Digital Travel Innovation Across the Traveller Journey

December 2020

Consumer engagement, retention, loyalty and trust begins pre-trip, builds in-trip and ends post-trip, to start again in a constant cycle. Without adopting digital innovation and a digital-first mindset, travel brands will be destined to fail in their engagement and relationship with consumers. Taking a holistic view of the traveller journey is the first step to building a travel business fit for purpose post-pandemic.

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Key Findings

Innovation critical

Post-pandemic, embracing digital innovation is critical for travel brands to power out of the health and economic crises, and looming climate emergency, adapting to changing consumer behaviours and values.


With ever more consumers working, shopping and socialising online, digital tech is omnipresent in consumers’ lives and key for engagement across the traveller journey. Taking a holistic view of the consumer continuum is key.

Value add experience

Big data, AI, digital payments, mobile and social commerce are priority areas, spawning new travel start-ups and business models, with digitalisation going beyond the functional to elevate the customer experience.

Try before you buy

Pre-trip travel planning is an art in itself. After lockdown, AR/VR will continue to feature as part of DMO tool kits, while social influencers adapted to the new normal and will help in rebuilding trust.

Delivering on promises

After the booking, it is vital for travel brands to deliver on service promises and exceed expectations through personalisation, contactless solutions and add-ons. Hyper-personalisation through AI reduces the expectation gap.

Direct relationship

Online direct channels are the best way to ensure there is a strong, engaging customer relationship, with direct channels set to enjoy an uplift post-pandemic, also delivering on much needed savings on OTA commissions.

Untapped potential in-trip

Experiences have been given a shot in the arm by COVID-19 due to the need for advance booking to meet new protocols. Combined with foodservice, mobility and retailing, there is great potential for upsell and partnerships.

No digital, no future

Digital travel is not the destination but the journey with a high price for failure.



Scope of the Report
Key findings

Introducing the Traveller Journey

Holistic approach to the traveller journey
New era of consumer behaviour post-COVID-19
Identifying permanent trends with longevity
In-person experiences to rebound over the long term
Staggered and uneven travel recovery led by domestic
Digital as the vehicle for growth and engagement
Technology with further potential for development…
… and enable new tourism business models
Mobile distribution takes over the online channel
App functionality: crucial for customer retention
Digital health passports or “vaccine” visas key to future travel
Asia Pacific spearheading risk management via digital

Before - Inspiration and Discovery

Before - digital as primary tool for inspiration and discovery
COVID-19 propels virtual experiences into the mainstream
Search trends reveal desire for local and nature post-COVID-19
Google stretches further from search into booking
Influencers adapt to the new normal
Case study: before & beyond connect for virtual safaris
Case study: before - amazon explore for discovery

During - Booking and Travel

From consideration to conversion: critical stage for travel brands
Lockdown fuels shift towards more add-ons
Staying afloat with personalisation
Direct online sales help boost digital transformation
The emergence of new business platforms
Payment ecosystems: the backbone of digital airlines
Innovation as part of pre-flight measures
Digitalisation  will propel change for airlines
Digital readiness essential to mitigate future disruptions
Disrupting the status quo, new partnerships galore
Hotel technology companies: key for the reset
Digital transformation of hotels
OTAs raising consumer expectations and service delivery
Distribution platforms pivoting towards new consumer needs
Case study: during - Pilota for managing disruption
Case study: during - Mazemap for navigating the unknown

After - Experience and Back Home

COVID-19 pushes customer service to the fore
Mobile apps as the indispensable travel companion
Activities and experiences: intense interest for connected trip
Sustainable experiences with purpose resonate with consumers
Foodservice elevated, offering a new revenue stream
Foodpanda explores new horizons
Subscription model back on the agenda
Case study: after - Qantas for earning points even when not flying
Case study: after - P ark Hyatt Vietnam luxury experience at home
Case study: after - Questo for co-created experiences

Key Takeaways

Short- to mid-term inbound squeeze pushes forward domestic
Ramping up online bookings as the means for recovery
Digital innovation in many shapes and forms
Key takeaways


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