Evolution of the travel tech industry: Navigating the future 

The travel industry has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years, one of the most significant shifts in the industry is the rise of online booking platforms. From traditional travel agencies to user-friendly websites and mobile apps, travellers have unprecedented access to a vast array of options at their fingertips, which revolutionized the way people find accommodations, book flights, and plan entire itineraries; divulging into the travel tech industry.


Today, the travel tech industry is ever more the forefront of innovation with a paradigm shift now extended to more advanced tools such as AI trip planners and virtual queuing systems, adding layers of personalisation and efficiency to the travel planning process. Much of this evolution can be attributed to the rapid advancements in travel technology. This article explores the exciting developments that have propelled the travel tech industry to new heights and examines the trends shaping its future.


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have become indispensable tools in the travel tech landscape. These technologies power chatbots, virtual assistants, and personalized recommendations, enhancing customer service and providing tailored experiences. Airlines and hotels use AI to optimize pricing strategies, while predictive analytics helps anticipate customer preferences, streamlining the booking process. The introduction of AI trip planners further adds an intelligent touch to crafting personalized travel itineraries based on individual preferences and historical data.


A virtual queuing system in travel is a technology solution that allows travellers to join queues or waitlists for various services or attractions virtually, using their smartphones or other devices. Instead of physically standing in line, users can reserve their spot remotely and receive notifications or updates on their status. This system enhances the overall travel experience by reducing physical queues, improving crowd management, and allowing travellers to make better use of their time at destinations.



Augmented and Virtual Reality:

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are transforming the way travellers research and experience destinations. AR applications provide interactive travel guides, and VR allows users to virtually explore hotels, attractions, and even entire cities before making a booking. This immersive technology enhances the pre-travel experience, enabling travellers to make more informed decisions. The integration of AR and VR into travel apps not only provides visual previews but also enhances engagement and decision-making for users.


Contactless Travel and Health Considerations:

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless technologies in the travel industry. From contactless check-ins at hotels to touchless payment options and mobile boarding passes, the focus on hygiene and safety has driven the implementation of seamless, technology-driven solutions. The travel tech industry continues to invest in contactless innovations to meet evolving travellers’ expectations. Virtual queuing systems for instance, have become crucial tools in managing crowd flow and maintaining social distancing, addressing health considerations and enhancing the overall travel experience.


Blockchain and Smart Contracts:

Blockchain technology is gaining traction in the travel industry for its ability to enhance security and streamline processes. Smart contracts, powered by blockchain, can automate and enforce agreements between various stakeholders in the travel ecosystem, such as airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. The integration of blockchain not only reduces the risk of fraud but also facilitates faster and more transparent transactions, ensuring integrity of transactions and enhances trust within the travel ecosystem.


Seamless Payments and Transactions:

The integration of secure payment gateways and digital wallets has streamlined financial transactions for travellers, making the entire process—from booking flights and accommodations to in-app purchases for activities and dining reservations—seamless and secure. This ease of online payment not only enhances the overall travel experience but also aligns with the broader trend of digital transformation, contributing to the industry’s adaptability and efficiency. For example, more than 10 million Alipay merchants in mainland China have embraced the Touch’N’Go e-Wallet. Initiating a QR payment in China is just as straightforward as conducting a QR payment transaction in Malaysia.


Sustainable Travel Tech:

As environmental consciousness grows, the travel tech industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability. From eco-friendly booking options to carbon footprint calculators, technology is playing a crucial role in promoting responsible and sustainable travel practices. Apps and platforms that highlight sustainable accommodations, transportation, and activities are becoming more popular among environmentally conscious travellers. AI-powered recommendations can further assist travelers in making environmentally friendly choices during their journeys.


Internet of Things (IoT) in Travel:

The Internet of Things (IoT) has found its way into the travel industry, enhancing the overall travel experience. Smart luggage with GPS tracking, connected hotel rooms, and wearable devices that provide real-time travel information are just a few examples of how IoT is shaping the future of travel tech. These innovations contribute to a more seamless and personalized journey for travellers.


The travel tech industry continues to evolve, driven by a relentless pursuit of convenience, personalisation, and sustainability. From the advent of online booking platforms to the integration of emerging technologies like AI, VR, and blockchain, the landscape is constantly changing.


Latest findings from Future Market Insights indicate a promising trajectory for the Malaysia tourism market, forecasting a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.6% from 2023 to 2033. This projection reflects a significant opportunity for growth within our tourism sector. Over the past few decades, Malaysia’s tourism industry has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a substantial contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


As we look ahead to the future, this continued growth of the tourism industry is anticipated to be a driving force for Malaysia’s economic development and the travel tech industry will likely see even more ground-breaking innovations, further transforming the ways of exploring the world. Travelers can further expect increasingly tailored and immersive hassle-free experiences, underpinned by the continued convergence of technology and travel.


Authored by: Eli Ken, CEO of Boxcube Malaysia