Travel industry research authority Phocuswright today unveiled the theme for its signature event, Phocuswright Conference, to be held November 19-21, 2013 in Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA. The conference annually attracts over 1,400 senior executives, media and investors from 35+ countries worldwide to advance travel, tourism and hospitality.
A potent force is gaining strength across the global travel industry, bringing with it a groundswell of consumer expectations that threaten to undermine the unprepared. Sellers of sameness beware: one-size never fit all, and the days of the generic are done for. A rising legion of travelers now demands to be recognized – one by one.
"Cult of Context" adheres to a simple truth: success with many requires serving the wants of the one. Travelers have no tolerance for so-so search results and "personalized" deals that aren't so personal. As the Cult takes hold, consumers will be fiercely devoted to the brands, products and experiences that honor the individual and serve the situation at hand.
"To tap into the Cult of Context, travel companies are compelled to know and engage their customers like never before," says Douglas Quinby, principal analyst. "Where chaos once called, amid a confusion of devices and channels, the Cloud has the power to calm, data can differentiate, and context now commands."
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This year's Phocuswright Conference is an invitation to contemplate the Cult of Context that beckons the travel industry, as embodied by these five tenets:
- Radical Relevance
Travelers accustomed to instant answers will flock to the brands that anticipate and deliver what they want, when they want it. It's time for travel companies to junk the generic and instead satisfy consumers' craving for relevance and convenience. The Cult of Context demands a tailored experience that considers the entire situation. Early movers will witness the consumer's delight at being understood, but watch out: that initial ecstasy will soon give way to expectation.
- Splicing the Splinternet
Multiple touchpoints are manifest, and travelers expect a seamless, synced and steady experience across all interactions. Travel companies must re-seam the silos of disparate devices and channels to provide consistent content, messaging and service, regardless of whether their customers are online or offline, in person or in transit. How you connect no longer matters; wherever you go, there you are.
- Under the Influence
With the commoditization of travel search, shop and buy, the real competition has moved up the funnel, where the battle will be fought around inspiration and intent. It's a contest to cultivate trust and influence decisions, and the winning approach must be rooted in relevance, relationships and unwavering customer focus. Choice has become commodity, features and functions are plentiful. What else you got?
- Hacking the Haystack
From customer profiles and purchase history to clickstreams and social graphs, travel players of every stripe are sitting on a virtual haystack of meaningless minutia. Data is already big – it's the insights that need to grow. Mining the mountain for actionable intelligence is a prerequisite for personalization. Only those who crack the code will be able to deliver a smarter, singular consumer experience.
- Say No More
For the swelling ranks of travelers who never power off, the cacophony of content and come-ons is constant. Yet blindly restricting choice is an invitation to irrelevance. The perfect balance between simplicity and abundance is achievable on a grand scale – but only if systems can learn from their users. What remains untouched is as important as what's bought. Less is more, except when it's not.
A rising force is agitating the travel industry – elevating consumer expectations and subverting the orthodoxy of the ordinary. The command for relevance is upon us. You may heed the call or scorn it, but it advances nonetheless. Cult of Context.Registration is now open
for The Travel Industry Event of the Year
. Please join us at The Phocuswright Conference
, November 19-21, 2013 in Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.