extension of themselves in order to capture the holiday moment, plan their days, and research what’s hot in new travelling spots.

After all Nomophobia, the increasingly used term coined for fear of being without a mobile phone, can be just as stress-inducing if the phone is with them but simply has no connection, which won’t help any holiday designed to relax!

Working Remotely Abroad

Holiday packages are also increasingly being tailored more and more according to demographic profiling and also generational trends.

The unstoppable momentum of technology is introducing game-changing shifts allowing for peoples personality to be more tailored into their employment choices, particularly interesting in the travel and hospitality sectors.

There is now a record number of self-employed workers and remote workforces where people act as freelance holiday ambassadors, contributing as and when they want to record and review their holiday experience for travel comparison sites and travel publications hungry for content.

The Self-Made Generation

According to the Office for National Statistics, self-employment in the UK is at its highest level in over 40 years, with 4.6 million people working for themselves making up a 15% proportion of the total workforce.

This self-made generation just needs a Wi-Fi connection to post their content, and although they may sacrifice somewhat on having lesser pay or no set business infrastructure, working remotely while abroad and having holidays as part of your own job scope is very enticing indeed.

The Digital-Golden Age of Travel

Luis Concluded: “Ultimately, the changing sophistication in the travel space has been deemed ‘the digital golden age of travel’. Here, every aspect of a holiday, from an ability to book online via a smartphone, through to appealing to different generational expectations and even taking into account more agile working, means the need for high-speed Wi-Fi during any holiday is not the future, it is the now. It is up to hotels to deliver this as standard if they want to entice the holiday maker to stay in contact with them direct.”

Luis De Souza
Luis De Souza Chief Executive Officer Posted on: March 4, 2016
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