How Technology is Revolutionising the Travel Industry

AI boxcube asia elly ken elizabeth ken

The travel industry is undergoing a revolutionary transformation thanks to advancements in technology. Travel technology, encompassing various technologies such as information technology (IT) and e-commerce, is reshaping the way businesses in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors operate. By leveraging innovative solutions, travel technology enhances the overall travel experience for customers while optimising operations for businesses.

The implementation of travel technology brings forth numerous benefits for businesses. It enhances operational efficiency, leading to cost savings and improved profitability. Additionally, travel technology empowers companies to meet the evolving expectations of their customers, who increasingly demand seamless online experiences. By embracing technology, businesses can streamline processes, unlock new marketing opportunities, and collect and analyse valuable data for better decision-making. A study by Statista reveals that approximately 55% of respondents worldwide are excited about technology’s potential to personalise their travel experiences. Notably, Thailand stands out with 80% of respondents believing in this potential.

Digitalisation has definitely influenced the way we travel significantly. Tamara Lohan, co-founder and chief technology officer at boutique hotels website Mr & Mrs Smith, emphasises that technology has given us an abundance of choices. More people are traveling than ever before, and platforms like Airbnb encourage younger individuals to explore cost-effectively and at an earlier stage. Furthermore, technology provides us with unprecedented access to information about our travel destinations.

Mobile technology has also had a profound impact on the tourism industry. Recent data reveals that the percentage of tourists making reservations before arrival has risen from 27% two years ago to nearly 40% today. According to a Google Travel study, a staggering 74% of travellers plan their trips using the internet, while only 13% rely on traditional travel agencies for assistance. Additionally, TripAdvisor reports that 45% of users rely solely on their smartphones for all aspects of their vacations.

With that being said, let us take a look at five prominent technology trends shaping the travel and tourism industry in 2023!

Voice-enabled technology

Explore the benefits of voice control in travel, improving device management and enhancing the overall travel experience.

In this digital age, “we’ve become a generation of DIY travellers who plan, manage and book travel online“. Imagine being able to book your next vacation or hotel room with a simple voice command. That’s the power of voice-enabled technology in the travel and tourism industry. As the use of smartphones, smart speakers, and AI assistants continues to grow, more and more travellers are turning to voice search to find and book their next adventure. By optimising websites for voice search, travel businesses can stay ahead of the curve and capture a larger share of this emerging market. But it doesn’t stop there. Voice control is also transforming the travel experience itself by allowing travellers to use voice-activated devices to control room amenities or access tourist information without staff assistance. This level of convenience and seamlessness is sure to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. So why not join the voice revolution and take your travel business to the next level?

Going Cashless

The availability of contactless payments started as a convenience, but it has emerged as a key part of tourism marketing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In today’s world, contactless payment is more important than ever in the travel and tourism industry. With the Covid-19 pandemic still looming, travellers are increasingly seeking ways to minimise physical contact and stay safe. That’s where contactless payment technology comes in. By enabling customers to pay using mobile devices or other contactless methods, businesses can provide a safer, more streamlined experience that also reduces transaction times. But that’s not all. Contactless payment data can offer businesses valuable insights into consumer behaviour and preferences, which can be used to optimise marketing and sales strategies. By embracing this technology, travel businesses can stay ahead of the curve and provide a more secure and efficient experience for their customers.

Virtual Reality (VR)

A London City Guided Tour – 360 VR Video

In their enlightening article, WAM perfectly captures the essence of Virtual Reality (VR) by stating that it allows us to “teleport ourselves to the most remote corners of the globe without getting off the couch”. Thanks to VR, travel businesses can transport customers to different destinations virtually, providing them with a unique and immersive experience. Through virtual tours of hotels, attractions, and destinations, travellers can gain a better understanding of what to expect and make more informed choices. This technology enables customers to explore and engage with their surroundings in a way that was never before possible.

As the travel industry continues to evolve, companies like Thomas Cook have recognised the importance of embracing technology to meet customer expectations. Thomas Cook’s group head of digital operations, Graham Cook, emphasises the need to serve customers seamlessly across various channels, whether online or offline. Hence, in line with their omni channel strategy, Thomas Cook has introduced virtual reality experiences in select stores, adapting to the rise of travel technology to stay competitive in the industry.

Cyber risk management

The travel and tourism industry relies heavily on digital technology to facilitate operations and enhance customer interactions. This has made cybersecurity measures more crucial than ever before. As technology continues to evolve, so do the methods of cybercriminals seeking to steal sensitive customer information, including payment details and personal identification. Cyber attacks can have devastating consequences, not only compromising customer data but also damaging the reputation of the business. The interconnected nature of the travel industry makes it particularly vulnerable to such threats, with multiple stakeholders involved in a single transaction. Implementing robust security measures such as data encryption, regular software updates, and employee training is essential to prevent cyber attacks. By prioritising cybersecurity, travel businesses can ensure the safety of their customer data, maintain business continuity, and build a trusted brand reputation.

Biometric Technology

Smart technology smarter airports

Biometric technology is revolutionising the travel and tourism industry. With facial recognition and other biometric tools, travel businesses can provide a seamless check-in experience for their customers. No more long queues or frustrating delays – just swift and efficient processing. The benefits don’t stop there, as recognition technology can also help to enhance security by quickly identifying potential threats and improving the accuracy of passenger identification. Additionally, travel businesses can use recognition technology to create personalised experiences for their customers, from tailored marketing messages to customised travel itineraries. And with the added benefits of reducing fraud and ensuring compliance with regulations, it’s no wonder that recognition technology is becoming a must-have for any travel business looking to stay ahead of the curve.

In conclusion, technology has become a crucial part of the travel and tourism industry, offering numerous benefits to both businesses and customers. Voice-enabled technology, contactless payment, virtual reality, cybersecurity measures, and biometric technology have all played important roles in improving operational efficiency, enhancing the customer experience, and increasing security. By embracing these technologies, travel businesses can stay on par or even ahead of business competitors, offering innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of modern travellers. As the industry continues to face challenges such as the ongoing pandemic and changing consumer preferences, leveraging technology will be key to driving growth and ensuring long-term success.

Done by: Rejina Khar, Mark Ong & Elly Ken
Source: Revifine, Expedia, Strange Thoughts, VR Gorilla, SITA, The Guardian, Aeo Logic, Statista, TripAdvisor