Shaken, not stirred
A lot has changed in the travel sector over the last 12-months. The pandemic has shaken economies worldwide, and while many markets are still in flux, consumer behavior has dramatically shifted. Disruption is rippling through almost every sector, and travel is a case in point.
When the pandemic struck, planes were grounded, beaches deserted, and resorts emptied. Travel operators went bust, and the International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines globally will lose at least $314billion due to the pandemic.
However, from pandemic ashes, a very different travel industry is beginning to rise again. The industry is rapidly adapting to changing customer behavior driven by technological change. As a result, this is significantly lifting customer expectations.
Below are the key technological advances that are helping shape the future of the travel industry.
Mobile is travel – the 5G revolution.
As the rollout of 5G brings speedier connections to much of the world, travelers can easily explore destinations and make more spontaneous bookings. According to TripAdvisor, 45% of travelers use their mobile apps and phones to do everything related to trips, from booking to exploring the best routes in the city. That number is likely to increase further with greater connectivity.
In a recent survey conducted by Amadeus, more than four in five travelers said technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12-months.
Technology also supports social sharing, immersive cultural experiences and local businesses. Services that typically rely on cash payments, such as food vans and taxis, will connect to 5G networks and offer card payments for the first time.
Internet of Things
IoT offers a radically different experience to holiday makers and business travellers alike. Real-time information enables airports and airlines to guide travellers through security-checks, luggage checks, and flight boarding, ensuring they catch their planes. On planes, flyers can control their own lighting and temperature from the phone or tablet – before being notified when their baggage is available for collection instead of having to endure the tedium of waiting by a carousel.
In 2019, airports worldwide were estimated to have invested $11.8 billion on information technology, according to SITA (Société Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques, an airline-owned tech provider), with China’s Daxin leading the pack, using facial recognition software as standard. Staff at China Eastern Airlines operating in the airport use Google Glass headsets to deliver a personalised service to members of its elite flyer loyalty programme.
One of the most comprehensive uses of IoT is seen in Disneyworld. The corporation has embraced the technology and used it to build a seamless experience for customers using its Magicband. The connected wrist band is an entrance ticket, a room key, a Fastpass and credit card. Disney staff use it to greet customers by name as they enter park restaurants and promptly deliver their pre-ordered meal. The Magicband can even be linked to resort photos through Disney’s PhotoPass Service.
Virtual Assistants and AI
Artificial intelligence and automation is key to improving operational quality and customer experience while reducing operating costs. Virtual assistants can efficiently deal with routine queries or out-of-hours support, freeing up customer service staff to work where they add the most value.
Hyatt hotels use a virtual assistant for parts of its reservations process, such as authenticating customers or gathering their travel dates and destination – before transferring the call with all the relevant context to an agent, who can work on the more emotional elements of the process. The agent has a better understanding of the customer’s needs thanks to the virtual assistant, and the customer gets a more efficient and personalized reservation experience.
Virtual assistants, reducing the time taken to manage travel arrangements on top of the direct savings through securing the best prices, are invaluable for businesses. And in our current climate of ever-changing approved travel lists, virtual assistants take the stress out of re-arranging your plans at short notice.
Built on AI, they make targeted and relevant recommendations informed by your choices – location, travel times, the internet searches you have been carrying. They offer secure, convenient solutions, all available in the palm of your hand.
How Enshored can help
We specialise in working with disruptive technologies. Enshored helps companies keep their services affordable and focus on core strategies for the business. We do this by:
- Offering outstanding user journey experience
- Bringing years of experience in TravelTech
- Generating actionable data
- Delivering a five star personal experience to your customers