It is without a doubt that now, with the global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic being a thing of the past, the travel industry is experiencing a highly dynamic phase. Professionals even coined a specific term for it – ‘revenge travel’. It describes the newfound drive for tourism that is seen worldwide, fueled by the desire of countless people to travel longer and a lot more frequently compared to pre-pandemic times.
Technology and sophisticated travel software are one of the main driving forces of this process. They are actively revolutionizing traditional industry practices by replacing them with cutting-edge solutions – all to satisfy the unprecedented demand for travel services. The key players who can harness the potential of travel tech trends and offer practical solutions to meet changing customer expectations will emerge victorious. Therefore, knowing and applying the latest travel tech developments seems even more crucial than ever before.
So, let us look at what innovative travel technology trends are poised to shake up the industry in 2023.
AI technology is by far the most promising tech area for the travel industry and the global economy in general. As for travel, it is already implemented in numerous ways.
One of its most prominent applications in travel is customer service. AI-powered chatbots can provide swift responses to client issues and inquiries. Unlike regular support employees, AI assistants can answer customer queries 24/7, regardless of staff availability. This capability is essential in meeting modern customer demands. Although currently applied AI chatbots are still functioning best when answering common questions with more or less standardized answers, the situation changes quickly. Advances in AI enable the latest chatbot versions to steadily upgrade and learn as they gain experience from ongoing interactions. Thus, the range of needs they can service keeps expanding.
Yet customer service and support is not the only area where AI can show its benefits to the fullest. Tourism companies and hotels use artificial intelligence to analyze data, draw business performance reports and conclusions, and measure customer satisfaction trends. AI solutions can now even intelligently handle inventory within your travel booking system. According to a recent study published by the World Travel & Tourism Council, extensive use of AI and Machine Learning might lead to a $1 trillion increase in the world economy volume just from the travel industry by 2025.
Big data is essential for modern tourism management, and most successful companies have their methods of collecting data. They use the information to make their offerings more personalized by adjusting them according to the information they gather from customers.
Data can also help to evaluate how well the business is doing. For example, hotel owners can use big data to manage their revenue by looking at historical figures on how many rooms were booked and other past patterns to forecast the level of demand. When they know how much demand there will be, they can also better plan their pricing and marketing strategies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the popularity of contactless technology in the travel industry. It is capable of improving safety and making the travel experience more convenient by avoiding long queues or physical keys. Therefore, contactless technology is expected to be a significant trend in the travel industry.
For instance, JetBlue Airways, a US-based airline, introduced a pilot program at Boston Logan International Airport that enabled travelers to board their flights by scanning their faces instead of a physical boarding pass. This implementation uses biometric matching to confirm that the traveler’s face matches the passport photo and removes the need for travelers to touch any boarding pass or kiosk.
Contactless payments are another vital type of this technology in travel. Initially emerged as a matter of convenience, such transactions became a prominent element of travel marketing due to the pandemic. They enable travel companies to handle payments much faster, even when customers lack cash or credit or debit cards. They also improve the customer experience by saving large amounts of time.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR technology is a powerful tool for the tourism industry, as it allows potential travelers to explore distant places from their own homes. It is also a powerful marketing instrument letting customers get a taste of what they can expect if they book a trip.
With VR tours, customers can see virtual representations of hotels, restaurants, landmarks, national parks or even specific activities. They can interact with the environment and feel more immersed in the destination. This can give you an edge over competitors not using this kind of technology yet. VR tours or 360 tours are easy to access on most web browsers and can help convince those hesitant to travel to see the benefits more clearly.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Unlike virtual reality, AR enhances a person’s real environment instead of replacing it with artificial surroundings. One of the key advantages of this technological trend is that it’s cheaper than VR implementations, with users only requiring a smartphone or a tablet device with access to the Internet.
Using creative graphical overlays, travel companies can significantly improve the customer experience by providing useful information or even pure entertainment. For example, AR apps can enhance images through numerous filters and effects. It is also possible to display information on local destinations when customers point their smartphones at them, providing information when it is most relevant. Furthermore, AR is a great helper for guided tours, making them more vivid and informative. Here’s a great example of a guided VR tour of ancient Pompeii in Italy.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) – a stack of technologies connecting everyday devices and letting them communicate with one another via the Internet – is getting increasingly more visibility in travel. This technology has multiple applications.
For example, IoT technology can create smart hotel rooms, where customers control everything from the lights to the heating and cooling with one device. In airports, luggage cases can have sensors that will notify passengers when they are nearby. These are just a few examples. More applications are definitely to come shortly.
As portrayed by the exciting innovations above, technology significantly improves how people travel and enjoy destinations. It also redefines how travel companies do business with smarter ways to teach staff, optimize travel software development, and improve marketing efforts.
Both tourists and travel companies are becoming more and more dependent on technology. Thus, keeping up with the latest innovations gives lots of capabilities to satisfy the demands of future travelers and push your business to new heights. The future of travel tech is full of opportunities, and it’s exciting to see what it will offer to the industry in the coming years.