How Technology Has Impacted The Travel Business
The travel industry has faced huge disruption over the past 18 months. For some businesses that meant unprecedented hardship and even closure. Others have been fortunate enough to use the time and explore how technology can help them bounce back stronger.
One thing is certain: technology has a leading role to play in the travel and tourism industry’s recovery. Leading trends include touchless journeys, the use of AI and robots as well as voice technology and virtual reality tours.
A few years ago, touchless passport scanners and check-ins were considered nice to have. Contactless payments were something travelers expected at home but not in far-flung destinations. Covid-19 has changed our perception of what is essential for travel health and safety. Contactless or touchless journeys are becoming a priority.
As travel reopens and airports once again become busy, customers will be looking to airlines to provide automated check-in, luggage processing, and passport handling. Once they have arrived at the destination, travelers are likely to choose businesses offering contactless payments over others.
AI, Robots, and Voice Technology
If your company operates across different time zones, it can be difficult to offer customer support and information 24/7. Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots have become a great alternative to working all hours. From the start, they can be programmed to answer the most commonly asked questions. As more travelers use them, their capability grows.
Robots may not appear to be the most obvious choice for the hospitality industry. However, they are being used successfully in airports to detect concealed weapons. Hotels have used them for luggage handling and cleaning duties. Other uses are still being discovered across the industry, but it’s already clear that robotics technology can help minimize human contact and therefore reduce the potential for disease transmission.
Voice technology and virtual reality tours
Voice search technology has seen a huge growth in popularity and relevance as smartphones, smart home apps, and other AI assistants are becoming widely used. Within the travel sector, they are being used more and more to search for destinations, hotels, and activities. The most successful destination websites are being designed now with voice search capability in mind.
Travel and tourism businesses have been using virtual tours for a few years to give prospective customers a taste of their chosen destination. Virtual reality tours are taking the concept a step further. They allow customers to immerse themselves in a destination rather than just looking at it from afar. The experience is entirely different.