Technology is a crucial part of the tourism and travel industry, helping businesses with day-to-day operations, while also improving the customer experience. For this reason, it is important that hotels, airlines, restaurants and other companies keep up with the latest technology trends within the travel industry. This is especially vital in the era of COVID, with customer expectations shifting. In this article, you can find out more about some of these new tech trends.
- What is Travel Technology?
- Why Should You Keep Up With the Latest Tourism & Travel Technology Trends?
- Which Developments Are Responsible for the Latest Travel Tech Trends?
- Discover The Latest 12 Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry
- What Are the Latest Trends in Travel Marketing?
- What Are the Latest Trends in Tourism?
- Learn More About Tourism & Travel Tech During Tourism Courses
- Find a Travel Tech Job With These Job Boards
What is Travel Technology?
Travel technology is a broad term, which is used to describe the application of IT, e-commerce and similar technology solutions within the fields of tourism, travel and hospitality. Hotel and tourism technology may be intended to assist businesses and their employees, improve the travel experience for customers, or both.
Ultimately, the goals or motivations behind implementing travel technology include automating travel and related processes, saving time, reducing costs and creating a more seamless travel experience for consumers. Technology can be deployed to enhance the customer experience before, during and after the trip itself.
Why is Travel Technology Important for Businesses Operating in the Tourism & Travel Industry?
Travel technology can help businesses to streamline their processes, or even automate processes that would traditionally require active human involvement. This can then potentially help a business to reduce staffing requirements, cut costs and increase the amount of income they generate, leading to improved financial results.
In addition, technology can assist businesses through improved accuracy and convenience, while simultaneously helping to reduce or eliminate human error. It is, however, essential to always keep up with the latest tourism technology trends, so that the best solutions are being used and so that other businesses do not gain a competitive edge.
Why Should You Keep Up With the Latest Tourism & Travel Technology Trends?
Businesses should always keep up with the latest travel technology trends, because your main competitors will too. This means you risk providing them with a significant advantage if you allow them to adopt new technology while you rest on your laurels, and that is especially true if the technology is designed to benefit customers.
As trends emerge and new technology becomes established, customers start to expect a certain level of experience and they want the convenience associated. If your business fails to meet these expectations, it is likely that customers will feel disappointed. This could then, in turn, lead to negative reviews and damage to your reputation.
At the same time, keeping up with travel and tourism technology trends can also help employees and may make recruitment easier, as candidates will want to work with the latest tools, especially if it can reduce stress.
Which Developments Are Responsible for the Latest Travel Tech Trends?
A trend can be defined as a general development within a particular field, or as a general shift in behaviour. Within hospitality, there are a number of factors that are responsible for changes in consumer behaviour and, therefore, are also responsible for many of the travel tech trends that are most relevant right now.
Emerging technology, including voice search, virtual and augmented reality, facial recognition technology, and the Internet of Things, has led to the adoption of smart speakers in hotels, virtual reality tours from travel companies, and new, seamless ways to check-in, without having to queue and speak to reception staff.
Within our personal lives, we are increasingly using contactless payments, voice search and mobile solutions, so it makes sense that tourism technology trends have followed this same basic pattern. The COVID-19 pandemic also helped to accelerate some of these behaviours, while increasing the need for solutions like cleaning robots.
Discover The Key Technology Trends in the Tourism & Travel Industry: General & COVID Related Tech Trends
We piled up the latest and newest technology trends in tourism and travel, along with tech trends that serve as an answer to the change in consumer behaviour due to the COVID virus.
1. Voice Search & Voice Control
Smartphones, smart speakers and AI assistants have all helped to increase the relevance of voice search as far as technology trends in the travel industry are concerned. In particular, a growing number of travel customers are using voice search to find and book airline tickets, hotel rooms and travel experiences.
It is, therefore, crucial to design your website with voice search in mind, so that you can capitalise on this trend.
On top of this, voice control is also playing a growing role in actual travel experiences too. Within hotel rooms, voice-controlled devices can be used to control lighting and heating within rooms, or to obtain tourist information without needing to speak to a member of staff. This is likely to continue to expand into other areas of the industry too.
Video: Book Your Travel Trip With Voice Search
Take a look at “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Travel Industry?” to find out more about controlling devices by voice.
Robotics technology is one of the most exciting forms of travel technology and it is constantly improving. Within hotels, for example, robots have been used in concierge-like roles, helping to greet guests when they arrive and provide information. Some hotels have expanded their use further still, involving them in cleaning and luggage handling.
Within restaurants, robots can potentially have a role in food preparation and food service. In airports, they can be used to detect concealed weapons, while some manufacturers are also using robotics to create luggage cases that intelligently follow you. Moreover, travel agents are using robots for pre-screening, making waiting times more productive for customers.
As with many other technology trends within the travel industry, the uses for robots have actually increased in response to COVID, especially as they have the potential to reduce human-to-human contact.
Video: Robots Take Over Luggage Duties
Example: Autonomous Security Robots for Airports
Find more detailed information and examples of robot use cases in the travel industry in the article “Robots in the Travel Industry: 8 Real-World Examples”.
3. Contactless Payments
Another important form of travel tech is the ability to accept contactless payments. This will allow travel companies to process payments much more quickly, including in situations where customers do not have access to cash, or their credit or debit card. It can also enhance the customer experience, because it is a time saver.
The availability of contactless payments started as a convenience, but it has emerged as a key part of tourism marketing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With travellers nervous about the spread of the virus, many are reluctant to handle cash. Using contactless payments as much as possible can also protect your own staff.
Video: Contactless Payments – How Does it Work?
Check out “Reasons why Contactless Payments are Becoming Popular Within the Travel Industry” for further insights.
4. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality has been an emerging technology in a number of different sectors, but its role within the tourism industry is especially significant. After all, it provides travellers with the ability to experience far away locations from the comfort of their own home, and can be the difference in whether they ultimately complete a booking.
Using VR tours, customers can experience everything from virtual hotels tours and restaurants, to landmarks, national parks or even specific activities. The interactivity and immersion can also help to provide you with a competitive advantage over rivals who are not yet making the most of these kinds of tech trends. Most VR tours or 360 tours are now compatible with mainstream web browsers and can help those who are reluctant to travel due to COVID to see the benefits more clearly.
Example: A London City Guided Tour – 360 VR Video
Example: The World’s First Virtual Reality Travel Search and Booking Experience
Read the articles “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry” and “Benefits of Virtual Reality Marketing for The Travel Industry” for more information.
5. AI Chatbots
AI-powered chatbots can be one of the single most sensible travel technology investments you can make, because these chatbots are able to provide customers with swift answers to questions on a 24/7 basis, regardless of staff availability. This can be essential for living up to current expectations on customer service.
Typically, these chatbots are at their best when answering common questions, which have standard answers. Yet, advances to AI technology mean modern chatbots continually improve as they have more and more interactions. They can also be especially good at responding to queries about COVID policies and safety or hygiene measures.
Example: Example Friendly Travel-Intelligent Chatbot
Check out the articles “AI Chatbot: What Are the Advantages for the Travel Industry?” and “AI Bot: Which Features Are Important for Travel Companies?” to learn much more.
6. CyberSecurity Measures
Cybersecurity is a major focus area for those in travel management roles, because companies in the industry are increasingly at risk from cyber-attacks and also more vulnerable to data breaches of other kinds. Travel companies are a major target, because they employ lots of people and have access to an abundance of customer data.
Some of the biggest threats in this area include phishing attacks and ransomware attacks, although the modern reliance on data also leaves companies at risk from human error caused by their own employees too. This requires investment in cybersecurity training and various hardware and software solutions to keep your business safe.
It is also important to keep up with the latest regulations and to comply with data protection laws.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the most exciting emerging travel technology trends is the Internet of Things (IoT), which involves internet-based interconnectivity between everyday devices, allowing them to both send and receive data. Already, we are seeing examples of its role within the travel and tourism industry and this is only going to increase.
For instance, IoT technology can be used in hotel rooms to provide customers with a device that connects to everything from the lights, to the heaters and air conditioning, allowing all to be controlled from one place. In airports, meanwhile, luggage cases can be installed with sensors that will alert passengers when they pass by.
Example: Smart technology smarter airports
Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the travel industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Travel Industry”.
8. Recognition Technology
Finally, recognition technology is especially interesting within this list of key tech trends, due to its potential for removing friction from purchases and making interactions seamless. The technology itself includes fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, retina scanning and various other biometric identifiers.
Such technology is already being used in some hotels to allow access to rooms via fingerprints or to allow for semi-contactless check-outs. However, in the future, it is hoped that this technology may be able to allow customers to pay for meals in the hotel restaurant simply by walking through the exit.
Example: Facial Recognition Check-in in Marriott China
Find more detailed information and examples of facial recognition use cases in the travel industry in the article “4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry”.
9. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but involves augmenting a person’s real surroundings, rather than replacing them. One of the major plus points of this particular technological trend is that it is cheaper than VR, with users requiring only a smartphone or tablet device which has access to the internet.
Through graphical overlays, those in the tourism industry can greatly enhance the customer experience, providing customers with valuable information or even pure entertainment. For instance, apps can allow for photographs to be augmented through filters and effects. Details about local destinations can also be displayed as a customer points their smartphone at them, providing information at the exact time that it is most relevant.
Example: Augmented reality within the travel industry
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry”.
10. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Away from robots, artificial intelligence is being used in other ways too. Perhaps the most obvious use within the travel and tourism industry is for customer service purposes, with chatbots possessing the ability to deliver rapid response times to problems or queries. It is also able to continuously learn from interactions with customers.
In addition, hotels and other companies operating in the tourism industry can make use of artificial intelligence to accurately and continuously sort through data. It will be able to draw conclusions about business performance or trends associated with customer satisfaction, and even intelligently manage inventories.
Example: Create Your Bot Booking Travel
Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the travel industry in the article “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Travel Industry”.
11. Big Data
In modern tourism management, big data is a fact of life, and almost all companies that are successful employ their own data collection techniques. One of the biggest uses for this data is to improve personalisation, with travel companies using the information they gather to make specific adjustments to their offerings.
Another valuable use of data is to analyse current business performance. In particular, hotel owners can use big data for revenue management purposes, using historic occupancy rates and other past trends to better anticipate levels of demand. When demand is predictable, pricing and promotional strategies can also be optimised.
Find more detailed information and examples of big data in the travel industry in the article “5 Ways Big Data Can Benefit the Travel Industry”.
Aside from staying up to date with the latest travel technology trends, you should also keep pace with the latest trends in travel marketing too. There is a significant cross-over with travel and tourism technology, with examples including virtual reality marketing and voice search marketing, but there are also specific marketing trends too.
Check out “The Latest Travel Marketing Tips to Optimise Your Results” if you are interested in exploring the topic of travel marketing in greater detail and learning about some of the major travel marketing trends right now.
Much of the popular travel technology has been influenced by wider tourism and travel trends. For instance, the trend of environmentally conscious travel has influenced the rise of electric vehicle hire, while the trend for greater personalisation has influenced the increased use of IoT devices within hotel rooms.
Read the “Tourism Trends: The Latest Opportunities for The Tourism Industry” article if you would like to find out a whole lot more about the emerging tourism trends right now and the opportunities that are linked to them.
One of the best ways to learn about travel technology and its various applications is to enrol in a tourism course. There is a wide range of options available, depending on what area of tourism you would like to specialise in, with examples including travel & tourism, leisure & tourism, tourism marketing and tourism management.
Explore “Tourism Course: A Complete Overview of Courses & Tourism Educators” to learn about the various courses available, what they cover, the benefits of studying a tourism course, a list of educators that actually offer these courses, and some of the best websites to visit when searching for a course that suits your requirements.
The Best Tourism Industry Job Boards
Travel technology plays a role in a variety of tourism jobs and technology can also be used to find a job too. Whether you are at the beginning of your career, or you are already experienced in the industry and looking to progress, tourism industry job boards can be extremely useful when you are searching for vacancies and applying for a new job.
Read “Tourism Jobs: The Best Tourism Industry Job Boards for Your Career”, where you can access important information about tourism jobs, along with a list of job boards that list airline, hospitality and cruise industry positions.
For companies operating in the travel industry, it is essential to keep up with the latest travel technology trends. Understanding and adopting the trends outlined above will allow you to provide a better experience for your customers and can also help you to optimise revenue management and overall business performance.