We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Vice President, MENA, Amadeus IT Group
These NextGen travelers are not defined by their age – rather, it’s their mind-set that distinguishes them from conventional travelers. They are aware, realistic in their perceptions, and prefer to be connected to their family and friends at all times. The breadth and magnitude of social media do not intimidate these digital natives – they are champions at balancing the real world with the virtual, thus leveraging both to their advantage.
To us, travel industry professionals, these are exciting times. The travel scene has been transformed irrevocably by what I would call ‘NextGen travelers’ – the tech-savvy, smartphone-wielding globe-trotters who prefer to chart their own course, regardless of the destination.
NextGen travelers are constantly seeking newer travel experiences, and are adept at creating customized travel packages accordingly. The omniscient Big Data Technology, along with social media, has empowered them to do this effectively, just as it has enabled the travel industry to offer novel travel destinations and experiences.
Newer travel options also mean fewer reference points, and hence there is a noticeable preference or loyalty towards leading brands that offer trendy travel ideas and flexible, mobile, best-in-class options. While the need to be continually updated can pose a challenge to travel service providers, it also opens up interesting possibilities.
To me, the Middle East travel scene is a particularly stimulating one, as is evident by the significant shift in traveler demographics. The steady increase in the number of NextGen travelershas opened up vistas of possibilities for service providers in the region, and what the travel industry now needs to do is to collaborate with banks to calibrate payment gateways.
At Amadeus, we are keenly aware of the heightened expectations of NextGen travelers, and constantly innovate technologies that can empower service providers to meet them. Technologies like Amadeus Mobile Traveler, in the mobile space (available in the Middle East and North Africa) and Amadeus Altea Suitein the airline space offer cutting-edge solutions that make total business transformation to next-generation processes instantly possible.
I am eagerly awaiting the day when facilities such as Automated Border Clearance (ABC), an innovative concept that uses self-service kiosk technology to partially automate the Primary Inspection Line processing of eligible travelers, become universal – that would increase passenger satisfaction multifold!
Though the travel industry has come a long way, it can still benefit from observing and learning from other industries such as retail. Like the retail sector, we can also utilize social mediaand market research tools to keep track of consumer trends and preferences, and improvise our products and services to meet those evolving needs.
Ultimately, there is no denying that the travel industry, like most other industries, is driven by the end-user, which in this case is synonymous with the NextGen traveler. As products and services providers, it is best for the travel industry to align our objectives to their changing requirements, thus together shaping the future of travel.