The world of travel has changed dramatically in recent years: ever-increasing digital services have made it easier for users to access travels’ organisation, removing the need to go through a travel agent. The arrival of COVID has made it even more urgent to reposition the role of tour operators and travel agencies, rethinking the whole experience of organised travel.
In this context, we conducted a qualitative study to understand what people do to plan their travels: how they choose their destinations, how they search for things to do, how they book accomodations and experiences. We also looked at travel experts and operators, and what they could offer to support the organization of a trip in all its part, considering how their role has evolved over time and how they use digital channels to interact with their customers. During the research, we understood for example that the choice of destination is the result of an intimate, non-linear path that starts from random hints or inspirational images, that could be stored in our memory or in a personal bucket list. In this scenario the role of the travel experts is to help realise that specific dream (rather than suggesting where to go or driving the choice of a destination). They could play a significant role (through analog or digital services) in planning what to do once arrived at destination, acting as a local insider, able to make that experience unique, memorable and safe.
The results of the research helped Alidays better understand the different types of travellers (their needs, expectations and tools), and question the way digital services could be used to strenghten the relationship with existing customers while exploring new opportunities to engage with less conventional travellers. The project enlightened several possible scenarios, shifting from the current product focus (design and offer travel packages) to new ones focused on services (such as provide planning tools, local insider assistance or ongoing safety support).