Technology has always been inextricably linked to travel, from advances in transport that enabled trade routes, to developing instrumentation to better navigate the seas. While there is something to be said for how leisure travel can be a way to switch off from technology, ongoing technological developments still play a massive role in the way we experience unfamiliar places, and will continue to do so in the future.
To get a better understanding of the evolving travel industry – and a better idea of how future generations will experience the world – here’s a brief overview of some of the latest developments in tourism:
What are the latest developments in travel?
The travel and tourism industry, like any other sales-focused industry, is making use of disruptive technologies to better manage their data and enhance customer success, whether it’s about finding better and cheaper airfares, or getting incredible deals on travel packages. Some of the most popular international booking apps that aggregate travel data are Skyscanner, Kayak, and locally, Flapp.
When it comes to travel marketing, live video is changing up the travel industry by making experiences more immediate, and with the use of drones, we’re getting a whole new perspective on places we often couldn’t get to before.
Other kinds of disruptive technology that are adding a whole new dimension to the future of travel are Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), which can create immersive experiences of a place, without anyone needing to actually go anywhere. These kinds of technologies also open up a completely new way of marketing destinations, and can even add an alternative perspective to the city in which you already live, like this historical VR experience in Paris.
Disruptive technology and getting around
Transportation itself goes hand in hand with technology, something that is obvious with the growth of ridesharing apps all over the world, like Uber, Lyft and Careem. Technology and the more efficient capturing and analysis of data also means that getting around is becoming more of a streamlined experience, as mobility data created by route optimisation apps like Waze, Scoop and Chariot provides ideas on how to better manage congestion.
Getting around faster and more efficiently is also going to be a common feature of future travel, with Hyperloop One trains and flying vehicles all being piloted at the moment. Autonomous vehicles, while removing the human interaction element of an Uber ride, will also make getting around a lot easier, especially considering the reduction in traffic that will come if an autonomous car sharing economy takes off.
Space travel is also on everyone’s minds since the recent launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. So while it still seems like a long time away, interplanetary travel might very well happen on a commercial scale in the future, if investment into these kinds of technologies continues. Imagine how different that kind of flight will be?
Travel and the shared economy
A discussion of travel and technology wouldn’t be complete without mentioning applications like Airbnb, which have revolutionised the way we spend time away from home and created what we now commonly refer to as a shared economy. Interestingly, despite the fact that many people may have become accustomed to often impersonal hotel room experiences, even these are adapting due to shifts in demand for more flexible accommodation options.
Other kinds of shared transportation are also changing the way we get around, with rental services like Bird in California causing a bit of legislative chaos as it becomes a popular way to move through the city.
Travel and cryptocurrencies
One of the biggest headaches when travelling internationally is having to constantly negotiate different exchange rates. Imagine how different travel would be with the use of shared international cryptocurrencies? The increased uptake of blockchain technologies also lends itself to an entirely different way of exchanging value in the first place, which means that the future of travel could involve less obstacles to the purchase and exchange of goods (or the exact opposite, depending on how these technologies become regulated).
Travel and future innovation
Voice activated devices, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also change the way we interact with our environment when we travel and how we keep up to date with changing flight details, or how we travel through airports and other international spaces. While it might seem like a futuristic idea to some, Incheon airport in Seoul recently launched the use of robots to assist travellers at the airport when arriving for the Winter Olympics. These robots are able to scan boarding passes and direct passengers to boarding gates in a number of languages.
As with any kind of future prediction, it’s difficult to know exactly what will happen in the years ahead, but in addition to the growth of immersive technologies there definitely seems to be a growing focus on the importance of sustainability in travel, as well as responsible tourism experiences that take nature conservation into consideration.
Despite common fears, it’s clear that technology does enhance experiences (as well as the marketing of experiences) and is in many ways helping travellers to create a more personalised experience. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses in the travel industry should take advantage of the opportunity to create more tailored engagements with their customers using a variety of technologies, which can all be used to build a distinct competitive advantage.
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