How To Make The Best Of The Digital Sun Shining On The Travel Industry

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As per a recent eMarketer report, digital travel sales will rise up to an estimated USD 855 Billion by 2021. The World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation Initiative also released a report in which it stated that over the next decade, digitalization of travel industry is expected to create up to USD 305 Billion of value for the industry through increased profitability. At the same time, this digitalization will cause migration of an estimated USD 100 Billion of value from traditional to new competitors.

This data clearly indicates a fruitful future for the travel industry which has been a front runner in the digital race, disrupting the way we commute today. When we talk about the disruption of travel industry, its impact extends to both inter- and intra- transportation among states and countries. Today, customers have the facility of on-app hail cab services, online trip planning services, web-based ticketing and check-in services, online hotel booking, and what not.

Technology dovetails into the travel industry

The dramatic shift from an agency-dependent tour planning and booking system to self-managed, online-planned trip has one significant driver that is navigating the industry’s digital transformation journey – the change in product/service-based offering to experience-based offerings. This change in mindset has been among both consumers as well as service providers.

Edmund Tan, Director of Quality Assurance & Support at gategroup, emphasized on this transition in a recent podcast on QA Technology in Hospitality. He pointed out that the increased focus on customer experience has resulted in new industry trends – onboard connectivity, interconnected IoT devices, Big Data, and AR & VR.

Airlines are investing heavily for providing onboard connectivity to the passengers, thus, opening wide avenues for retail and commercial opportunities. Big data, which has been in the spotlight since quite some time, is becoming an ongoing trend for the travel and tourism sector. The industry players are utilizing data gathered from the interconnected IoT devices to derive valuable insights from a predictive analysis standpoint. By combining VR and AR technology, the traveling service providers are trying to deliver a better customer experience to their users.

Also read: Can Quality Engineering Really Make an Aircraft Crash Proof?

The age of hyper-personalization

Digitalization is not only about an omnichannel presence or an online ticket-booking system. It is about guaranteeing a truly holistic experience to the traveler with the help of digital channels. The digital travel sales surged by 10.4% in the last year, reaching USD 694.41 Billion. 82% of the total bookings in the last year happened through websites or mobile applications. This increase can be logically attributed to the fact that travelers today demand convenience and value a seamless experience.

Another survey reported that 48% of the American smartphone users find it easier to research, book, and plan an entire trip on their mobile device. Additionally, 90% of the travelers expect a personalized experience when they book their trip. In order to facilitate this, most passengers are comfortable with travel-fulfillment sites tracking and recording their activities.

The advancements in the digital scenario have fueled the customers’ desires for a hyper-personalized experience. While the introduction of technologies such as cognitive computing, predictive analytics, real-time connectivity, and AR & VR, these desires seem justified. However, a mere digital app and a website is not sufficient to satisfactorily meet the expectations. As digital transformation is less about technology and more about people involved, some challenges regarding the implementation may present themselves on the journey:

  • Existing silos: With multiple product lines and applications, the siloed structure within an organization that is initiating its digital transformation journey can prove to be a major hindrance.
  • Lack of standardization: Since siloed teams have their own customized way of doing things, it is not feasible to standardize processes across the organization. This leads to a lack of cross-functionality. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges that travel industry has is to transform siloed, non-cross-functional teams into non-siloed, cross-functional teams. It is only then organization-wide transparency can be achieved.
  • Ownership issues: When the siloed walls are demolished, a horizontal landscape is established, and cross-functional teams are established, one fundamental question emerges – who will take the ownership? Addressing this question is a key challenge in itself.

The need for a QA-driven digital transformation

Most travel organizations, with a few exceptions, are consumer-facing ones. Quality assurance offers a perspective into the services from the end users’ standpoint. Since the B2C applications usually interact with the customers directly, it is essential that the service is curated keeping them in mind.

Another critical aspect is to develop the applications with alignment to the overall business, while taking a ‘test early, test often’ approach to uphold their quality and functionality. Although customers are willing to share their personal information with the service providers, they do expect security, accuracy, reliability, and security within the delivered app.

With a qualitative and quantitative analysis, businesses in the travel industry can effectively integrate the desired level of quality within their offerings. Having the ultimate goal of improving end user experience, quality assurance acts as the key to successfully lead the digital journey.

Also read: 5 pain points for Hospitality and Travel that QA and Testing can heal

Conclusion

The B2C travel companies today have no other option than to go digital. While their digital transformation journey is powered by the goal of improving end user experience, it shall be upheld by appropriate software testing measures. In exchange of their data, travelers demand a secure, robust, resilient, and accurate application. Cognitive computing and predictive analysis can help travel businesses build such an application. However, it is equally critical to invest in software testing for travel applications to maintain the desired application standards and deliver a seamless experience to the passengers or customers.

Cigniti has built its own testing IP that helps businesses across the industry implement quality assurance and quality engineering in technology. The proprietary technology encompasses various testing functions, tools and methods, and is focused on improving the overall productivity and test coverage for our clients. Connect with us to advance your overall testing function.