Tech Talk
Express Travelworld|March 2019
Tech Talk

Technology solutions or apps that will revolutionise the travel industry

‘TRAVEL PROVIDERS MUSTTAKE CARE TO PROTECT CLIENT DATA’

Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP, DES, MS, owner Corbin Ball & Co, an international speaker, consultant and writer who helps clients use technology to save time and improve productivity, highlights the technology solutions that are predicted to revolutionise the travel industry.

By Reema Lokesh

What are the technology solutions or apps that will revolutionise the travel industry and compel the travel trade stakeholders to rework their model and adapt to change?

Well I feel there are many:

A. Machine learning and AI will lead to increase personalization both for hotels and airlines.

B. Facial recognition is moving into airline check-in and in initial stages for hotels (especially in China).

C. The rise of online meeting space booking tools (especially for non-traditional spaces using Airbnb like interfaces) will offer many more options.

D. The rise of Google in air and hotel booking.

E. The internet of things will move into the guest room (occupancy detectors, smart speakers, mobile keys, biometric access, streaming video, and much more)

F. Voicebots and chatbots will be used in hotels for customer service and also worker communication.

G. Augmented and virtual reality will work their way in travel (virtual site inspections/hot spots/etc.)

H. Blockchain will work into flight booking, hotel reservations and car rentals. Technology will continue to transform the industry to make things more personalised and, in general, a smoother experience. Tourism stakeholders should be prepared to embrace these change to stay competitive.

What should tourism professionals keep in mind about the future?

Embrace technologychange! Millennials and Gen Z like to travel and are increasingly moving into purchasers. They also expect up-to-date technology in their booking and travel experiences.

Any challenges you see with rapid technology developments?

There are privacy and security issues that should be discussed. Facial recognition can be concerning to many people, especially if it is being used for government surveillance. Hackers are becoming more numerous and sophisticated, so travel providers must take care to protect client data. Many of the devices in the internet of things need to have higher protection levels for data security.

What are positive repercussions of technology in travel?

Technology, when used properly, can streamline travel booking and make the experience more personal, frictionfree and memorable.

'DON'T UNDERESTIMATE TECHNOLOGY'

Miguel Neves, Chief Social Strategist, miguelseven.com, predicts the tech developments that will influence the travel business in the near future.

By Reema Lokesh

Travel and technology go in tandem. What does the future hold in this space?

The revolution, that is just around the corner is when the all-encompassing apps such as Google Maps and WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger start integrating with each other and making it a seamless experience to place orders, make payments and communicate with all travel providers. This is similar to what already happens in China via the WeChat platform. This will shift our attention away from static websites and long-form blog posts or videos further towards ratings, instant communication and quick purchasing decisions.

What kind of revolution do you predict that tech will bring in the travel space?

The move towards instant communication with people making purchasing decisions means that there needs to be a massive increase in resources to be able to service these consumers. It's about putting the technology in place for anyone to scroll or walk by a hotel and almost instantly bring up the information they are looking for on their mobile device and make a booking, all within the same app. Large companies such as hotel chains and airlines already do this with their impressive customer service oriented social media presence. For them, the shift will be an obvious next step, but for the smaller companies, this is not so simple.

What tourism professionals should keep in mind about the future?

Don't underestimate technology, it changes everything and often not in the way we expect it to. Everyone sees the world in a different way, and we often think about consumer behaviour only from our perspective. Fortunately, there are many different ways to see the world, so how things develop is largely unpredictable. We should all keep an eye on that.

Are there any challenges you see with rapid technology developments?

The most important challenges are the abuses that happen, particularly around data privacy. Just because technology enables us to do something doesn't mean that we should do it. Companies make bad decisions around this when they can see a competitive advantage, so there has to be great care here. Ultimately, consumers won't be open to purchasing from a company if they do not feel they can trust it, so companies must handle consumer privacy with great care.

What are positive repercussions of technology in travel?

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March 2019