Since the beginning of 2014, the online and mobile sectors of the travel industry have seen rapid growth. This has been exemplified in mergers reported to be amounting to more than USD 4.65 billion. New research by leading business intelligence provider EyeforTravel Ltd., has found that the travel, transportation and hospitality industries are on the brink of a key shift which could see revenues for those savvy brands who recognise the opportunity create loyal, lucrative consumers take off – leaving travel brands without a clear strategy stuck on the tarmac. The lynchpin to success is viewed by EyeforTravel's Founder, Tim Gunstone, as to be having an effective strategy for mobile, data and partnerships. "With the right partnerships, thanks to mobile and big data almost every part of the industry can sell almost every part of the travel experience at any time." says EyeforTravel's MD, Tim Gunstone. Indeed, the intelligent use of data and formation of strategic partnerships is enabling brands to target the 'Connected Traveller' – a growing consumer segment who are highly connected to their smartphones and expect to seamlessly move between channels and devices to research, book and experience travel. In a recent survey by EyeforTravel, nearly 40% of travel executives said that they were going to invest in improved data management technologies in 2015. Such technologies will enable them to use data to know where the customer is, to manage consumer wants and needs and to shape their products and communications to better serve such needs and create a slick consumer user experience. It's an area of considerable investment for travel brands and it's no wonder - the companies that are doing well in the online travel industry right now are the ones who have invested in early in data and mobile. TripAdvisor, Skyscanner and Qunar for example, are all mobile and data savvy businesses and saw impressive revenue growth in the last year (32%, 42% and 106% respectively). "Mobile has opened up a whole host of opportunities to sell ancillary products to the customer on-trip" Gunstone continued. Revenue from ancillaries are worth USD30-35 billion for the airline industry (IdeaWorks) and according to EyeforTravel estimates, for the hotel industry the value of ancillaries is between USD80-130 billion (but most likely over USD100 billion). EyeforTravel research found that nearly a third of revenue management executives in hotels say that ancillary revenues make up 25% or more of their hotel's revenue. The potential is far greater though, as EyeforTravel research has shown that the ancillary revenue potential for most hotels is not yet being properly exploited. Indeed, the vast majority of properties admit to not measure their additional revenues. The tours and activities segment represents a lucrative ancillary revenue opportunity. Until recently tours and activities inventory was near impossible to integrate into online platforms let alone book via a mobile device. TripAdvisor's acquisition of Viator for approximately $200 million is just one of the examples of the growing value of this segment to savvy travel players. For airlines, as David Rutnam, who runs the New Distribution Regional Implementation project at IATA pointed out at a recent EyeforTravel event in London, it's all about data. Many airlines still don't know who the customer is until the last minute when they get information on the booking. Mobile enables airlines to engage directly with consumers and know who they are earlier on. With the barriers to being able to communicate, engage and sell to connected consumers throughout their journey now being lower, the race is on for travel brands to form partnerships that enable them to drive loyalty, engagement and revenues. With smartphone usage predicted to reach a third of the world's population by 2018 (up from a quarter in 2016 (eMarketer)), the connected traveller consumer segment is only expected to grow. EyeforTravel's upcoming Connected Traveller 2015 conference in London, 22-23 October will bring together leading C level executives from the brands currently investing in this area, including Ryanair, NH Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Heathrow, Gatwick, Deutsche Bahn,, Transport for London and many more. Tickets to attend the event are now on sale. Related Link: EyeForTravel The Connected Traveler