Worldwide over 1 billion travellers are going on vacation every year, seeking relaxation and new experiences. The travel industry now sees tourism brands evolving towards prioritising consumers’ needs and desires over operational needs. This is a remarkable change and more and more tourism businesses are responding to the change in consumers being affected by socio-economic factors. Holidays are now seen as luxury rather than a necessity. Many consumers are worried about money and many consumers prefer an often much cheaper staycation, meaning they stay in their home countries rather than travelling abroad (Marketing 2013).
Consumer behaviour is changing and in this digital era, these changes are happening more frequent. Many tourism businesses are struggling to monitor and identify changes. Hence, marketing an product cycles need to change as well and evolve too. Already, booking lead times are decreasing and consumers are booking nearer to their departure date. Package holidays are also experiencing more demand and popularity. Besides being limited financially in terms of how much money is spent on a holiday, consumers still have the same expectations towards their holidays. With technology further evolving, consumers’ needs and behaviour has developed accordingly.
Consumers’ expectations are on the rise and through technology everybody in the world can become an independent explorer. This is very interesting, as it demonstrates the need for instant access to information, personalised options and growing choice through high competition. Travel is full of opportunities for consumers worldwide. However, this travel revolution also meant major challenges for tourism businesses: mobile phones and platforms along with social media make the tourism industry more complex.
CONSUMER NEEDS AT CORE
With new technologies and applications becoming essential parts of consumer behaviour, tourism businesses also need to respond to this change. The consumers is now becoming the central focus of travel – the consumer is king but with the focus on the individual! This is a new concept for many in tourism. Tourism businesses need to make every holiday or experience with a tourism brand highly personalised and unique in every sense. Consumers’ expectations are therefore at the core and businesses aim to understand the complex mind of travellers and their reaction towards social media and technology. The tourism industry now has to focus heavily on ensuring consumers’ desires can be decoded and understood.
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