Sabre melds trends, tech to tailor tourism

Today's hospitality and tourism industry is a lucrative arena, but it's also crowded, so hoteliers must sometimes turn to outside help to gain a competitive edge. To that end, the global technology firm Sabre recently partnered with TrendWatching to create a trend report meant to take today's providers into tomorrow.

Saber delivers technology services to more than 32,000 hotel properties globally, and many of its customers are in places like Dubai or elsewhere in the GCC/MENA region. Sabre regularly helps hotels with things like reservations and advertising.

Sabre says its latest research will “help the travel industry foster a more connected and personalized travel experience for customers.”

At the core of the report are four trend identifiers: "Status Seekers," "Local Love," "Infolust" and "Post-Demographic Consumerism." Each offers insights into current customer behavior.

The "Status Seekers" segment links people's purchasing choices with their identities:
“With so many choices available, consuming is as much a statement about 'who I am' as 'what I have.' Hotels that can provide an experience in line with expectations for status will do well.”

“Local Love” examines travelers’ connections to places, and how authentic local businesses can win favor over corporate or generic ones. Study writers give this advice to hotels:

“Hotels can tap into the increasing selection of local, and better quality, options to address this need. Hotels can also show empathy and understanding for individuals, as well as helping travelers to show theirs.”

In the “Infolust” section, the study focuses on the need for relevant and actionable information. The writers point out that consumers already do most of their business with technology instead of with other people, so Sabre suggests making investments in technology and mobile solutions to find better ways to offer services.

The “death of demographic segmentation” is the focus of “Post-Demographic Consumerism.” The study describes the trend this way:

“Consumers can no longer be ‘boxed’ by age, gender, nationality. They define themselves as they choose, not as society says they are or should be, and choose products and services with little regard for traditional demographic conventions.”

Study writers say hotels should glean different kinds of data mining to market to individuals rather than demographic segments.

For more, the Gulf News Journal spoke with Richard Wiegmann, Sabre’s managing director and chief commercial officer.

“Travel and hospitality continue to be major enablers of economic growth in the Middle East,” Wiegmann said. “The travel industry is constantly improving to keep pace with changing market trends and consumer preferences.”

Technology, he said, is the crucial next step.

“Technology is the single greatest opportunity facing the hospitality industry today,” Wiegmann said. “Developing an effective distribution strategy is critical, and implementing it carefully is an even more important step.”

Wiegmann said Sabre is dedicated to working with its hotel customers to make the most of the study’s insights.

“We continue our innovation in hospitality solutions providing our customers a world-class technology effectiveness, ensuring their stay on the cutting edge of hospitality technology to win the hearts and minds of today’s connected travelers,” Wiegmann said.