With COVID slowly receding into the background, the world is waiting to pick up where it left off; to continue those long-awaited vacations and adapt to a new normal of travel by dusting off passports and revitalizing their neglected travel lists.
The key question is how has travel changed since 2019?
There have been multiple changes, both positive and negative, but the one game-changing change hitting the industry has to be the evolution and adoption of “social commerce” into the new normal. While not a new concept, the tools and business models that enable travel creators are finally getting the attention they deserve, and the adoption of innovative solutions will give a boost to the creative economy.
While social commerce is already doing wonders in the fashion, food, and lifestyle segments, it’s time for the impact of social commerce to be felt in the travel industry, across the world. ecosystem of tours, personalized trips, luxury experiences and the last mile. making reservations. Brands, influencers and people like us (not affiliated with a brand) have always been part of the social landscape advocating travel, doling out envious photos and creating stories of the next dream route. The crux of the matter is how do we as creators share and monetize this vacation? Is the world of travel really conducive to commerce?
Adopting a controversial point of view states that: a like or share on social media should not be considered a social commerce metric, but a marketing objective. Social commerce implies that the transaction has actually been made (i.e. the purchase has taken place) – this should be the true metric that shows a transaction that completes the purchase cycle. From discovery on social networks to the ultimate payment for a product or service on the same storefront. Unfortunately, research proves that the transactional parts of social commerce are where things often fall apart.
With social commerce sales expected to grow from 492 billion in 2021 to 1.5 billion in 2025, the race to scale up social commerce has only just begun.
Challenges facing today’s travelers.
Simply put, the one challenge that stands out is that we’re all spoiled for choice, and FOMO among travelers is a well-documented fact.
Today’s traveler is burdened with cognitive information overload. Going on vacation is supposed to be fun and not a nerve-wracking exercise where you end up browsing up to ~38 websites, browsing social media for the perfect trip, or browsing different platforms looking for deals and offers. offers to build that perfect route. While that sounds like a daunting task, the world of professional travel planners isn’t to everyone’s taste, nor is it suitable for every wallet. So, what is the solution that will influence this paradigm shift sought by the travel industry? The answer must come from within the community.
Therefore, the next bet is social commerce, where the community inspires and thus converts fancy itineraries based on AI, OTA (online travel agencies) travel ideas to give us what we are looking for: an experience of hassle-free trip from the start.
Need of the Hour – A Seamless Book Search Experience Platform
What is needed is a platform that enables the production and customization of bookable experiences that provide a seamless booking search experience for travel creators and travelers. From browsing reviews, deals, and stories to accessing directions, travel tips, and booking hotels and taxis, all in one storefront, fulfilling the purpose of social commerce.
Many companies have greatly simplified the planning process by allowing digital purchases of products, but do they help you plan? Yes, you might find a bunch of itineraries, but they’re sliced into cookies. Is it sufficient?
With over 4.5 billion people in this world, that’s a lot of geographies, preferences, tastes, styles to satisfy and the jury is still out on whether consumers are happy with the current scenario.
Social Commerce Ecosystems
The key is in a social commerce ecosystem. Powered by the creativity and ingenuity of individuals and to some extent brands, turbocharged by the power of platforms, social intervention can help us solve these challenges, by providing the customer with the ability to browse shared travel content by individual creators, to select the most relevant experiences according to their tastes and to make reservations and payments on a single platform.
With consumers at the heart of this strategy, social commerce empowers the community. Now, through different engagement vehicles like content (personal journeys), experiences (live streaming, etc.), referrals (friendly advocacy), all individuals can contribute. Instead of a handful of brands and influencers selling/advocating to millions, we now have a setup to enable millions to sell to millions within an ecosystem and thus democratize information, sharing of experiences and customer access.
So how is social commerce enabled in today’s world?
1. Technology Behind the scenes: To create a truly integrated social travel experience, platforms require technology to retrieve and transmit content to and from multiple sources such as social media channels, travel blogs, service providers, booking sites and payment gateways. As a result, social travel commerce platforms must operate as aggregators. This integrated process is brought to life by leveraging technologies such as social media analytics, CRM, recommendation engine, content retrieval, route managers, e-commerce engine and most importantly inventory/ attraction tickets. So while the traveler enjoys a seamless and integrated view, a colossal amount of work takes place behind the scenes to make everything fall into place.
2. Power to the Community: Without an integrated social travel platform, the user jumps from one platform to another throughout the booking cycle, losing interest and precious time. However, with a unified look-to-book experience, the whole travel experience is simplified. Additionally, social commerce in travel is democratizing the travel industry, allowing brands large and small as well as individuals to reach massive audiences that were previously inaccessible to them.
3. As always, what is The Bottom Line? Social commerce in travel is a revolutionary force capable of creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem that thrives on partnerships and new business models. As the travel and hospitality industry shifts to social commerce, travelers can enjoy high-value interactions, time and cost savings, and a seamless user experience.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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