The 2018 Digital Transformation Report

EXECUTIVE LETTER

We’re entering into the Experience Era: An era where life
is transformed not only by well loved brands, but new and emerging brands willing and able to re-envision the journey. With enhanced capabilities, navigational support and a
new focus on customer experience,… the globe has shrunk. Travel is now accessible and inspired by one of the savviest demographics – Generation Z. Each day the table stakes for brands to compete is growing as this emerging demographic shapes expectations for everyone now and for decades to come.

Travel brands have been enabling customer control throughout history. Travel in the mid 1970s was a black box. Consumers were reliant on travel agents or heading to an airport terminal to book a ight. Over time, online booking and other capabilities began to place control back with the consumer. Fast forward to 2018 and the power has completely shifted to the consumer. Not only do customers dictate standards through brand loyalty, they set the bar for other brands to follow.

In this evolution, brands have grown and modi ed their organizations to support change while navigating a moving landscape. A handful of these areas have required signi cant calibration to maintain success. Traditional media, for reaching and acquiring customers, has disintegrated in performance. This has brought in new technology such as Programmatic to improve management, media waste, and targeted reach. Blanketed low cost strategies are no longer sustainable for brands to grow margins. Insead, targeted offers that vary based on customer loyalty and behavior have become the new norm to support existing and ancillary revenue streams. Travel brands have also begun to re-envision their business, partnerships, and ecosystem to compete with emerging incumbents that have discovered and met unful lled consumer needs. And the largest pivot is the new data driven organization: data is front and center to deliver on real-time engagement in the Experience Era.

How will travel brands continue to position themselves for success? What does that journey look like? How are other brands’ marketing and technology considerations changing over time?

Adobe partnered with Skift to provide critical insights to travel brands worldwide. This research is release 1 of a three part series covering Digital Transformation, Mobile and Personalization. Each focus area is being developed to help brands on a path to success. We believe the travel community is stronger together. Please join us as we uncover the transformational aspects of travel that are shaping tomorrow’s Experience Era.

Julie Hoffmann,
Head of industry strategy & marketing, travel at Adobe

The 2018 Digital Transformation Report SKIFT REPORT 2017 3

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Digital transformation is an essential strategy for any company operating in today’s travel industry. With worldwide digital travel sales set to reach to more than $600 billion, and with mobile purchases expected to soon make up close to half of all transactions in some markets, consumer habits are forcing a rapid rise in expectations for digital-focused commerce. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, most travel businesses are moving rapidly to adapt, integrate, or evolve digital systems that control nearly every aspect of their business operations, from marketing to customer service to distribution.

In this increasingly digital-focused environment, what steps should today’s travel organizations be taking to transform their business? And how far along are they in process of integrating innumberable available digital tools into their strategy? In response to these questions and the ever-evolving digital landscape, Skift and Adobe are releasing the 2018 Digital Transformation Report. This annual research initiative, based on the results of an industry-wide survey polling nearly 200 executives from across the travel industry, attempts to understand how today’s travel marketers are evolving their digital infrastructure, both for customers and internal operations. It also assesses the key challenges facing today’s travel industry as organizations seek to adapt for today’s digital-focused customers, environment and business processes.

To better understand the key digital challenges facing today’s travel executives, we rst examine the habits of today’s digitally-empowered traveler, using data from Skift’s 2018 Experiential Traveler Trends Report for context. The report then reviews the research results
of the 2018 Digital Transformation survey, using the four key themes of customer experience, personalization, automation and organizational readiness as key organizing principles. Finally, the report nishes by taking a look ahead at new technologies like blockchain, arti cial intelligence, chatbots and augmented reality, assessing the anticipated timeframe during which these new tools will see implementation by today’s travel businesses.