The 3 Emerging Technology Trends Shaping the Travel Industry this year
The travel industry has witnessed significant transformations due to advancements in technology. Technology has revolutionized the way people travel, offering safety, convenience, and reduced touchpoints. Today, we’re seeing an increased appetite for travel amongst all types of consumers. To cater to these travelers’ needs, businesses are leaning into various travel technology trends for this year.
Artificial Intelligence (AI):
Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing the travel industry. It’s doing this by enhancing the overall customer experience and providing personalized recommendations. AI algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to understand travelers’ preferences. This allows businesses to offer tailored suggestions for accommodations, dining options, and activities. For example, platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb leverage AI to provide users with personalized recommendations. These are based on their past bookings, interests, and of course, location preferences. Then, there are chatbots that simulate human conversation and provide real-time responses through phone and text interactions. They play a crucial role in alleviating congestion in contact centers and offer 24/7 customer support. Chatbots are commonly found on social media and company websites. They’re used in guiding users or addressing frequently asked questions. AirAsia, an airline, utilizes a chatbot named AVA on its website and Facebook page. AVA assists travelers with tasks like flight booking, seat selection, bill payment, and password resets. However, in cases where AVA can’t provide the necessary information, customers can be seamlessly transferred to a live agent for further assistance.
Smartphones have become a fundamental part of people’s lives. They serve as communication devices, maps, planners, restaurant locators, and personal travel guides. Recognizing the significance of mobile technology, businesses have incorporated mobile apps and features into their offerings in various ways. Airlines like Southwest Airlines provide mobile apps that allow travelers to book flights, access boarding passes, check flight statuses, and manage rewards accounts. Hilton goes a step further by offering digital room keys through their app, eliminating the need for physical keys. JetBlue’s mobile app includes an in-app chat feature. This allows users to communicate with employees for quick assistance. This feature helps enhance customer engagement, particularly when faced with long lines at the airport. Next, virtual queues allow travelers to join a line without physically waiting for extended periods. This eliminates the inconvenience of standing in long queues. The use of contactless payment methods has increased in the tourism field. It was driven by the need for hygienic transactions during the pandemic. Contactless payments involve holding a card or a device, such as a smartwatch or smartphone, next to a card reader. This method relies on RFID technology for secure communication.
Internet of Things (IoT), AR, and VR
The Internet of Things refers to a network of interconnected devices that can exchange data without human intervention. In the travel industry, IoT implementation can streamline processes and enhance the customer experience by reducing touchpoints. The Las Vegas Aria Resort has embraced IoT tech in its hotel rooms. Guests get to control various aspects of their room, such as temperature, curtains, and lighting, using a tablet. Additionally, they can synchronize wake-up calls with lights turning on and the opening of curtains, creating a personalized experience. AR and VR technologies have gained prominence in the travel industry. They allow travelers to experience destinations virtually and make informed decisions. AR applications provide real-time information about historical sites, landmarks, and local attractions when viewed through a smartphone or AR-enabled device. VR experiences allow users to virtually explore resorts, hotels, and destinations before making a booking decision. This provides consumers with a sense of presence and helps them visualize their travel experience.