The willingness of UK travellers to spend money on “personalising” their travel journeys significantly outstrips their current spending on ancillaries, a new study reveals.
This personalisation may represent a significant, but largely untapped, retail opportunity for hotels and airlines, according to the research revealed at Sabre’s Envision London Technology Week event.
British consumers surveyed were willing to spend an average of £61 on airline extras to personalise their trip, and £56 on extras to personalise their hotel stays.
The amount is higher than revenue currently generated by airlines from ancillary sales, which is just £10 per passenger.
Meanwhile, 69% of travellers think it’s important to receive travel options catered to their personal travel history and preferences.
Respondents were also asked which industries they associated with personalisation. While banking came out top with 22%, the hotel industry was a close second with 21%. But only 8% of respondents associated the airline industry with personalisation.
Women were also more likely than men to spend on personalising their journey, with 71% saying they would be prepared to pay for airline extras, versus 63% of males.
Willingness to spend was also higher among younger travellers, with 20% of 16-24-year-olds willing to pay more than £100 on personalising their travel compared with just 10% of over 55s.
Along with a willingness to spend money on personalisation, some UK consumers were also prepared to share personal information in return for a more personalised service, with a quarter agreeing to share their location and a third sharing their travel history with travel suppliers.
UK consumers were also asked about their use of social media to share travel experiences.
While Facebook was still the most popular across all age groups, 16-24-year-olds used a greater number of social networks to share their experiences, including Instagram and Snapchat.
Snapchat was also used by more than 25% of those aged 35 and over, suggesting emerging new attitudes to sharing information with Snapchat posts lasting up to 24 hours only before being wiped.
Londoners exhibited different technology habits to the rest of the country, with a higher usage of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat during travel than other UK regions.
People in the capital were also more willing to spend money on air and hotel extras, stating an average figure of £80 and £69, compared with the national average of £61 and £56 respectively.
Sabre UK and Ireland managing director Eric Hallerberg said: “I receive custom music options after I download a song, and my bank remembers my preferences, so it’s no surprise that consumers expect the same from their travel suppliers.
“The travel industry is leaving money on the table by not making their ancillary services more widely available, wherever and whenever the traveller wants them.
“It’s a significant retail and revenue opportunity, and one we are very focused on helping our airline, hotel and agency customers address.”
Lennert De Jong, chief commercial officer at Citizen M Hotels, said: “In the hotel industry, there is a real opportunity to use information from guests to create valuable and seamless experiences for them when they return.
“For example, you set your room to 18 degrees when you stay at Citizen M; why would we, on your next check-in, give you a room that is 24 degrees?
“There’s an opportunity for hotels that can learn from and respond to their guests, which will create not just additional revenue through purchasing extras, but also will garner more loyalty from travellers that feel like their hotel knows and cares about them.
“Travellers are likely to experience more of this seamless personalisation from their hotels within the near future.”
Personalisation and the UK Traveller