Author: Carlos Ponce

The Travel Experience and the Influence It Has on Travel Tech

Travel experiences are unique for each human being. What’s fun or enjoyable to me, might not be so for you.

There is a lot of travel data out there that’s already hard at work. However, there’s a lot more information that tells of the subjective experience of travelers. Unfortunately, much of this is not yet digitally accessible

If you are not figuring out how access to this information, then your product will become become irrelevant.

The Subjective Aspects of Travel

At a recent DojoLive! episode we ended up talking about the subjective aspect of the travel experience. This got my attention.

This came in the context of understanding the value of a travel data with Layton Han, CEO and David Morrow, VP of Global Marketing at Adara.

For example, language barriers, urban surroundings, social interactions, and personal preferences affect the travel experience. Travel tech product companies should realize this.
The question is how to measure these things. How can they be made to yield useful data that would help benefit users?

“If they learn about their customers, they are going to be able to give them better experiences.”
— David Morrow

Unique Experiences

Travel experiences are unique, memorable, and personal. They are multi-sensory, emotional, and transformational. They shape the quality of a great travel experience.

Companies like Airbnb, BestDay, as well as OTAs and chatbots already make travel easier.

Software companies need to move beyond this paradigm. Travel is much more than reporting about the price of hotels and the number of flights between point X and Y. It should also about people and culture. It is also about how travelers see others.

You can see this in travel blogs, videos, and social media posts. These help make travelers and their friends active participants in the experience.

For example, bloggers tell stories that are useful in understanding the subjective dimensions of travel. This is a way of understanding non-visible and rarely stated elements in the travel experience. Travel software companies and their customers will benefit from catching this information.

“Data is not just about learning more about your customer. You’ve got to be able to act on that as well.”

— David Morrow

Subjective Turned Effective

The subjective aspects of the travel experience must become a focal concept in the travel tech world.

Booking a room and finding a plane ticket are only part of the experience.
The deeper, more telling part of it comes from the stories travelers tell as they enrich, evaluate, and reflect upon their experiences.

Yet, a lot of this information remains inaccessible and travel tech companies. They’ve so far failed to take into account travelers’ actions and perceptions of events. This means that they miss out on how these turn into memorable experiences that are personally meaningful.

With Machine Learning these un-measurable information will, hopefully, become more accessible digitally in the near future.

Travelers are not just numbers and stats on a spreadsheet. Tech travel companies must figure out how to incorporate the plethora of stories that travelers leave behind. It won’t be easy, but it’s critically important.

After all, taste buds, quirks, and moods vary in over 6 billion ways.

“It’s really the people factor. Making it work.”
— Layton Han

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Travel Tech in a Shrinking World

Mobile technology and travel software platforms bring people together like never before. They surely make the world seem way smaller and more accessible.

These new technologies have indeed reshaped and redefined how we move about. It has affected how the tourism and travel tech industry operate as a whole.

VR, AR, Video: the Tip of the Travel Iceberg

Some examples of the types of technologies I’ve seen emerge are immersive video and virtual and augmented reality. These technologies are making the travel experience even more exciting. Destinations that were once uncommon, are now much more approachable.

Norway, for instance, had not precisely been always considered as a regular destination for many would-be travelers. Leveraging immersive video this cold and beautiful country is increasingly raising awareness of all that it has to offer. Norway can show potential visitors it is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world.

Virtual reality (VR) is another breakthrough technology for the travel industry and we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg right now. Through VR experiences, destinations, hotels, and airlines can entice travelers by allowing them to explore what they may experience. VR can ease the fear of the unknown and change perceptions about cities or countries across the globe.

Like VR, augmented reality (AR) is changing the way people travel. AR has the potential to create increased exploration on a micro level.

Pokémon Go, the AR gaming app that swept across the world inspired gamers to go outside and chase down virtual Pokémons. Players go to new places and discover things about their city or neighborhood that may have previously overlooked.

AR is about getting people up off the couch and into new, sometimes odd, places. It can certainly spur activity, motivate discovery, and produce changes in trends and habits.

New Languages

Translation technology is creating new lines of communication and eliminating language barriers. From programs such as Rosetta Stone to the Google Translation app travelers now have the tools to immerse themselves in a culture and interact with locals.

Imagine sitting in a French café with no knowledge of the language and attempting to order dinner. Previously, one would open up a pocket-sized English-French dictionary and flip through pages to try and understand what a Confit de Canard is. Now, travelers can use an app to scan the text on the menu and have it translated in real-time.

Translation technology creates a better understanding and deeper appreciation for new places.

Machine learning algorithms that erase language barriers are empowering travelers to interact with their surroundings. They eliminate one more barrier to visit foreign destinations that were not previously in the consideration set.

Sharing Platforms

The ubiquity of sharing platforms is also fueling travelers’ confidence and allowing them to be more exploratory. With ride-sharing services like Uber a seamless and consistent global experience is accessible to travelers. It takes away the stress of hailing a taxi, trying to provide an address and directions when you don’t speak the language and worrying about being overcharged. Even the need to carry around stacks of local currency is being eroded as mobile payment platforms become more advanced and available.

The Future

All these technologies are transforming the ways we move about our neighborhoods, expanding the destinations we seek to visit, and enhancing the level at which we engage with our surroundings. Technology has made the world more accessible and removed the fear of exploring exotic, far off destinations. It allows travelers to experience the place before they visit and immerse themselves into the culture once they arrive.

This new age of global migration is fueling the next generation of travelers and creating new opportunities to reach and engage with them.

Travel Beyond Tech

There might be even more astonishing technologies in the the future, like hovercrafts, autonomous cars, and the Hyperloop which will forever change how people travel. But what’s more important today, is how technology is changing the way people view and think about travel. So, when these inventions hit the market in a few years, the desire and mindset will already exists to make them mainstream.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at cponce@nearsoft.com.

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Inbound, Outbound…or Peoplebound

In the tech world – and then some – running a successful business is about making things happen in a way that works for both the service provider and the client.

You need to get the word out, somehow, though. There are many ways and tools to do this quite inexpensively and effectively.

Some say that Inbound marketing is the way to go. Some others favor Outbound marketing instead. There might be folks who like one a bit more than the other, depending on your marketing team’s traits.

I personally feel better suited for Outbound marketing because it relies more on communication and soft skills. But both are effective and pair up nicely.

There has to a better term to describe reaching out to potential clients that does not rely solely on digital tools, stats, and conversion rates. One that is a bit more comprehensive in every way and includes a shift in mindset.

I believe there is. And it should include the People Factor.

How Is Nearsoft Different?

We are a software engineering firm with quite a unique culture, to say the least. We’re a democratic-style, people-centric organization. At some point during our early stages, we realized that our company’s business model was different.

In the software engineering world, when reaching out to potential clients, lots of folks are still stuck in the outsourcing mindset. So we, as a marketing team, have had to think of ways to convey the notion of why we are different. And that’s basically because of our culture, and the way we self-organize as a flat organization.

In fact, it was not unusual to have several conversations with a prospect before they really got it. Part of this was the lack of an alternative model and part of it is simply a matter of vocabulary, since there was really no specific term to describe how we do what we do.

So we thought of adopting a new term.

Bound Towards You

I believe that our business model as a software company will continue to grow, because the way software is made today varies substantially. The idea of coding software by a captive development team is simply not sustainable and can’t compete in the long term.

Software companies have felt compelled to be all about their product or service when it comes to branding, operations, and their culture. In our case, this was a little bit different.

Or a lot.

So, marketing-wise, I have started to adopt an easy-t0-remember term to differentiate what we do and how we do it. The term is Peoplebound.

Our brand is all about the people who create software. The same goes for operations, communication, recruiting and culture. And – of course, for our clients.

Peoplebound

Inbound and Outbound as marketing strategies are more easily identifiable because both approaches entail well-known digital tools. The Peoplebound approach, however, is more about a specific attitude, a demeanor when using said digital tools that entails soft skills. And not just thorough knowledge of platforms, databases, analytics, and even offline marketing.

Peoplebound is about caring about others, and properly conveying it in a non-invasive manner. It’s about focusing on what matters to the client. It’s easy to get “sucked” into what will generate higher conversion rates and increased traffic, but in the end, what you really want is true, long-term engagement as someone who can be trusted.

Your ideal client is someone who “gets it” and understands your drivers, your culture, your mission and philosophy. Who values more than the cheapest vendor and places value on great solutions and excellent service and common-ground affinity.

Reach the Right People at the Right Moment

Peoplebound is about connecting with the right people at the right moment, and absolutely delighting them with relevant, meaningful, and helpful content.

The real question isn’t “How can we compel, seduce, or trick our clients into engaging with us?” Instead, it’s, “How loyal are we to our customers? Do we truly care about them?” Not just as targets, consumers, or fans. But as people. Human beings.”

Peoplebound is about educating. It’s not about brainwashing with irrelevant, interruptive messages, nor is it just about “going viral” without truly connecting. A Peoplebound strategy is about providing value, not just pushing out information across email, social, and beyond.

Are you constantly sharing links to your articles or are you forging relationships and conversations?

When discussing a marketing strategy—don’t forget the human aspect. Clever ideas, clickable headlines, and trendy topics aren’t going to get you long-lasting, loyal clients who want to come along for the ride.

At Nearsoft, Peoplebound is about what truly matters. We’re bound to you.

For some examples of how Nearsoft creates Peoplebound content check out DojoLive! And the #ILookLikeanEngineer initiative.

If you wish to know more about Nearsoft and what keeps us up at night, reach out to me at cponce@nearsoft.com.

 

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