Nobody in the travel sector is delivering personalised content and products for consumers the way Netflix and Amazon do.
Google travel account manager Benedicte Conway said there was “a massive opportunity” for the industry to mirror innovators in other sectors to meet changing consumer demands.
She told delegates at Broadway Travel’s annual conference that 80% of what is watched on Netflix comes from recommendations the streaming service suggests to users, which is based on a user’s behaviour online and things they have watched previously.
Conway said: “Netflix has come in with machine learning and an algorithm that gives recommendations based on what you like. Usually it’s pretty accurate. Amazon does the same thing.
“Because people see it in one industry consumers expect it in another, so that creates a massive opportunity for us in travel to jump on that and start showing more tailored, personalised content to our consumers.
“At the moment, there’s no one like Netflix in the travel industry, there’s no one really owning that. This is a massive problem for us because people are more attracted to businesses that offer some understanding of their needs and likes.”
Conway and Google travel account manager Eoin Cahill said consumers were more “curious, demanding and impatient” than ever before but they wanted a “finite” list of recommendations for their holiday and to be “looked after”.
They said research shoed 60% of travellers today would rather see fewer options rather than trawling through endless options online.
Cahill said: “Before the internet and before TripAdvisor we used to book through a travel agent. We’d give them our budget, we’d give them our dates, how many people and the places we didn’t want to go and they came back with some options. Then the internet became more accessible and people started researching ourselves.
“Our desires are the same – we still want to go on holiday and enjoy ourselves, but the way we consume that changed. Customers want to be looked after and given a finite number of choices that meet our needs the way a travel agent used to.
“Essentially what people are looking for is a 24/7 travel agent online that anticipates all of their needs and likes. Consumers are leaning in to businesses that offer this to them.”