Travel Enters the Experience Age

The magnetic emotional pull of the travel experience is one of the most powerful in human existence. It has spawned a complex global industry with nearly $8 trillion of direct and indirect economic contribution. But the pull of travel is countered by a persistent consumer anxiety that travel experiences can and will go wrong. Recent high-profile customer service issues have only amplified these concerns.

Unlike a dinner out, a family hike in the woods, or a trip to the museum, travel has far more complexity and contingencies that can muck up the best laid plans. Think about a basic leisure travel trip. The first day’s journey might begin with a ride-sharing service to the airport, a pre-travel meal, a plane flight, a car service to the hotel, hotel check-in, a restaurant reservation for dinner, cab rides to and from dinner, and a movie in the room before bed. Before day one ends, at least 8 distinct service providers have been required to deliver a routine set of travel experiences.

If just one or two of these services don’t deliver as expected — say a late flight, followed by a nausea-inducing cab ride, and a cancelled dinner reservation — the result is a bad start to a much-anticipated journey.

Over the past two decades — travel’s “Transaction Age” — travel providers and technology companies have revolutionized the booking of travel. But as consumers demand better and more predictable experiences, travel providers have an opportunity to improve and optimize the experience on every trip.

Leveraging data is the most obvious way to do this. For years, travel providers have closely guarded their data due to a lack of controls, pricing mechanisms or data-sharing standards in the industry. But imagine what could happen if these hurdles were overcome: your airline could notify your hotel and car service that you will be late due to weather; your hotel, knowing you will probably be hungry when you arrive, might text you 3 recommended restaurants for late-night dining to peruse in the car from the airport; when you arrive at the hotel, you might receive a compelling offer to sample the room-service menu if you choose to eat in; and your bed could already be turned down in a welcome invitation to slumber. A few small actions that add up to a better travel experience.

The promise of richer and more predictable travel experiences is nearing. At Journera, we’re building a platform that will break down barriers to meaningful data cooperation allowing travel providers, marketers and other innovators to create valuable new products, services and consumer experiences.

Travel is about to enter the experience age.