2015 predictions and what happened next

Early last year, Mariam Sharp penned a three-part series of predictions but what did she get right?

So here we look at the first five predictions of January 2015 and then at what, in fact, transpired. 

1. Big data predictive technology will become commonplace

2015 was the year that predictive analytics really came to the fore, as analysis tools become more commonplace and easier to use. For a fuller exploration of the workings of predictive data you can also see EyeforTravel’s White Paper Bringing Predictive Analytics to the Hotel Industry, which released last October. 

It quoted IBM’s Global CEO Study, which found that travel and transportation CEOs rank ‘information explosion’ among the top reasons to transform their organisations. Indeed, 51% of CEOs say they will implement new technologies in the next three years.

Quoting Shannon Adelman, Market Development Advisor, Travel & Transportation Industry of IBM, there are three ways the travel industry can drive value through analytics:

Customer analytics and loyalty marketing: Using big data and analytics to create a seamless journey from A to B

Capacity and pricing optimisation: Being able to analyse data in near real time allows for more dynamic and smarter pricing options, optimised capacity planning and effective yield management

Predictive maintenance analytics: Particularly important to airlines and cruise ships, being able to capture and analyse more complete operational data means companies can schedule maintenance and maintain their assets more effectively

2. Segmentation in 2015 will be the key to delivering personal and relevant products 

Well did you segment? Did you? In reality segmentation turned into personalisation in 2015, but if you haven’t got the basics right, then it is time to sort it out. Here are some tips from Accor on how to get the right degree of personalisation in a digital world.


3. Internet of Things – it’s no longer a ‘thing’ of the future

If Canadian execs are the measure, then cloud computing has come a long way in 2015. At the end of 2014, according to research from Microsoft, few Canadian decisions makers were familiar about the term, but today 52% are working towards harnessing the power of the cloud.

However, when it comes to the Internet of Things, 72% of Canadian executives found it to be confusing, and even more surprisingly, 53% were completely unaware of it. However, it might be time to get rid of that executive confusion. 

Here is why. In 2015: 

* 73 million connected wearables shipped  

* 198% the increase in the number of wearables that shipped in Q4 compared to the previous year

* 1.4 bn the number of smart phones shipped (81% using an Android platform, 16% Apple.

Source: IDC, Berg Insight

4. Security issues will remain centre stage  

Hacks galore could be one way of describing 2015, with major security breaches affecting large banks, schools, governmental and commercial organisations to name just a few. Large travel organisations were affected too. 

IT content provider, CRN, reported last November that Starwood had discovered malware on its point-of-sale systems at some restaurants, gift shops and other retail locations in 54 of its hotels. Although the breach compromised payment card information, contact information, social security numbers and pin numbers appear to have been safe. 

This didn’t stop the Marriott acquisition but the timing wasn’t great - it was also in the run up to Thanksgiving. No doubt costly steps were taken that included: hiring third-party forensics, alerting customers whose cards were impacted, offers of identity protection and credit card monitoring services 

Starwood wasn’t the only one. In a different incident reported last September by cyber-security expert Brian Krebs, Hilton Hotels was investigating a possible breach that occurred at gift shops, restaurants, bars, and other stores located on Hilton owned properties across the US. 

According to Krebs, Visa sent confidential alerts to several financial institutions warning of a security breach at various retail locations between April 21 and July 27. As per Visa's policy, the notifications did not name the breached retail location but sources at five different banks determined that the hacks all had one thing in common: they occurred at Hilton property point-of-sale registers.

Hilton took the matter seriously and advised customers, who may have made purchases during this time, to carefully scan bank records for any unusual activity and to contact their bank immediately.

Useful tips, following a breach at the Apple Store in 2015 can be found in this EyeforTravel article: The trouble with security and travel apps.

5. Big players to redraw the travel landscape

In a recent blog regular EyeforTravel speaker Frederic Gonzalo said of 2015: 

“The past year has been a pivotal one in the OTA ecosystem, with Expedia going on a shopping frenzy and pretty much buying its way to the top of the food chain. With the acquisition of Travelocity, and then Orbitz, and then HomeAway… Expedia is now the largest OTA in the world, ahead of Priceline (with its popular brand Booking.com). It seems we are more than ever dealing with a de facto duopoly in the OTA landscape.” 

The prediction of the rise of Amazon, Apple and Facebook in the travel space, didn’t really materialise. Airbnb too was glossed over a bit and that was a key shift in 2015: how the so-called ‘sharing economy’ players are redrawing the travel distribution landscape. In 2016, however, with pressure growing on Airbnb from the likes of the British Hospitality Association, which argues that 40% of all home-exchange website listings are ‘professional landlords’ running unregulated ‘pseudo-hotels’,the term ‘sharing’ may soon be a thing of the past.

Oh, and yes, the number of travel tweeters increased but in 2015 Instagram had more monthly active users - over 400 million versus Twitter’s 307 million.

Watch out for the next two articles looking back at the next ten predictions of early 2015, and what happened next

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