5 Innovations in travel

In the highly competitive travel industry, to keep one step ahead of the rest, companies need to continually innovate. We’ve had a look at some of the more interesting recent innovations in the travel industry which we thought we’d share with you.

1. Qantas Hooroo

The Hooroo social travel site is owned by the airline Qantas, although at this point, the connection between the two is minimal. Taking its design inspiration from visual social networks like Pinterest, Hooroo aims to be more than just a travel inspiration site; it wants to drive sales too. A variety of editorial content appears alongside features for cheap hotel rooms, mixing travel inspiration with opportunities for users to purchase accommodation.

Where Hooroo differs from other sites that offer both accommodation booking and editorial content is that it mixes the functions of a social network with e-commerce. Hooroo offers social discovery, allowing users to discover new destinations, restaurants and travel experiences, but it also allows users to directly purchase from the site, marking it out from a competitor such as TripAdvisor which funnels users through to third party sites for purchase.

Whether the site will expand to include the purchase of flights remains to be seen, but this mix of beautiful inspirational content, social discovery and a slick, easy to use accommodation booking engine is one to watch.

2. KLM’s social seating

Always thought of as a pioneer in online marketing, last year Dutch airline KLM introduced ‘Meet and Seat’ a service that allowed future passengers to connect via their social media profiles after booking, check out other passengers on the flight and choose a seat next to someone they found interesting before they fly.

KLM then took the concept further by adding a celebrity element, giving passengers the chance to compete for a seat next to a variety of Dutch celebrities, driving awareness and usage of their Meet and Seat service.

3. BlinkBooking

Last-minute booking apps have been popular for a while, but we think Blink offers something a little different. Designed for those times when a traveller needs to find accommodation that night, Blink cuts out the overload of information that some booking apps provide, giving the user a choice of just 4 hotels, guaranteed to be the best prices available as Blink negotiates directly with its hotel suppliers.

4. Thomson’s Sensatori resorts

Thomson have developed a number of Sensatori hotels; locations offering a range of luxury features but at a more affordable price. The Sensatori locations offer everything that you’d expect from a luxury holiday, from spa facilities to 6 different restaurants, but where Thomson has innovated appears in a number of features, such as a range of premium ‘swim up’ suites which allow the customer to step right into a swimming pool from their room. Some unusual touches appear in the rooms themselves, such as pillow menus and even a range of in-room aromatherapy treatments.

5. Virgin holidays’ augmented reality app

Virgin Holidays delved into the world of Augmented Reality this year, with their latest iPhone app which allowed users to view special video content instore. Augmented Reality is a technology that allows a user to view hidden videos and images on their phone, by focusing their smartphone camera over a particular image. The Virgin Augmented Reality app allows users to use their phone to view beautiful videos of destinations featured in Virgin holiday packages by focusing their smartphone cameras over special images on posters in Virgin travel agent locations.

This app gives the user an exciting glimpse into what they could discover on a Virgin holiday, but also encourages users to come into the travel agents to try out the Augmented Reality videos on the instore posters. Further engagement is planned by introducing special hidden offers within Virgin stores which can only be unlocked by the app, further encouraging users to visit and potentially purchase.

Which travel brands have caught your eye lately? Share your thoughts on innovation in the industry in the comments.

See more: travel agency software, online travel software, travel management software, travel agent software, online booking software.


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