Emerging Tourism Technology Trends You Should Know About
There have been so many different advancements in technology and new tourism technology trends, that have all impacted the way we travel. Ultimately all these new developments result in a more exciting, engaging and interactive experience. Want to know what the future has in store for us? Well give that magic 8 ball a shake, hopefully the out look is good.
I don’t think there is any dispute over the importance of technology’s role in the tourism industry. It strongly influences and continues to shape the manner in which we all travel. Whether it’s the destination where we are going or the different activities we’ll do once we get there and even afterwards, once we are back form exploring. According to Google, 74% of people plan their trips through the internet. With only 13% holding steady and still using travel agents. This alone gives you a good feel for the impact of technology on the travel industry.
I mean let’s face it, I’ve gone to cities before for the sole reason that Ryanair were giving me a €48 return. If you just feel like going anywhere, its never been easier to hop online and see what deals the budget airlines have to offer. See what is the cheapest and most interesting and it’s time to start getting those bags packed. For 3 months’ time, if like me you’re booking discount Ryannair flights. It’s rather funny how taken for granted this is these days.
In this piece I’ll be really looking into this with regards to mobile devices. As let’s face it, mobile has taken over. I often used to say I wouldn’t buy on mobile, I would browse and buy later on a computer. But with the advancements in mobile design and the simplification of ecommerce on mobile even I have noticed a shift in my online consumption habits.
Tourism Technology Trends
Tourism specialist and travel industry expert Xavier Cubeles pointed out at a conference in Barcelona how the travel industry is in the midst of a very big transformation. The internet and the advancements and spread of mobile has completely disrupted the way that the majority of people plan, book and ultimately experience their trips. This has had a huge impact on the way destinations must promote themselves going forward.
Mobile Technology Advancements
This is unquestionably the latest leading role in the evolution of travel. The mobile has ultimately become the travel agency, the tour guide, the restaurant critic, our navigator, the list goes on and on. It never leaves our side these days and a holiday is no exception. Everyone is leading with a mobile first design for bookings, reservations and absolutely everything else. TripAdvisor reckon 45% of people use their mobiles for everything to do with their trips.
This is essentially why all travel related businesses need to tweak their methods of communication to prioritise these mobile devices. KLM for instance already uses Facebook Messenger as an passenger information system. The way it works is once a person makes their reservation, it send the person all their information about their ticket through the messenger. It even sends their boarding pass and flight updates too. This just makes the whole travel process, something that is known to be highly stressful so much easier for about 90% of travellers. It puts all the necessary information in one place, literally right in the palm of your hand. There is no need to download anything or get new apps. It’s all just there.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) have really made their debut over the last few years in the travel world. The truth is that when the technology first launched it was more gimmicky and really wasn’t providing much value to the user. These days more and more companies are using it to promote their offerings, to allow users to virtually try out the experience in an attempt to sway them over the edge into a booking. Others are using it to simplify the whol travel experience like Gatwick airport AR which directed you to your gate etc with overlaid arrows to point you in the right direction. Having ran full pace through Barcelona airport once only to end up at the wrong gate trying to board a flight to Portugal I for one can see the value of this AR application.
Thanks to these new technologies we can literally transport ourselves virtually to the remotest of areas of the world without ever leaving our own living room. Ever wondered what it would be like to climb Everest and not have to queue to get to the summit. Not any more with the EVEREST VR app, that lets you climb to the top of the world without ever even standing up. Wow!
Internet of Things (IoT)
There is huge talk around the internet of things. Whenever I hear this, I can’t help but think of that Simpsons Treehouse of Horror where all the signs come alive and start attacking Springfield. Why does automation always have to go so Skynet? Anyway, it’s going to be big and not just because you can text your toaster and tell it to order you some pat the baker. It’s going to bring advancements to the tourist industry too. It’s all around integrating sensors into things like cars and suitcases and building and connecting them to the internet so we can get more data than is humanly possible to process. But hey it definitely allows for a potentially more personalised customer experience, even if that comes with a hint of robot uprising. Apparently some Virgin hotels provide an app that allows their guests to control elements of the room from their mobile device. You don’t even have to get up to change the temperature or to look for the remote . To be fair there is a suitcase with a built in tracker so that your device will track your bag at all times. Being stranded in hungry with no bag for 4 days I can safely say I want one.
We all have heard of Alexa and Siri at this stage. Unless you have literally been under that rock for so long that you have begun the carbonification process. If that’s you well they do just about everything these days, just get an Alexa and you’ll never be alone again. Well now hotels are starting to introduce virtual assistants into their environments. IBM launched their more sophisticated AI assistant Watson. Where he differs is that he create a much more personalised customer experience. These will be open source eventually for hotels to white label and make their own. And in theory teach them things that other AI assistants may not know. Particular policies or ways to interact with guests. It’s really rather limitless.
There is just always so much talk about big data, but lets face it right now it’s just too big. We need proper AI systems to be able to deal with it effectively. As such we are yet to see many of the opportunities it offers being showcased for the travel industry. Despite this there are a few guys using it already. The Melia hotel chain does this to some extent. They use information on their different guests to work out the best target for marketing purposes. By looking at their database and the amount spent, the reason for travel, country of origin and then cross checking this with public data what you are left with is the best group of customers that you are likely to have the highest success rate with. Better segmentation ultimately increases the efficacy and increases the ROI.
Anyone who knows me will know how much I love blockchain and not just because I got in crazy early on XRP. Its because this technology is going to change the world as we know it. The market will take back control from the banks, and we will no longer be tied to inadequate and incumbent services from which we have no alternative. Whilst this is mainly for the world of finance its surely going to impact on travel too. Although there have been no good examples yet, through single identifiers and smart contracts I can see how it could be used to track passengers or luggage more technically.
Well there you have it. Some of the new technology advancements to hit the travel industry. If you are looking at ways that you can implement some of these new technologies into your travel business strategy, then give us a call and let’s see how we can help bring your business into the forefront of this new space.