So far the impact of technological breakthrough has been so prevalent in our lives that we hardly bat an eyelid at the prospect of new possibilities. These same developments have made way into the traveling industry, shaping the way we travel and promising an even more exciting experience in the years to come. Especially for the world of business travel, this has proved to be extremely crucial.
More and more travel management companies have realized the benefit of becoming one with technology. So much so that we may be experiencing a significant paradigm shift in the way business travel is conducted. Not only has it helped maximize productivity but also enhanced communication, customer journey, speed of business, marketing and revenue. And TMCs that fail to adapt to this change will most definitely run the risk of falling behind their competitors.
Why Technology Matters
It goes without saying, but data is extremely valuable to corporate travel managers. Not having accurate and timely data in hand puts you at the risk of struggling with C-suite and procurement strategy development. Hence, to justify procurement decisions and make the right choices for your organization, you need to get your hands on the right data.
You must address these pain points to ensure the success of your travel brand. Our experts here at Deck 7 will not only help you identify and quantify the data you need but also save valuable time in the process by showcasing the value your program brings to the table.
So what are the top technology trends that will continue to have their impact on the travel industry? Read on to find out:-
One of the most obvious uses of AI in the travel industry is to enhance the customer journey. Tweet This!
Tools such as chatbots have the ability to respond to customer queries and resolve them in no time, which can significantly enhance your interactions with the customers. Also, artificial intelligence can sift through millions of data to provide seamless personalization and tailor recommendations, all of which can be really crucial to hotel owners.
Artificial intelligence doesn’t just save businesses time and money it also avoids human error and allows for more tasks to be performed at any given time.
Voice recognition is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends to make it in the travel industry. It is reported by comScore that by 2020, 50% of online searches will consist of voice. Tweet This! Hence, more and more travel management companies are striving to give their travelers the same voice search experience that they’re used to at home.
Google introduced its voice search travel platform called ‘Google Flight’ which works on smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and smart speakers through Google Assistant. Also, services such as App in the air has introduced its voice search enabled AR booking experience that’s catching up with the market as well.
Hotels such as Best Western and Marriott have been making use of voice search while the in-flight entertainment provider Spafax allows travelers to ask Alexa about the upcoming films via its profile platform. Voice interaction can make a world of difference by allowing TMCs to create a more natural booking experience without the requirement of scrolling through feeds or using keyboards at all.
The Internet of Things
It’s exciting to see the IoT play an important role in shaping the travel and tourism industry for the future. For instance, IoT can be used by hotel rooms to provide their customers with a device that can control everything from the lights, air conditioning, and the heater from one place.  Tweet This! Meanwhile, at the airports, items of luggage can be sensor-enabled so that the passengers can be alerted when their bags arrive.
Despite its similarity to virtual reality, augmented reality involves augmenting one’s surroundings rather than replacing them. Travel tends to be heavily dependent on thorough research as travelers need a lot of information before they arrive. Augmented reality can ensure that this information is readily available to them at all times.
For instance, The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn has interactive AR elements incorporated with its wall maps. So when someone looks through their smartphone or tablet, the wall maps display more information about some of the local places of interest.
One of the ways in which travel brands are using big data is to gather information and make specific adjustments to their offerings. Being able to analyze the current business performances allows hotels to better anticipate the levels of demand at that particular season. For instance, hotel owners can utilize big data for revenue management by looking at historic occupancy rates and other past trends. This will not only help predict the demand but also optimize their pricing and promotional strategies.
What Drives This Shift Towards an Automated Approach?
One of the major reasons behind automating the travel and tourism industry is that of cost control. Whereas on a deeper level, automating merchandising and fulfillment tracking allows TMCs to identify merchandising opportunities way quicker than a human analyst. This will not only increase revenue but also save valuable time, resulting in a better customer experience with as little friction as possible.
When it comes to automating the travel industry, merchandising plays an important role. Travel brands have started automating booking-monitoring that will allow for instant identification in case of the right merchandising opportunity. By sending relevant promotional offers to travelers, TMCs can use traditional merchandising to avoid costs and save expenses.
In 2016, GBTA reported that 64% of business travelers check their itinerary details via smartphones or tablets every day. Travel brands have increasingly automated their processes so travelers can get a seamless experience from start to finish. One of the cool examples is sending consolidated voice and itinerary document delivered straight to the traveler’s device so that it saves time and avoids the need for travel briefings and physical document collection. Additionally, travel managers can also customize rules for delay and cancellation alerts, security and traffic incidents, etc.
Some of these trends may still be finding their feet, but there’s no doubt they will shake up the travel industry in a few years. Although, the likelihood of this envisioned future coming to fruition depends on a few factors such as:-
- The public demand and how quickly users will adopt these trends
- How well the TMCs can take advantage of voice technology
Thankfully the number of users is rapidly increasing due to the low barrier of entry. Almost all smartphones are now equipped with voice recognition system, however, confidentiality and data security are big key concerns. The tech industry will have to overcome this hurdle if voice search is to become prominent in the market.
TMCs of the future will likely become much more thorough in this aspect and be able to transition from being a just utility company to a customer-centric travel management platform. To name a few, travel brands such as Skyscanner, Expedia, and Priceline have been able to build their business on technology algorithms, machine learning, APIs, and big data. So, it’s not just for the sake of commercial reasons but to survive in a competitive market and stay ahead of the curve.