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Application owners must be ready for the first summer of digital-dependent vacations as the Great Getaway begins

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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James Harvey - Entrepreneur Tribune | Entrepreneur | Technology

By: James Harvey, the Executive CTO of EMEAR at AppDynamics.

All over the world, people are gearing up for a much needed vacation after two years living through the global pandemic. With borders opening up and travel becoming easier, millions of people are looking forward to their first break since before the pandemic.

At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research amongst global consumers which found that 81% of people worldwide are looking forward to taking a vacation this year. 

The study explored how people will use digital services and applications to plan, book and travel on their vacations, and the extent to which applications have become an essential part of any enjoyable vacation experience in 2022.

We found that, on average, travelers will use a staggering 27 different digital services and applications in relation to their next vacation. From planning and researching destinations before the trip and booking tickets and accommodation, through to managing their COVID vaccination status and checking the weather forecast, people will rely on applications for almost every aspect of their vacation.

For the first time ever, the majority of people will be relying almost exclusively on digital services and applications on their trips this year. 55% of holidaymakers say they don’t intend to carry any paper-based tickets on their next vacation and will rely entirely on airline and travel apps, digital wallets and email throughout their trip. And as many as 82% will use applications to prove their COVID status or vaccination status.

Overall, 74% of people now believe that applications and digital services are now central to the vacation experience.

Tourists worried about applications failing

While people see huge advantages in using applications to plan, book and travel on vacation (such as ease, speed and convenience), they are acutely aware of how they and their families could be impacted if these applications don’t work properly. 

71% of people state that if a travel application they were using (such as an airline, train company or hotel booking app) was to fail it would disrupt their vacation, with 42% claiming that it could potentially spoil their whole trip. And similar numbers of people feel the same way about apps for travel documentation and payments – if these digital services don’t perform as they should then it could completely ruin their vacation. 

For parents, there is also another worry. 57% of people state that apps and digital services are essential to keep children entertained whilst away and that if they fail it could trigger a full-scale meltdown!

The truth is that as people have become heavily reliant on digital services across almost every area of their lives during the pandemic, their expectations of these services have risen dramatically. Consumers now demand brilliant, faultless experiences every time they use an application and they have zero tolerance for any brand that falls below this standard. In fact, the latest AppDynamics App Attention Index revealed how most people will only give a brand one shot to impress them with their digital services – the moment they encounter a problem, they will walk away, in some cases never to return. 

It seems that when it comes to vacations, reactions to poorly performing applications will be particularly strong this year. After a grueling two years during which time many people have been unable to take a break, people simply aren’t in any mood to put up with problems with digital services. In fact, 39% state that if they experience a problem with an application when planning, booking or traveling on vacation, they will immediately switch to an alternative. 

Worryingly for the companies behind applications, only 9% of holidaymakers would actually contact the company behind a poorly performing digital service. So while brands might think that their application is functioning well because they aren’t receiving complaints, customers could be leaving in their droves without them even knowing there is a performance issue.

It doesn’t matter what the issue is – a problem with payments, poor connectivity, an application crashing or unresponsive pages – or what has caused it, almost 4 in 10 people will immediately go elsewhere the moment they don’t get the experience they want. 

Application owners need unified visibility into IT performance to keep travelers happy

The message for brands operating in this space is clear – they simply cannot afford any slip-ups when it comes to delivering seamless digital experiences to consumers this year. 

Critically, they need to ensure their technologists are equipped with the tools and insights they need to manage and optimize IT performance and availability across an ever more complex and fragmented IT environment. Technologists need to be able to generate a single, unified view of IT performance and availability, across the entire IT estate — what is known as full-stack observability – to ensure they’re able to identify and resolve any IT performance issues before they impact customers.

But even with this level of visibility across the IT estate, technologists can still struggle to cut through data noise and pinpoint those issues that could seriously damage user experience. Therefore, application owners also need to connect IT performance data with real-time business metrics, so that technologists can prioritize their actions according to customer and business needs. Brands need to move towards full-stack observability with a business lens to ensure they’re able to deliver seamless digital experiences at all times.

The next 12 months will present a massive opportunity for organizations within the travel and hospitality sector to bounce back strongly after an extremely punishing two years. Across the world, there is an appetite for travel and brands now have a chance to reconnect with old customers and build relationships with a new generation of consumers. 

But in order to maximize this opportunity, brands need to understand that the 2022 traveler is different to those that have come before – they’re digitally-dependent, they have high expectations and they’re completely unforgiving of poorly performing applications. Just like great weather and good service, seamless digital experiences are now a key ingredient of any successful vacation.