Last updated on July 13, 2023.
Technology is changing every aspect of our lives and the travel industry is no exception. But how is tech changing the future of travel-related businesses in particular? Maybe we don’t realize it, but most of the things we do when traveling involve technology—from booking flights on our smartphones to having AI-assisted experiences.
The bottom line is, the advancement of technology offers endless possibilities to travel companies.
However, technology has also posed new challenges to the travel industry. With the rate that everything is going, today’s customers require instant responses to their requests. Businesses that aren’t prepared to meet the demand by using the right tech tools will likely see a drop in customer satisfaction levels and subsequently, at risk of losing money.
Regardless, technology has transformed and will continue to alter the way travel businesses work. In this article, we’ll highlight the changes that are brought about by the latest in tech.
The Rise of AI in Travel Planning
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, are set to revolutionize travel planning. The convenience and 24/7 accessibility offered by AI are key factors driving this trend.
In fact, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Travel Survey, a staggering 97.8% of travel executives believe that AI will have a significant impact on the travel industry in the next five years.
Transforming the Travel Industry with Generative AI
The rise of generative AI has the potential to disrupt the digitalized travel bookings industry. Travel brands like Expedia, Kayak, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, Klook, and Trip.com are already integrating ChatGPT into their platforms, providing personalized recommendations, virtual travel assistance, and itinerary planning.
Generative AI is in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize the entire trip planning and booking process.
Real-time data availability through plug-ins, such as Microsoft Bing, is seen as a game-changer in the adoption of AI.
However, concerns about consumer privacy, misinformation, bias, and inequality must be addressed.
More Affordable Booking
These days, customers are spoilt with affordable choices of flights, accommodations, and car rentals. All it takes is a couple of clicks on the internet to browse through the extensive options available.
The accessibility that technology provides has forced companies to offer good prices in order to remain competitive.
Let’s say a customer wants to book a flight. In the past, their only option would be to accept the price offered by an airline company or pick the lowest fare out of all the airlines available to them.
Now, there are a variety of travel metasearch engines and online travel agencies that can show you where to book the same flight for a lower price.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things could be one of the most powerful tools that travel companies can utilize to offer a hyper-personalized experience for customers. In fact, Spain’s Hotel Technology Institute (Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero, or ITH), said IoT-driven experiences will be a major factor that leads the industry’s transformation. “It is going to be the major transformative factor in the personalization of the customer experience over the next few years,” it reportedly said.
Most car rental companies are thinking about syncing up their applications with vehicles so users can control the settings of a car from their own mobile. Some hotel companies are also introducing this trend by allowing customers to change the thermostat and control the lights from their mobile apps. These are only a few of the great things that IoT is offering to the travel industry.
Blockchain is here to create a decentralized payment experience, reduce fees, and push for more transparent operation. Blockchain is something that every company, no matter the industry, could benefit from.
The technology will eliminate the tasks of validating information and confirming transactions, thus saving businesses money and time. It also works with a shared version of the records—once someone makes changes to them, the other person immediately gets to see the updates on the records.
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
When we first came up with Augmented Reality (AR) and machine vision systems, we didn’t really imagine the technology being utilized in the travel industry. However, more and more travel companies are using these tools to provide a different kind of traveling experience to their customers, which include offering a glimpse into a dream destination without having to leave the city.
On top of that, the BBC Research & Development team recently made an interesting report on a new project dubbed the 5G Smart. Using AR and VR, the program aims to show how the Roman Baths in Bath looked like in its glory days. In the same report, we can see that 80% of participants would more likely visit a museum with this type of experience.
Virtual assistants are becoming part of our daily lives, we’ve gotten used to using them as if they were part of the family. And just like any other member of the family, we travel with them.
Devices like Alexa could be very helpful when you need to book a flight, find locations, or look up prices. It’s just as simple as saying, “Alexa, can you find the nearest Starbucks location?”. Now travel companies have seen the opportunity in this to be closer and more accessible by users. That’s why most of them have synced their mobile apps to be compatible with Virtual Assistants’ system.
Related read: Best college majors for people who want to travel
Smartphones and the internet are probably our best travel mates. They can provide information on the best restaurants, best hotels, best places to visit, and on most occasions, allow us to make reservations with just a tap on the screen. According to TripAdvisor, 45% of travelers use their mobile apps and phones to do everything related to trips, from booking to exploring the best routes in the city.
That’s why it has become almost imperative for companies to offer mobile apps. Some companies even created reward-oriented apps to increase brand engagement while traveling. This has spurred the growth of another branch of tech, which is mobile development.
Related read: Best jobs to work remotely
The Internet is a significant aspect of our travel experience. As previously discussed, we use our smartphones for almost everything related to our journey – including keeping awesome memories from our travels. So, having a good internet connection is very important to ensure we make the best out of our travel.
Now, 5G internet is here to revolutionize the way we use technology. Companies that have access to this kind of network are more capable of creating better VR-driven experiences because the internet connection is much more reliable and fast.
Conclusion: How Tech Is Changing The Future Of Travel Related Businesses
Technology will continue to revolutionize every aspect of our lives and this is evident in the products and services we use today. Like any other sector, travel companies can significantly improve the experiences they offer by leveraging on tech tools and updating their employees’ work skills and abilities.