More and more tourism industry professionals realize that the travel business is actually a technological business. Even the simplest trip generates large amounts of data. Gathering, indexing and understanding that information and how we apply that understanding to improve upon the experience of each traveler is what will inspire true innovation and the future of travel.
In this sense, whether it is artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate and optimize tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences in digital form, or using new protocols, such as distributed ledger, that allow the traveler to go to the airport leaving his wallet and his identity document at home (on purpose), technology will transform travel experiences. The recent Saber Labs study discovered three most crucial concepts, that will shape the future of travel – automation, authenticity and blockchain.
Automation is certainly not a new concept. However, the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning offer the possibility for step-changes to the way we are served in our digital environment. Awareness and cognitive capacity for machines suggest multiple opportunities for the future of travel sector to completely redefine when and what to sell, how to staff and operate the businesses, and how to anticipate and meet the needs of the customers.
In an age plagued by suspicious and untrustworthy services and providers, authenticity and true experiences are more valuable than ever. At the same time, companies rely more and more on technology and digitalization to interact with their customers on a large scale. Now, is technology opposite to authenticity? Is every digital thing an enemy of reality? And how can we bring augmented and virtual reality closer to authenticity? One of the crucial set of technology that unravels these complex questions is data science and data analytics.
The cryptocurrency market has experienced volatile prices for quite some time, and this has been reported in the most attractive headlines, but it has only cast a shadow on the underlying value of blockchain technology; despite of this, separating the expectations and implications of cryptography from the real potential of the distributed ledger technology (which enables secure, “trustless” transactions) may be difficult. But Blockchain has great possibilities for the future of travel, and one of the most important ones is being able to go around the world without carrying a passport or a wallet.
Tomorrow’s travelers have expectations fueled by the ubiquitous access to information, smooth transactional experiences, and increasingly personalized offers. Travel and technology companies have a great opportunity to start thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s travelers and make the journey better for everyone.