It goes without saying that the pandemic had a tremendous impact on the travel industry, with group travel hit harder than almost any other segment. Fortunately, the sector is recovering from this turbulence and 2023 promises to be a good year for travel.
In fact, group travel is on the rise again as people are looking to reconnect and bond with others after a long period of isolation. Recent reports show that 50% of people hope to take at least one holiday with friends before the end of the year, while the number of families planning to travel together is expected to rise by 25% annually.
Whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues, one thing is certain – demand for group travel will continue to accelerate. So, how can travel websites enhance their booking experience to cater to the needs of group travellers?
Next generation travellers
The next-gen demographic largely comprises Millennials and Gen Z – digital natives, who are 1.5 times more likely to call themselves adventurous than older people.
Next-gen travellers opt to organise their trips entirely online, with 45% of UK travellers comfortable researching, planning and booking trips directly from their mobile phones. What’s more, keen to make up for lost time following the COVID-19 restrictions, the next-gen have rediscovered the value of relationships and choose to travel in groups.
Evolving the group booking experience
The problem is: most travel sites are simply not designed to address the needs of groups; instead, they are created with solo travellers in mind. For people in disparate locations, discussing travel plans can turn into a really frustrating experience.
That’s why travel sites need to integrate real-time social interaction for their users, enabling group members to organise their trip on the site exclusively and make a final reservation together with ease.
Many forward-thinking online travel companies are already actively achieving this through integrating off-the-shelf software solutions such as Joyned Booking, which provides a real-time, secure area on the travel site for groups to discuss and make travel bookings.
Travel sites providing better customer experience through a social group booking function keep travellers on their websites for longer, securing bookings and increasing revenue, profitability, and loyalty. Additionally, websites using this software can obtain critical data such as price perception and sentiment analysis, giving them access to a comprehensive overview of the customer booking journey.
Group travel shaping the Future of Hospitality
Group travel is set to play an important role in shaping the future of hospitality, with more and more people opting to travel and book together online. Travel sites keen to exploit this opportunity are already reaping the benefits of social group booking software, with those who want to secure their share of the market urged to invest in such technology.
About the Author
Johnathan Abraham is the CEO and co-founder of Joyned – a SaaS solution for travel websites that enables users to book together, taking the group booking experience to the next level.