Thursday, May 23, 2024

Digital disruption is the new factor in vacations from hell

By Joe Byrne, Vice President of Technology Strategy and Executive CTO, Cisco AppDynamics

When you think about those unfortunate events that can ruin a happy, stress-free vacation, your mind immediately turns to lengthy travel delays or noisy, uncomfortable hotel rooms.

But as millions of people all over the world gear up for a well-deserved vacation after more than two years of living through the pandemic, travelers are anxious about a new kind of vacation nightmare – digital disruption – where an application or digital service doesn’t perform as it should.

A recent research report from Cisco AppDynamics that polled global consumers, including Canadians, to understand how they plan to use digital services during their vacations this year, found 42 per cent of Canadians are so dependent on digital services for every aspect of their vacation, that they now believe the failure of a travel application (such as an airline app or hotel app) could ruin their trip. 

It’s the same story with apps that provide vaccination status and make payments. Digital disruption is now registering alongside bad weather and travel chaos as the stuff of vacation nightmares.

Digital dependence soars among summer travelers 

While 76 per cent of Canadians are looking forward to taking a vacation, how they plan, book and travel will be very different this year. 

On average, Canadians will use 23 different digital services and applications for their vacation this year. They’ll use applications for every single part of their traveling experience – from planning where to go and what to do and then booking accommodations prior to the trip, to proving their COVID vaccination status, keeping an eye on the weather forecast and making payments. 

It’s safe to say applications will play a big part in vacations this summer. So much so that 64 per cent of Canadians state that apps and digital services are now central to the vacation experience.

Whether it’s airline tickets and boarding passes, making payments while abroad or showing proof of vaccination, people are putting all of their trust in applications and they’re no longer taking hard copies of documents, not even for back-up purposes. 

Nearly half (42 per cent) of Canadians say they won’t 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 80 per cent will rely solely on applications to prove their vaccination status.

Zero tolerance for digital disruption on vacation

While the majority of people are choosing to be entirely dependent on digital services, they are still anxious about the possibility that one of these applications might fail. They recognize the disruption that it could cause, right down to ruining their entire trip.

As travelers get ready for a much-needed break, they’re in no mood to forgive or forget bad digital experiences. A third of Canadians (33 per cent) state that if they experience a problem with an application when planning, booking or traveling on vacation, they will immediately switch to a competitor. 

Alarmingly for brands, only nine per cent of Canadians will actually contact the company behind a poorly performing application. So, while businesses (such as airlines, hotels, train companies or payment providers) might think their applications are performing well because they aren’t getting any complaints, it could be that customers are leaving without them even knowing.

Brands need full-stack observability to avoid a digital disruption nightmare

These findings are a clear warning to all businesses operating in this space that they cannot afford to deliver anything other than a great, seamless digital experience to Canadian travelers this year. The performance of their applications will make or break millions of vacations. It will also determine the extent businesses are able to take advantage of the huge pent-up demand for travel moving forward.

Application owners urgently need to ensure their technologists have access to the tools they need to optimize IT performance and availability at all times. This means ensuring they have full-stack observability – a single, unified view of IT performance and availability across the entire IT estate. This will enable technologists to identify and resolve performance issues up and down the IT stack before they impact customers.

Importantly, application owners need to connect this IT performance data with real-time business metrics so that technologists can quickly pinpoint the issues that are potentially most serious – those that could disrupt digital experiences and ruin vacations. With a business lens on full-stack observability, technologists can prioritize their actions in the right places and deliver flawless digital experiences to keep travelers and their families happy.

About the author

Joe Byrne is Vice President of Technology Strategy and Executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics, where his primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on observability strategy and helping with digital transformations. He also works closely with sales, marketing, product and engineering on product strategy. Prior to AppDynamics, Joe held technology leadership roles at Albertsons, EllieMae and Johnson & Johnson.


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Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne is Executive CTO Advisor at Cisco AppDynamics.