Transforming the travel experience with technology

The latest technologies are making travel experiences richer, more personal, and more convenient.
13 September 2018 | 13 Shares

From AI to VR, technology is helping to deliver a better experience to travelers. Source: Shutterstock

People are traveling more than ever before. According to a report by the World Tourism Organization, it is estimated that by 2030 a global population of 8.5 billion people will take approximately 2 billion international trips.

Technology can be thanked for making travel more accessible for both business and pleasure. From railways and steamships to commercial flights, the travel industry has long benefited from technological advances.

Travel companies large and small are harnessing the latest technologies to enhance their services and transform the way travelers experience the world.

There are now apps for pretty much everything. Want to book a room from the other side of the world? No problem. Want to grab a cab in an unfamiliar city? Sure! Need to translate a Japanese menu into English just by taking a picture? No sweat.

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and virtual reality are rapidly making inroads into the travel industry in order to deliver customers with a better experience. Here’s how:

Blockchain

Blockchain can allow the exchanging of information to be more secure, reliable and accessible. Source: Shutterstock

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re likely to have heard of blockchain. The decentralized and transparent nature of this technology has created quite the buzz, with IDC predicting that spending in blockchain will be close to US$10 billion by 2021.

While commonly associated with the financial industry, blockchain also has the potential to benefit travel by offering a more secure, cost-effective and frictionless system.

The travel industry relies heavily on different companies passing information between one another. For instance, travel agents pass customer details to flight companies and hotels.

Blockchain can streamline this process making accessing and storing this important information easier and more reliable. This is because it’s the responsibility of the whole network to ensure this information is accurate and up to date.

Blockchain technology also has the capability to simplify and secure payment in the travel industry, enabling seamless payments across borders, can be used to track luggage, assist in customer loyalty schemes, and more!

Artificial intelligence

Voice-activated assistants are helping hotels to deliver a better experience to customers. Source: Shutterstock

From voice assistants to maps, artificial intelligence (AI) is truly being embraced by the travel industry, and it’s here to stay.

With the rise of the internet, there is now an abundance of data available on all of our travel habits. And this is allowing AI algorithms, customization and chatbots to spread like wildfire.

With insights gained from AI, travel companies have the opportunity to make personalized recommendations to individuals based on their previous behavior, vastly increasing sales.

The introduction of voice-activated assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa are also transforming the delivery of service hotels can provide guests. Alexa is being used by many hotel chains, including Marriot hotels.

Through the smart speakers, guests can ask about hotel information, order room service, and even control in-room settings such as lighting and temperature.

Virtual Reality

VR allows travelers to get a feel for a holiday destination. Source: Shutterstock

While most commonly associated with gaming and entertainment, we should expect to see more virtual reality (VR) experiences integrated into the travel industry in coming years.

This emerging technology is proving to be especially valuable for travel agencies. Many companies are allowing customers to use VR headsets to experience a travel location when making a decision.

Using Samsung’s Gear VR headset, Thomas Cook introduced the “Try before you fly” VR experience in ten of its stores, allowing travelers to get a feel for destinations like Singapore, New York, and Greece.

As a result, the travel company saw major benefits in relation to sales. Most notably, the group saw a 180 percent uptick in conversions from its visualization of New York City.

It’s truly an exciting time for the travel industry. Technology and connectivity are allowing more people to experience new places more than ever before.

And with the help of emerging technologies, travel companies are empowered to deliver innovative and much more personalized travel experiences to today’s customers.