December 23, 2020
Reimagining the Traveling Experience with Technology
Technology is a core component of the tourism and travel industry. From assisting organizations with everyday tasks to allowing travelers to book a room in just a few minutes, we just can’t imagine the modern travel experience without it. This is why all players in the traveling sector, including hotels, airlines, cafes, restaurants, and even individual accommodation providers, have to keep up and adapt to new trends.
However, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, international air traveling has dropped dramatically. And, so have other aspects of travel. Even though domestic traveling has seen some activity, people still aren’t feeling safe to go on longer trips that last longer than a weekend.
It somehow comes naturally that we seek to recover the sector with technology. Most company owners in the traveling industry took this pandemic as an opportunity, and they changed almost all operations using different technological methods. As customer expectations are also changing, they have to seek new ways to adapt to the “new normal.”
Here is how technology will transform the traveling experience during the following period:
This is an exciting trend suggested by Booking in a recent article where they predict the trends of the future of travel. According to the article, the increased use of technology is set to adapt to the new types of travelers. This claim is confirmed by data which discovered that “64% of travelers agree that technology will be important in controlling health risks when traveling.” In comparison, “63% say that accommodations will need to use the latest technologies to make travelers feel safe.”
What is more, the article also states that 53% would want to be able to make last-minute restaurant bookings through tech, while 21% would prefer more self-service machines over ticket desks.
This means that companies in the traveling sector will have to leverage technology to create more self-service options for customers. They expect to be able to check-in individually or get the restaurant menu by scanning a QR code, minimizing physical contact. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t communicate with the visitor. You should stay available-digitally.
Voice search & control
In terms of technological developments in the travel industry, smartphones, smart speakers, and AI assistants have all contributed to improving the relevance of voice search. A rising number of travelers have been using voice search to book various travel services, such as tickets, rooms, etc.
What is more, voice control is also gaining more popularity among travelers. The ability to control lighting and heating over voice provides a more convenient traveling experience, reducing physical contact with staff.
Another essential type of travel technology is the ability to perform contactless payments. This would make it much faster for travel agencies to accept payments, even in cases when consumers don’t have cash or cards available. Since it can be performed in a few seconds, it will also improve the service.
Although this started as a trend, in times of a pandemic, it’s becoming a necessity. As travelers are afraid of virus transmission, many of them hesitate to use cash. Contactless payments can attract these travelers and protect your staff at the same time.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
No, we aren’t talking about robots. AI can be used in countless other ways as well. One of the most common uses of this technology in the travel sector is in customer service. Namely, AI-based chatbots replace the need for employees who have to be 24/7 available to travelers. Chatbots leverage intelligent algorithms to give customers the answers they are looking for immediately.
Usually, these chatbots are used to provide answers to the questions that customers most commonly ask. However, as technology becomes more sophisticated, chatbots become smarter and can perform more actions. In this situation, they can be especially valuable through providing information about, for example, safety protocols in the hotel.
Furthermore, organizations that operate in the travel industry also use AI to analyze data and draw conclusions. This helps them identify trends and make strategic decisions that ultimately result in improved customer experience.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, virtual reality is regarded as the central component of the tourism industry in 2021. During this pandemic, the reliance on online platforms based on VR has grown tremendously. They give travelers the opportunity to visit faraway destinations from the safety of their own homes, which can be incredibly convenient in a situation like this.
Travelers can visit everything, from hotels and restaurants to museums, national parks, and entire cities. As they can experience the tours from a simple web browser, users can now have a safer alternative to physical traveling.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality works the same way as virtual reality. However, it leverages the physical surrounding of the individual rather than eliminating it. One of the key benefits of this specific technology trend is that it is more affordable than VR. Consumers only need a smartphone or a tablet to experience it. The use of AR has been rapidly growing during the past few years, as travelers like to “check” the room or the city before actually visiting it.
The future of travel
A recent Natural Geographic article suggests that the future of traveling will involve sustainability, inclusivity, smaller communities, quality over quantity, and more travel advisors. All these trends indicate that companies will have to provide more personalized experiences tailored to travelers’ needs who will be more careful when it comes to safety. Technology is the key to providing a tailor-made traveling experience that prioritizes safety and minimized physical contact. That’s why investing in new technologies is a strategic decision that will bring long-term benefits. Want to transform your travelers’ experience? Contact us.