The Great Getaway begins with digital experience now a crucial part of any vacation

May 31 2022

Why full-stack observability is crucial for brands to deliver the seamless digital experiences that vacationers now demand

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, and borders reopen across the world, millions of people are gearing up for a vacation. For many, this will be their first trip in more than two years, and levels of excitement are understandably high.

But much has changed since 2019, when many last took a vacation. For one thing, consumers have become far more reliant on applications and digital services across all areas of their lives. As a result, their expectations of digital services have become far higher.

At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research amongst global consumers to understand how holidaymakers and vacationers plan to use digital services this year and just how reliant they’ll be on applications as they look to enjoy a memorable vacation after a tough couple of years.

On average, vacationers will use 27 different digital services and applications to plan, book and travel on their next vacation. There isn’t a single part of the travel experience that won’t be assisted, enabled or improved by an application, from planning and researching destinations before the trip to managing bookings, tickets and COVID vaccination status while away to ordering a holiday wardrobe and keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

Vacationers are putting their faith in applications like never before. More than half (55%) of people 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 an incredible 82% will use applications to prove their COVID status or vaccination status.

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

Poorly performing applications can ruin a holiday

Consumers have become increasingly reliant on digital services and applications during the pandemic. They’ve also become more demanding in how they expect these applications to perform and far less tolerant when things go wrong.

This new study finds that the impact of poorly performing applications is felt particularly strongly when it comes to vacations. 71% of people claim that if a travel application they were using (such as an airline, train company or hotel booking app) were to fail, it would disrupt their vacation, with 42% stating that it could potentially ruin their whole trip. And almost as many people feel the same way about apps for travel documentation and payments — if they don’t perform as they should, it could completely spoil a vacation.

And the consequences of applications failing are felt across the whole family — 57% of people state that apps and digital services are essential to keep children entertained on vacation and if they fail, it could trigger a full-scale meltdown!

Vacationers point to a wide range of issues that can constitute a bad digital experience when using applications to plan, book and travel on vacation. These include problems with payments, poor connectivity, applications and devices crashing, unresponsive pages, sign-in difficulties and data privacy issues.

Whatever the problem, people simply won’t put up with poorly performing applications. In fact, 39% state that if they experience a problem with an application when planning, booking or traveling on vacation, they’ll immediately switch to an alternative.

Alarmingly for brands, only 9% of travelers 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 getting any complaints, it could be that customers are walking away, possibly forever, without them even knowing.

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

These findings should serve as a timely reminder to brands that the heat is on to provide vacation planners with seamless digital experiences this year. With people worldwide eager for a well-earned break, they’re in no mood to forgive or forget any disruption to their holidays caused by poorly performing technology.

In response, application providers need to manage and optimize IT performance across an ever more complex and fragmented IT environment. This means ensuring their technologists have access to a single, unified view of IT performance and availability across the entire IT estate — they need full-stack observability.

More than this, however, application owners need to connect IT performance data with real-time business metrics so that technologists can pinpoint the issues that matter and prioritize their actions in the right areas to deliver brilliant digital experiences and drive business outcomes.

After an extremely challenging period for many organizations within the travel and hospitality sector, the next few months present a fantastic opportunity to bounce back, re-engaging old customers and winning over a new generation of travelers. With so much pent-up demand for travel, there is a sense of excitement about what the coming months will bring — indeed, our research found that 81% of people worldwide are looking forward to taking a vacation this year.

But to take advantage of this opportunity, brands need to recognize that the 2022 travelers will be hugely reliant on digital services and won’t stand for any slip-ups in performance.

Application owners must be ready to deliver seamless digital experiences at all times — get this right, and they can build trust and loyalty with customers, drive revenue and make sure we all have a fun and well-deserved vacation!

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