Some people may believe that it was the Covid-19 pandemic that pushed the travel industry into relying on technology. While there is some truth in that statement, the reality is that technology was slowly, yet steadily bringing about a change in the way people travelled. For instance, long before the pandemic, people were checking in via self-check-in counters, drinking beers served by robot bartenders, and selecting seats online via travel apps.
The pandemic was just a push needed to plummet the travel industry into new frontiers, all dominated by technology! The future of the travel industry after Covid-19 hasn’t really changed that much. However, with new technologies taking shape every day now, you can expect a hurl in the entire business of travel. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most recent technologies that are going to change the future of the travel industry.
Does Technology have a Future in the Travel Industry?
Before we discuss the technologies that might play a huge role in travel, let’s see if technology will even have a future in the travel industry. In a recent study, over 55% of people worldwide looked forward to technology as a means to personalise travel – that’s great news!
This means travel and technology are just two peas in a pod. People already use online search engines to search and book flights, hotels, activities, and tours. It won’t be too far-fetched to say that technology won’t remain limited to computer screens, it’ll have a vast impact on travel, far more than ever envisioned before.
Here’s how Technology is Shaping the Future of Travel
Now that we’re aware that technology has been impacting the way people travel, it’s time to look at different technologies and their usage in shaping the future of travel. For years, technology has been used to make travel possible.
From cars to trains to planes – all of this has been possible only because of evolving technology. Now, it’s time for technology to venture into the customer space. How will it shape the way we travel? How will it impact our plans? How will it make our life and travel more convenient? Let’s find out!
A Connected Experience with IoT
IoT, short for the Internet of Things, is quite a powerful tool that several online travel agencies are using to their benefit. This is because it helps in transforming and personalising the experience of customers much more than before. For instance, these days technology allows you to control your entire home directly from your smartphone.
Now, hotels, car rental companies, and tour operators are all using IoT such that customers are able to run all apps in their hotel room via their own phone, check all the details of their car and change settings via an app, and do much more. With IoT, customers can expect a connected experience that gives them more control over their surroundings and less reliance on customer care executives.
Less Time Wasted with AI Chatbots
If we’re talking about customer service, how can we forget AI chatbots? Envisioned just a few years ago, AI chatbots are now part of most online applications, including those for shopping, travel, food, and lifestyle. The reason why the transition was so smooth and quick for people around the world was simple – it saved time and was more helpful in solving issues.
AI chatbots were designed to understand customer queries, provide instant options and solutions, and reduce the load on customer service executives. By answering simple questions like – How to book a package? What are my travel dates? Where can I find my booking voucher? – AI chatbots were able to provide answers to customers quickly and managed to sort people who actually needed to speak with an executive.
Social Distancing as a Norm
Now that social distancing is not just something we talk about, but also practice, sel- check-in counters are much more needed. While these kiosks were often present in several airports, they now serve a unique purpose – they allow you to practice social distancing even in heavy-traffic areas like airports, bus stands, and train stations.
The Presence of Robotic Arms
While robotics hasn’t become mainstream in the domain of travel, it is slowly and steadily becoming a part of everyday business. To reduce human errors and to automate and speed up processes, several hotel chains have started using robots. It won’t be long before you start finding robot concierges, robot chefs, and robot bartenders in the hotel, food, and travel industries.
AR and VR No Longer Just Talked About
When AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) became household terms, no one gave much thought to their application in the travel industry. It was all about gaming and conferencing. However, after Covid-19, it all changed. Now, more and more travel businesses are using these high-end technologies to provide travellers a glimpse into their prospective holiday plans.
In fact, as per a recent study, several people around the world showed an interest in buying a virtual experience, such as a virtual tour in the Metaverse, a virtual stay in a hotel or a virtual flight with first-class, business seats.
While VR and AR won’t replace travelling to a location, they will give travellers a chance to explore another place, a new museum, or a cafe, even if they can’t make it to the site. With AR and VR, the future of the travel industry will change – and it will change for the better.
Luggage that Follows You Around
Technology isn’t just limited to big picture things like AR, robots, IoT, etc. It’s much more – technology has forever been designed to make the life of humans easier and more convenient. This remains true for technology that is all set to change the face of future travel.
To give you an example, think of smart luggage. A BlueTooth-enabled trolly bag with GPS and WiFi, a bag that lets you charge your phone, and has automated wheels so it can follow you around. Luggage technology is clearly being upgraded to support the needs of today’s travellers.
In no time you will be able to buy luggage for every need – want to go camping? Get a bag that lets you filter water. Want to travel for business? Get a bag that lets you charge your laptop and follows you around.
Bye Bye Wallets, Bye Bye Passports
While this may still be a far-fetched dream, Blockchain has the potential of changing the future of travel forever! It is its distributed ledger technology which enables secure and transparent transactions that can transform the way we travel today.
If all goes well, the technology behind cryptocurrency could be used to create virtual wallets that will allow people to pay for services without actually paying humongous transaction or conversion charges. Moreover, the same tech can be used to issue digital passports that are accepted the world over. It may take time, but the possibility of a paperless world is quite likely.
A Trip to Remember, A Trip to Space
It seems like it was only a few years ago that commercial planes started flying people from one continent to another. Now, travelling to space is a real possibility! Companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Orbital Assembly Corporation, Blue Origin, and Space Perspective are just some of the companies working towards space tourism. In fact, Virgin Galactic has already been sending people on space adventures.
Considering the possibilities, the future of travel is already here! Emerging technology is making these possibilities come to life. Spaceflight service companies have not just been working towards commercialising space travel, but they have also been working towards making the trip more carbon-neutral and sustainable.
Space travel is the new frontier in how technology is shaping the future of travel. It’s not just about sending people into orbit but about giving people a once-in-a-lifetime-moment, a quintessential voyage to space. If that’s not something to look forward to, we don’t know what is.
It’s the World of Tech
Technology is changing the face of the travel and tourism industry. Therefore, it is important for travel businesses and agents to adapt, or else they will be left behind. Travellers around the world are now looking for a more real, more personalised experience wherever they go. They also expect the support of technology in making that happen.
It won’t be soon before you have digital passports, virtual hotel tours, smart luggage, robot concierges, and a lot more! While companies currently don’t offer much in terms of travel tech, the future of travel is different. It will include all of the above-listed technologies, and much more.
So, if you’re unprepared, your travel business may not make it far. However, if you’re ready to embrace technology for all that it is, and all that it has to offer – you’ll be able to journey into the new era!
Pathfndr is an AI-optimised tour and travels platform. It used the latest tech to aggregate hotels, activities, and flights on your behalf. All you then need to do is share the listing with your customers and they’ll be able to book. If you’re a travel agent who wants to include technology in your travel business, check out Pathfndr!