Just over one year ago the travel and tourism industry was booming. In fact, 2019 boasted over 1.5 billion international tourists and the industry was growing faster than the international economy.
After a crippling 2020 and start to 2021, the travel industry is in the early stages of recovery–and it’s more competitive than ever. Brands and destinations are working overtime to capture consumer attention and are looking for any competitive edge to woo would-be travellers and drive bookings. Now, in the midst of a dramatically different travel landscape, strategic technology partnerships are proving to be a critical force in driving recovery efforts.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, partnerships were certainly important in the travel technology ecosystem, but they weren’t always seen as critical. Travel was thriving, bookings were abundant, and quotas were met. However, lean times and scattered bookings made partnerships essential. Partners can improve their value proposition and solve customer challenges and pain points that can’t be addressed alone. For example, our Sojern partners can utilise our unique travel insights and intent data to drive market penetration. COVID-19 completely changed intent and booking patterns, which made these insights especially critical during the past year.
It’s clear that partnerships are more important than ever. Here’s why partnering up will build a market that’s ripe for recovery.
Specialists are better together
Before the pandemic many companies expanded existing solutions. However, an overly broad strategy can be detrimental because it veers from the original value propositions. During market contractions brands were too busy trying to stay afloat that it was impossible to optimise strengths. One of the main benefits of partnerships is that brands can narrow the focus and capitalise on those strengths while leveraging other companies’ strengths to deliver a better overall solution. In June of 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Sojern partnered with The Hotel Network, which is a full stack direct growth platform for hospitality. Together we have strengthened hotels’ ability to drive direct bookings when they need it most by enabling each partner to focus on what they do best.
Support growth and market solutions
In spite of headcount reduction and sales declines, financial requirements for many brands and destinations haven’t changed. Faced with doing more with less, these organisations are looking for innovative ways to accelerate growth and scale back to pre-pandemic numbers. Partnerships open up a whole world of opportunities, including access to new data and insights to tailor campaigns and drive bookings. Thanks to open APIs, SaaS platforms and data, specialists are linking up and delivering the insights travel brands need most. Sojern’s recent partnership with Data Appeal brings custom insights on flight searches, bookings, arrivals, purchasing behaviors, and more.
Using partnerships to future proof
In addition to offering deeper insights that accelerate growth, partnerships are also delivering solutions to some of the market’s most challenging issues. As marketers gear up for a cookieless future, it is increasingly important to rely on first party data. From hashed emails to CRM integration to balancing the need for an open and free internet that respects an individual’s right to privacy, people-based marketing will be critical for brands to drive bookings across all channels. Partnerships are paving the way to addressing these challenges, offering real solutions–and real data–to navigate a world without third-party cookies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight squarely on partnerships–and for good reason. When brands form strategic partnerships that allow them to focus on their value propositions, these partnerships will create real industry solutions that drive recovery efforts. While partnerships pre-pandemic were slower, they’re fast becoming the backbone of the travel industry, and customers are reaping the benefits.