In order to facilitate conformity with the new wave of innovative travel with ease of transactions for both local and foreign tourists, the government needs to connect all banks with mobile banking platforms and explore the feasibility of deploying encrypted Short Message Service (SMS) based funds transfer on a mobile application.
The report notes that policies to facilitate faster payment services are essential to enhance the options for customer registration for mobile banking services, enable wider access to mobile banking services in multiple languages for non-smartphone users and encourage innovative mobile-based payment solutions.
The key advancements in the travel space revolve around five themes, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, mobile applications, social media and Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR). These advancements could enrich travel experiences through direct and flexible interactions with customers. The budding popularity of such applications backed by user generated content and sharing-economy services, has opened the door for many new travel start-ups, offering choices to tech-friendly travellers.
The FICCI-KPMG report states that this trend is led predominantly by millennials, who account for nearly half of the working age population. Incumbents are adapting swiftly to the emerging bouquet of travel start-ups. To differentiate themselves, existing players are honing the ways to personalise customer experience, build loyalty, automate operations and gain deeper insights on the customers.
Innovations in the travel and hospitality sector have helped increase operational efficiency and create more value for customers. As a result, players operating in the sector have improved the quality of their service and now offer a more customised experience. However, these players have been relatively slower in adopting new technologies as compared to other industries and sectors, the report points out.
Outlining the key trends in the digital travel space, Mr. Dhruv Shringi, CEO & Co-Founder, Yatra Online and Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee, said that technology is rapidly changing consumer behaviour as technology adoption is rising at a significant pace. Voice, he said, was becoming a mainstream tool for travellers enabling them to locate a couple of hotels to meet their specific requirements. The future, therefore, lies in apps supported by voice.
Some of the other emerging trends, he listed out were the use of Bots (robots) by travel service providers to provide them with the ability to read and respond to basic queries of the customers, virtual reality, facial recognition and personalisation for tailor-made offerings.
Mr. Ashish Kumar, Partner Agnitio Consulting LLP and Co Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee, said that major digital platforms are now vying for a slice of the industry's pie. However, he noted, that industry would have to reach out to the hinterland where the use of internet is pervasive.
While acknowledging that no other industry has changed the way the travel industry has due to the impact of technology, he said that the industry's footprints on inbound and the overseas markets were not strong enough.
Mr. Jason Nash, Global Vice-President, Story Telling - Travelport, in his presentation, said that the technology challenges for the existing businesses were real and they were being forced to look at new technologies to avoid the risk of being irrelevant. His advice was to focus on delivering good experiences to the customer and use appropriate technology to reach the targeted customer. In aconnected economy, delivering amazing customer experiences would define business success, he said.
Mr. Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & CEO, MakeMyTrip, said that the next big frontier for online travel innovation is conversational commerce. Estimates suggest that by 2020 the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with humans. Research shows that more consumers are using messaging apps compared to social networks, and this trend is fast extending to the travel industry. He said that the spoken Indian language future is here. The trend of relying on other travellers for more authentic travel experiences will continue as would newer formats integrating reviews, photos and videos across social, mobile and micro blogs.
Mr. Pulkit Trivedi, Director, Global Sales Organisation, Facebook India, pointed out that the customers today want freedom and flexibility, not just in price, but in location. They want to give feedback, book last-minute and want results immediately. The second big change in customer expectations is the expectation of personalisation. Businesses that succeed keep pace with their customers, he said, adding that they need to think Mobile First, capture the attention of the customer and drive impactful branding, grow their sales and measure what is actually working.
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