3 Trends That Will Shape The Travel Industry in 2018

Each new year brings with it unique and innovative technology that changes our ecosystem and day-to-day experiences. The Travel Industry is no stranger, nor is it an exception to this phenomenon and has evolved in leaps and bounds, moving from a time when booking a ticket meant a cumbersome affair to now having global travel content at fingertips.  

Every year, the Travel Industry witnesses certain key trends that set the pace within the industry, facilitating an improved travel experience. As we step into the New Year, let’s explore some technology trends that we foresee to impact the industry.  

  1. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence  

Robots were once seen as nothing more than a figment of the imagination. However, robotics and artificial intelligence have now become a focal trend in the travel industry. Simply put, artificial intelligence is utilizing computers to carry out human tasks. There have been tremendous advancements that have been made in the field, with computers now having the ability to learn and adapt to various situations, making customer interactions a reality.  

However, the question remains – how will robotics and artificial intelligence change the travel scenario? Let’s look at how they are being utilized in the travel industry, to give us an idea of their scope to revolutionize the travel landscape. 

In 2013, Geneva airport launched its first trial of customer support robots, in order to assist passengers to reach their departure gates on time. In 2016, they introduced “Leo”, the robotic product of a collaboration with SITA and Bluebotics, that greets travellers as they enter the airport, scans boarding passes, prints baggage tags, and transports bags ( below 70 lbs) to their respective baggage handling area. The use of these robots greatly reduces the congestion that one experiences in check-in queues, leading to a more seamless travel experience.  

As the Travel Industry morphs and expands, so does the amount of data. However, data by itself is insignificant and what counts is what is done with the data. This is where Artificial Intelligence plays a pivotal role in storing and harvesting data to provide a heightened customer experience. Artificial Intelligence is also evolving alongside the Travel Industry. This is evident in the use of chatbots which are able to mimic human behaviour and make judgements on how to respond to queries.  There is no doubt that Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will play a significant role in the revolution of the Travel Industry, and the scope of their use seems limitless. Companies like Hilton are already experimenting with artificial intelligence, where robots will be able to respond to human speech, provide direction and tourist information.  

  1. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality 

Virtual Reality is a trend that has grown in the past few years and will continue to grow in the years to come owing to the excitement that it ignites in the minds of consumers. Virtual Reality is the ability to view an environment as though you were physically present in that space. The Travel Industry has already tapped into this resource, with research being carried out to harness this revolutionary technology.   

How does the Travel Industry use VR and AR to change the travel landscape? Some travel companies are already using VR to give their customers a glimpse of their potential travel experience such as famous sight-seeing locations and its surroundings. This enables them to have an experience of what they are signing up for beforehand and make an informed decision. The Hotel Industry has also been using VR to provide a 360-degree view of the rooms they offer, rather than just a simple description of the room. 

Augmented Reality is closely related to Virtual Reality, but differs in concept. AR uses digital devices to alter a person’s experience of his environment. For instance, the viral game, Pokémon Go allows users to view and catch Pokémon while in their natural environment.  The Travel Industry has already made headways using AR with information being presented in a more interactive and appealing manner. Hotels are providing wall maps, which when viewed through a smartphone app gives users information on local restaurants and attractions, providing directions on how to get there. AR shows potential to enhance the travel landscape.  

  1. QTrace 

Dubbed as the next big thing in the Travel Industry, QTrace is the latest in the list of travel technology trends. QTrace is a Bluetooth Item Tracker that helps people track their valuables, working as a preventive measure from losing travel articles. The possibilities of QTrace in the Travel Industry are bountiful – right from helping recover stolen or lost articles while in a foreign land, to locating misplaced passports. This results in a better travel experience.  

With these advances in technology as well as the research that is currently being carried out, 2018 already seems like an exciting year.  

Technology knows no limits to its growth; it continues to evolve and revolutionize. With regards to the Travel Industry, technology has been enhancing travel experiences, and will continue to add immense value to the total travel experience. The future in the Travel Industry may seem uncertain, but the technological possibilities do not fail to excite.  

What technological trends according to you are the next big thing in the Travel Industry landscape? Let us know in the comments below.