The Rise of the Silent Traveler: Reaching Out to the Mobile-First Travel Consumer

by James O'Brien + Skift Team - Jul 2014

Skift Research Take

The silent traveler turns to their mobile devices, instead of in-person interaction, for highly personalized responses to in-trip challenges. In this report, we examine the changes that these customers are creating across industry verticals — and we look at the important opportunities they now present to travel brands that can adapt to their dynamic and evolving expectations.

Report Overview

The implications of an increasingly independent, mobile-equipped consumer are far-reaching for every vertical in the travel industry. Even as airlines, hotels, and in-destination attractions and offerings continue to rely upon meaningful interactions with their customer, a significant segment of travelers are turning first, in new and powerful ways, to their devices to solve trip-related challenges that have historically been resolved by in-person experiences.

From booking to getting there, to what the consumer does in-destination, this silent traveler, as we have termed the model of their behavior and choices, is typically both young and possessed of significant spending power in the marketplace. And while their move to mobile as a first choice in solving travel problems is driving a range of changes for brands, these consumers are simultaneously creating new emphases on more complex and highly personalized experiences at the times when they do turn to on-site staff.

Emerging from this mix of pulling away and drawing close, for the silent traveler and travel brands, are new models and approaches for both customer relations and local discovery. As brands and third-party developers seek to capture the attention of the self reliant, digitally savvy traveler on mobile screens — bringing about a spectrum of opportunities in the realm of apps, ad tech, and hybrid approaches — the conversation is turning to how the very devices that stand to take some tasks away from the human-to-human experience can perhaps ultimately more intimately connect the travel industry to its customers throughout every trip.