Till recently, traveling was no less than a luxury, with international vacations being a rare treat and even trips within the country being limited to one or two a year. But today, with fewer barriers and falling costs, combined with the growth of disposable income, rise of the middle class and newer perspective of people towards travel have changed the face of the industry quite drastically. It doesn’t end here, though.
The future of travel belongs to the millennials as studies show that they are more tech-savvy, well connected, and are changing their attitude towards traveling. People today are looking for experiences, whether it is authentic local food, an adventure, or even and the opportunity to make a difference by volunteering at an NGO.
And the impact technology has on traveling can’t be questioned. From choosing the perfect romantic spot to exploring a classic restaurant, everything is inside your phone screen. A google travel study, stressing the tech influence says, 74% of travelers plan their trips using the Internet, while only 13% still take the help of the travel agencies.
Travel in Tech-world
But how technology exactly assist? Scroll down!
Augmented reality Technology:
Augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) has stepped into the travel world because of the unlimited possibilities they can offer. Too many companies utilize this to show users a cabin on a cruise or to simply take them on a tour of the Great Wall of China for a few seconds.
Owing to technology, it’s possible to “teleport” ourselves to the most remote corners of the globe without even taking a step off the couch.
Internet of things Development:
IoT has brought significant updates in the travel industry. It includes integrating sensors connected to the Internet inside items like cars, suitcases, buildings, and more.
Spain’s Hotel Technology Institute (Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero, or ITH) affirms that the IoT (Internet of Things) will play a major role in the personalization of customer experience over the next few years.”
Some Virgin Hotel properties offer an app that lets their clients interact with the room’s thermostat and monitor the television in the room. Also, some suitcases have devices that allow customers to use their cell phones for tracking their bags. This, in result, avoids theft or any other misfortune that might happen.
Virtual Assistants Development:
We all are quite familiar with Siri and Alexa, the virtual assistants that meet all our requirements. Be it predicting the weather in my city, turn the radio on, open my email, or something else.
Hotels have now started to enlist this “help” section. And the credit for the same goes to the arrival of virtual assistants specially-designed for this environment. IBM recently launched Watson Assistant, an AI-powered virtual assistant that creates an interactive and personalized experience for consumers.
This is the open technology that firms can employ and adapt to their needs. This way, the virtual assistant won’t be called Watson but, instead, have the name that the hotel chooses.
Big data Technology:
The concept of big data has been around for some time with regard to multiple industries. Within the global travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, it is primarily the large OTAs, metasearch players, and branded hotel chains that use data to bring out insights which in return, improves customer experience, using a mix of segmentation, personalization, and supply-side view.
Past search, booking, transactions, and the clickstreams create users’ profiles, which further helps in customer classification and creates a wholesome view of each user. This data gives a better perspective of the user’s intent on visiting the app or website. Consequently, it prepares a customized user interface, push notifications, and assists in converting surfers into buyers. At the same time, supply-side insights help in surfacing the right product/inventory, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
Blockchain is a technology developed for transforming the world as we know it. Though it’s basically connected with finance, it also has a significant impact on travel. While there has not been a lot of experimentation with it, but it is quite beneficial in recognizing passengers at the airport, ensuring transparency in tourists’ opinions, and secure payments.
Having discussed the impact technology has on the travel industry, let us quickly glance through a few real-life instances where technology has proven it’s worth.
1: Smart travel assistant
People seek comfort at every hour of the day, which has boosted the services rendered by Artificial Intelligence. The travel industry is not an exception. The programs that are used to interact on the user’s request are called chatbots. Many large companies avail these bots as instant messaging platforms for reaching out to their customers.
For instance, Hyatt, a global name in hospitality, has been availing these platforms to communicate with customers since 2009.
2: Flight and hotel rate estimator
Hotel rates and flight prices keep varying in accordance with the vendor and anticipation of a purchase. In this fast pacing world, nobody has time to track all these variations manually. This situation gave birth to smart tools that send timely alerts & notifications. An example of this invention is the Hopper tool. This forecasting tool analyzes billions of data to predict prices with 95% precision and up to one year in advance. Although Hopper is designed for flight booking, it can also be applied in other arenas of the travel industry.
3: Sentiment Analyzer
According to Amadeus, 90% of American travelers like to share their photos, opinions, and experiences on social media. A site called Tripadvisor has 390 million visitors, with around 435 million reviews. Every 60 seconds, around 280 traveling reviews are sent on Tripadvisor.
Sentiment analysis is done with an aim to explore the large pool of data collected. It helps in the segregation of real and emotional qualities.
4: Customized Offers
The importance of loyalty programs can never be overlooked. In 2016, members of loyalty programs of the leading hotel chains increased by 13.1% i.e., around 344 million. Obviously, this figure hasn’t stopped growing. This figure directly implies the significance of loyalty program members, which are also known as the most valued customers. These customers should not face abandonment at any stage, and this is duly taken care of by Machine Learning. These customers are given customized suggestions such as vehicle rental options, airline ticket purchasing, and more.
Travel and tourism are one of the largest business sectors in the world, and its rise is fuelled by the Internet, new industry model global economic growth. Undoubtedly technical advancements have shaped the way we find, purchase, and enjoy our vacations. But it has also invited too much trouble. Travelers these days, expect instant services and products while online travel agencies enjoy a near-monopolistic market. These forces shape the future of the travel world, and businesses that need to secure their share in this market need to make adaptions accordingly. In the end, technology can be their best friend and even help them rise with bright colors.