There is no denying that the role of digital technology is rapidly shifting, from being a driver of marginal efficiency to an enabler of innovation and disruption. Moreover, the travel and tourism sector has been at the forefront of digital disruption for decades, constantly changing the way people travel. Every day, new and innovative travel technologies are being developed to make travel and tourism an even more exciting and adventurous industry.
Here are the top five emerging digital transformation trends in the travel and tourism industry in 2018 that are sure to bring a new revolution in the sector.
1. Integration of Internet of Things(IoT)
The Internet has played a pivotal role in the transformation of the travel sector over the last decade, creating new businesses around everything from sharing economy to mobile apps. However, more dramatic transformation looms on the horizon: The Internet of Things (IoT). While IoT has been beneficial for all types of industry verticals in varying degrees, travel and tourism are recognizing a crucial impact on both the front end as well as the enterprise operations side.
IoT’s rapid digitization of machines or physical things as smart connected devices is significantly impacting service offerings, business models, and traveler expectations. As more and more devices get connected to the IoT, the travel and hospitality sectors can harness this data to improve customer experience significantly. Through IoT devices, the opportunities for up-sells and better CX are endless.
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2. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
The evolution of the travel and tourism industry has been remarkable. Initially, people could book flights on the Internet. Then came online travel agents. Today, travelers can do anything from asking smartphone if the flight is on time to have their queries answered by a chatbot. This is made possible with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Travel service providers can provide all the information via AI-powered apps and technology.
By merging historical data with sophisticated machine learning algorithms, travel companies can now predict when and where travelers might want to go and generate personalized ads, thereby boosting sales. AI and chatbots may seem like the bane of some futuristic, dystopian society, but we already have come into contact with them in something as simple as booking a hotel or flight.
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3. Virtual Reality is changing the game
Although Virtual Reality (VR) may have its origins in the gaming market, it is by no means confined to it. Today, one of the industry verticals in which VR has looming implications is the travel and tourism industry. VR technology is the ideal supplement to travel brands marketing and promotional campaigns. With the immersive experiences that are readily available, travel companies can offer customers an opportunity to see new sights or enjoy exotic adventures without leaving the comfort of their own space.
The possibilities of VR technology in travel are endless. So much so that it can transform the travel industry like never before. No longer confined to flat tours with descriptions and two-dimensional photographs, travel companies will have to adapt to the fact that travelers are now able to view the destination and hotel for themselves from home before making a booking, and VR is a key enabler for this.
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4. Redefining travel with Big Data Analytics
A traveler leaves behind a vast quantity of data from multiple devices and channels at several stages including planning, research, price search, booking, cancellation, and feedback. New players, as well as old vendors in the travel domain, are looking for innovative ways to leverage the data generated from consumers to offer them more targeted and eventually profitable products and services. To identify travel patterns, consumer trends, and business opportunities, a sound Big Data Analytic strategy has become indispensable.
The industry has realized the capabilities of big data analytics on the variety, velocity, veracity, and volume of travel data to bring in actionable business insights. Many players in the travel domain have already adopted big data analytics to deliver real-time, personalized and targeted travel experiences.
5. Wearable technology
Wearables are no longer a simple concept that gadget lovers can sport under their collar. They are fast becoming a reality for billions of people around the world. Moreover, the travel industry is expected to get significant benefits from wearable technology. Wearable devices are being designed with consumer convenience in mind, and their fundamental goal is to enhance the overall experience of the traveler.
For travel, wearable devices become a mini-screen that can perform many of the same functions as a smartphone. Boarding pass reminders, reservation information, gate updates, QR codes, and all the associated information that fuels a traveler’s trip would be available right there on the wrist.