Digitalization and personalization are among the key trends that businesses within the travel and tourism industry should adopt to ensure success, according to a new report.

GlobalData’s Online Travel report states: “The leading players in travel and tourism are those who have embraced digitalization and focused on developing a robust online presence. To differentiate and stay ahead of the competition, the true leaders are those who have recognized the importance of social media and personalization and invested in technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and travel apps.”

It notes in particular that personalisation and AI used together have the potential to be transformative through optimising data-driven marketing activity.

Of this, it says: “Big data has revolutionized online travel marketing with its analytics increasingly enabling companies to target consumers in a more personalized and effective way. Going forward, the move from mass marketing to one-to-one marketing in online travel will continue. Alongside this, artificial intelligence will be equally as important in supporting companies to effectively use the amassed data they have to deliver a personalized online travel experience.”

The reports adds that AI will be able to complement a host of other activities with automation, customisation and recommendations, as well as through helping travel companies to learn about their customers’ behaviours, interests and inclinations.

The need for optimising processes in these ways is critical for travel and tourism companies as the industry continues to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. GlobalData predicts that international traveller expenditure globally will only this year return to 2019’s pre-pandemic level of $2.02trn having risen back to $1.8trn in 2023.

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Such is the importance now of technology for the travel and tourism sector that some travel brands – including Airbnb and – refer to themselves primarily as technology companies, the report notes.

“Big data, travel apps, artificial intelligence and machine learning play a major role in online travel companies, with leading players investing heavily in these areas,” it says.