Skift Take

Uber, Lyft, and their rivals aren't just disrupting the taxi industry. The companies have set a new standard of service that all brands in the travel industry are being forced to imitate, whether they're ready or not.

It’s easy to see how companies like Uber have fundamentally changed the taxi and transportation industry.

But all threats to taxi cab owners aside, what’s been less widely discussed is how on-demand services like Uber fundamentally change customer expectations for all travel services.

Whether you run a hotel, travel agency or tours company, the seamless, instantaneous nature of “on-demand” services is forcing a wholesale rethink of how all travel businesses address the ever-increasing demands of their technology-savvy customers. How is it possible to do that on a limited budget? Where should a travel marketer prioritize? Read on below for more analysis.

Thriving in the “Expectation Economy”
Most travel industry observers would agree that Uber has given the taxi industry a serious run for their money. But it’s not just taxi drivers that need to worry about Uber. The fact is that consumers don’t think about the companies they patronize in terms of the industry “sector” to which they belong. This is creating serious headaches for the stressed-out travel managers, who are now expected to deliver the same types of services based on the bar set by Uber, Lyft, Amazon, Netflix and the like. Read more

Is Priceline and Expedia’s Online Ad War Over?
For the past four years, online travel agencies Expedia and Priceline have been locked in a never-ending advertising competition as the two companies spent on Google ads to gain customers and market share. According to one Wall Street analyst, that spending battle may be coming to an end, as the two OTA giants reach an unexpected “detente.” Read more

Discussing the Link Between Social Media, Vacation Photos and Envy
It’s summer travel season, meaning if you’ve spent any time on social media lately, your feed is currently deluged with beach vacation photos from far-away places. Is all this “vacation bragging” healthy? According to some experts, the answer is no. But as this opinion piece suggests, the answer has a lot to do with our own attitudes as to why we share these images in the first place. Read more

Google Executive Discusses the Future of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been hailed by some travel observers as the industry’s “next great thing.” But how are those in the travel industry actually using the technology? And how is the evolution of VR systems and standards changing how consumers will use it in the future? Clay Bavor, Google’s VP of Virtual Reality shared his thoughts about where this much-watched technology is headed at the recent Cannes Lions Conference. Read more

Hotels Investigate the Potential of Voice Technology
The success of devices like Amazon’s Echo is encouraging more travel brands like Kayak to experiment with voice technology. This includes the hotel industry, where a number of hoteliers are investigating the potential of services like voice-powered room service and concierges. However, many remain skeptical. “For our hotel it simply would not provide enough value to offset the cost,” said GM Louis Herman of Yildirim Hotel Denizli in Turkey. Read more

Starwood Hotels Expands Smartphone Room Key Service
Highlighting the importance of mobile services for guests, Starwood Hotels is expanding its popular SPG Keyless room entry to participating Westin, Sheraton, Four Points and Le Méridien properties around the world. Starwood already has more than 160 properties that offer the service to guests. Read more

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Tags: content marketing, Digital Marketing

Photo credit: "On-demand" apps like Lyft are fundamentally reshaping consumers' expectations for customer service. Lyft

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