Today’s travel is becoming phenomenally more demanding than it used to be. There is a higher expectation for speed, authenticity, personalisation, seamlessness and security. Innovative technology has reshaped the way we work, live and behave, and will continue to change the way we travel. Here are a few trends we’re looking forward to in 2019:
What it is: AR technology superimposes a computer-generated composite image on a user’s view of the real world. Typically, augmented reality is experienced through a smartphone, tablet, or similar device.
What it can do for you: Augmented reality apps allow you to enhance physical locations and tourist attractions. All you need to do is point your smartphone at a building or landmark, and you’ll learn more about it, in real-time.
What it is: Virtual reality typically involves the use of a headset, which immerses you in a digital world through the use of images, sounds and other physical sensations.
What it can do for you: You can have a virtual travel experience, whether you take a virtual tour of your hotel before you arrive, or experience a local tourist attraction or activity.
Internet of Things (IoT)
What it is: The Internet of Things (IoT) involves internet-based inter-connectivity between everyday devices, allowing them to both send and receive data. These devices can be controlled or monitored remotely and can perform actions automatically.
What it can do for you: IoT technology can be used in your hotel room. Using a device that connects to everything from the lights, to the heaters and air conditioning, allowing you to control them from one convenient place. Additionally, using an electronic key card which the hotel has sent to your smartphone, you’re automatically checked in without ever having to stop at the front desk.
What it is: Recognition technology includes fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, retina scanning and various other biometric identifiers.
What it can do for you: Some of the ways the travel industry can make use of facial recognition technology is to improve personalisation, thereby allowing service providers to tailor their offerings to each traveller. Furthermore, such technology is already being used in some hotels to allow access to rooms via fingerprints or to allow for semi-contactless check-outs. In the future, there’s talk that this technology may enable customers to pay for meals in the hotel restaurant by merely walking through the exit.
What it is: Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to computers or machines performing tasks that would typically require human intelligence to carry out.
What it can do for you: For the travel industry, AI is already providing online assistance to customers through the use of chatbots. However, one of the more exciting emerging trends is for the technology to be used for face-to-face customer service interactions too. An example is the AI robot deployed by Hilton. ‘Connie’ uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition to provide tourist information to guests who speak to it. Each human interaction also helps to teach the robot, improving the quality of all future communications.
Voice Activated Technology
What it is: Voice control is a technology that allows devices to understand human speech and respond to simple voice commands appropriately.
What it can do for you: In the past, you would have had to rely on hotel information desks to provide you with information, such as the number for a taxi, or directions to a nearby attraction. Voice control technology means that travel and tourism information can be obtained merely by asking your smartphone a question, getting up-to-date information in real-time, based on location.
What it is: Blockchain is a list of public transactions between parties. Each record or ‘block’ is secured using cryptography. Data is decentralised and blocks – which contain transaction information and time stamps – are permanent.
What it can do for you: With so many entities passing information between one another, from travel agents to airlines, hotels and more, blockchain can make accessing and storing this information easier, more reliable and more secure (which is essential when dealing with overseas payments).
Want to know more about how we use technology to ensure seamless business travel and assist in a greener travel experience? Contact Thompsons Travel today and let’s talk about leveraging the right travel management technology for your business in 2019.