Summer is right around the corner, and with COVID-19 restrictions easing across the globe, there is expected to be a huge increase in travel and tourism this year that will rival pre-pandemic levels.
This makes sense since much of the world had to put travel plans on hold for nearly 2 years, leading to pent-up demand propelled by the opening of borders and lifting of mask mandates.
In fact, economic modeling by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasted that U.S. travel and tourism could generate $2 trillion this year, over 6% more than in 2019.
The modeling also found that U.S. domestic travel and tourism spending is forecasted to reach more than $1.1 trillion for the year, higher than pre-pandemic levels by 11.3%, and international traveler spending in the U.S. could see growth of $113 billion, compared to 2020, reaching nearly $155 billion.
This recently published American Express Travel 2022 Global Travel Trends Report certainly supports the WTTC forecasts, finding that 74% of respondents plan to book travel in 2022, up from 56% last year. The report also found that 62% of respondents plan to take 2-4 trips in 2022, and 55% plan to book a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation this year.
With all this supporting evidence, I think it’s safe to say that travel and tourism are back, and bolstered by summer travel, it will be bigger than ever in 2022.
More travelers, higher expectations
After two years of upheaval and weak consumer confidence, the projected rebound is fantastic news for the travel and tourism industry, heralding recovery and growth for this important part of the world economy. But with increasing demand comes higher consumer expectations.
Travelers want to book effortlessly, get reservation status, instantly make updates, and enjoy premium services at their dream destination. And after so much time not traveling, many customers’ loyalty program rewards have lapsed or expired, which will drive them to start from scratch when choosing travel providers and options in 2022.
Travel and hospitality companies must exceed consumer expectations to stand out and thrive against fierce competition. They need to make the traveler feel comfortable, respected and valued to engender loyalty and repeat business. But the rebound will bring a spike of customers, more than ever in fact, all of whom expect an instantaneous personalized experience and have many alternative options to choose from.
How can a company stand out from the competition while keeping up with the demands of the modern traveler?
Choosing the right database can help.
A modern database is key
To meet the demand head-on, travel and hospitality companies can’t use just any old database to power their applications; that strategy will not succeed. They need a modern database that is:
- distributed so that it can scale across the globe
- fast so that it can serve travel application users instantly
- flexible so that it can foster continuous delivery and quick schema changes
- mobile-ready so that it can be used anywhere on any device
- developer-friendly so that development teams don’t have to learn new languages and paradigms
- multi-model with built-in features like search, analytics and eventing, removing the need to bolt on those capabilities from other technologies
Couchbase delivers all this and more. We have years of experience helping travel and hospitality companies serve travelers with a differentiated, fast, reliable and personalized experience. These companies include a range of services: airlines, hotels, ground transportation and travel aggregation sites.
Let’s examine just a few of our customers in the travel industry. As you can see, they rely on Couchbase to power critical applications that handle things like booking, inventory, pricing, loyalty stats and passenger engagement. These use cases all leverage Couchbase’s vast scale, lightning speed and ease of development and deployment.
Book travel with ease
Travel planning begins with making reservations, which can be complex even for the most straightforward trip. You have to find and compare flights at times and prices that suit you. You have to find an available rental car and book a room that can accommodate your preferences and budget. Now multiply this by an order of magnitude, millions of travelers booking complicated multi-leg itineraries, all of whom expect the fastest responsiveness. How does a travel booking site meet the demand? Amadeus turned to Couchbase.
Amadeus has provided software and solutions for the travel industry for over 30 years, helping connect over 1.6 billion people a year to local travel providers in over 190 countries. With so many bookings and such a vast daily workload comes the need for speed and reliability; slowness and service outages are not an option. Amadeus leverages Couchbase’s distributed architecture to deploy across all cloud data centers, ensuring speed, scale, high availability, resiliency, and a single source of truth to keep up with a growing volume of highly demanding travelers for bookings.
Their results are substantial: they process around 15 million operations per second, 99% of which take less than 2.5 milliseconds, providing the speed and responsiveness that customers expect. And Couchbase’s built-in replication across data centers offers high availability to ensure a reliable experience for users.
Couchbase enabled Amadeus to innovate more freely in critical areas such as merchandising and loyalty while providing essential services for travelers backed with the enterprise-class performance, scale and reliability that drives loyalty and repeat business. Learn more about the Amadeus use case here.
Depart safely and on time
Once travel is booked, it’s important to reach each part of your itinerary safely and on time; any misstep or delay could have massive repercussions on the rest of your trip. Your travel provider must take steps to minimize delays by speeding up processes like pre-flight checks without jeopardizing safety. How can an airline digitize operations to provide efficiency and better service? Emirates relies on Couchbase.
Emirates Airlines operates 270 aircraft and flies to 158 destinations in 85 countries and is widely acclaimed as a premier luxury airline experience. To streamline operations and minimize flight delays, Emirates set out to digitize their paper-based pre-flight check process, using tablets to make it easier and faster for pilots and crew to complete this vital part of every flight. But the tablets would lose internet during inspections on the tarmac, and Emirates knew pilots wouldn’t use the app unless it was 100% reliable.
By embedding Couchbase Mobile to the tablets, the app now works all the time, regardless of connectivity issues. The data is automatically synchronized to all the other flight crew tablets so that everyone has the same information at once. And finally, the data is synced to the cloud as connectivity is available so that it’s available to ground crews at the next airport.
Emirates relies on Couchbase for the speed and reliability that helps them maintain one of the industry’s best on-time and safety records. Watch Emirates Airlines talk about this use case at Connect.
Enjoy a personalized experience on-board
For many travelers, an ocean cruise is the dream vacation destination, where a luxurious experience is both an expectation and a promise by the cruise lines. But with more passengers on every voyage, how does a cruise liner ensure everyone enjoys personalized service? Carnival Corporation looked to Couchbase.
Carnival is the World’s Leading Experience Enterprise with a fleet of more than 100 ships, serving over 740 worldwide destinations through nine leading cruise brands. They consider themselves an on-site entertainment operator. Carnival can provide superior personalized experiences to passengers via the OceanMedallion program on its Princess Cruise liners, essentially a wearable IoT device that is paired to a mobile application and is tracked by fixed-location sensors throughout the vessels. These devices act as access keys to attractions, touchless payment facilitators, location-based crowd-capacity-balancing, and child safety monitors.
They also capture and match behavior-based user preferences such as, “this passenger likes French Toast and prefers to sit in a dining room booth vs. an outdoor table,” informing what the passenger is offered each morning.
Couchbase powers the OceanMedallion system with the real-time information processing required for providing premium services for all passengers. This sort of personal attention is how Carnival grows its base of loyal customers, and they rely on Couchbase to facilitate it. To learn more about the Carnival use case, read this great article in Diginomica.
Take advantage of effortless auto rental
Many dream destinations offer fantastic restaurants, attractions and points of interest, meaning travelers will want a car to get around while they are there. How does a rental car company accommodate high volumes of customer requests and meet their needs with the immediacy they expect? Avis Budget Group went with Couchbase.
Avis Budget Group is one of the world’s largest car rental companies operating in 180 countries with over 11,000 locations, managing an inventory of over 600,000 vehicles. To keep pace with rapid customer growth and stay ahead of its competition, Avis needed to transform its legacy mainframe platform behind Rate Shop, the company’s primary revenue-generating product. This business-critical application was re-architected to be cloud-ready and provide the flexibility to adjust pricing and offers in real-time to drive optimal demand and customer satisfaction.
Avis selected Couchbase to replace the legacy platform for its scale, high performance, and global availability, which helped them achieve a 50% reduction in application costs, 99.99% uptime, and a 20% faster time to market. Learn more about the Avis Budget Group use case here.
Enjoy exemplary accommodations
No travel itinerary is complete without hotel accommodations. A room is typically needed at each destination and often en route. On some trips, a hotel stay may even be unexpected, such as when a storm forces cancellations at airports. In all these cases, travelers expect a warm, inviting experience where they feel welcome and get instant service from the time of reservations straight through to check out. How can hotels provide the premium service that their guests demand?
Marriott chose Couchbase. Marriott set out to provide personalized guest experiences, improve online reliability, and release new apps faster to maintain its competitive edge and grow its customer base. But to do so meant replacing its aging legacy infrastructure, which could no longer keep up with the increasing demands of growing volumes of customers. The company processes over 38 million reservations annually, and its mainframe-based system simply couldn’t scale sufficiently to handle the workload.
They decided to move their reservations and inventory systems off the legacy mainframe and onto Couchbase. Marriott’s solutions architects were impressed by Couchbase’s built-in cache, ease and flexibility for moving and adding cluster nodes, and easy disaster recovery. The hotel giant can now process 4,000 transactions per second on over 30 million documents.
By adopting Couchbase, Marriott has made its move to a cloud-based model that allows it to quickly deploy applications, speed up its systems, and delight its customers with personalized service. Learn more about the Marriott use case here.
Travel dreams powered by Couchbase
This summer is expected to be one of the biggest ever for travel and hospitality, and Couchbase is helping these and other companies stand out from the competition, keep up with demand and provide the premium experience that travelers expect and deserve.
So, where will your travel plans take you?
Get started with Couchbase today by taking advantage of the free trial for Couchbase Capella, our Database-as-a-Service: https://cloud.couchbase.com/sign-up