Every year reports show that more people are travelling than ever before. What kept travellers happy ten years ago no longer applies and technology has been vital in delivering the immediate solutions, seamless experiences and personalised services that the modern traveller craves.
There’s no denying that tech has become a significant part of tourism. It has allowed the industry to transform and enhance itself in numerous ways, including a boost to sustainability. The integration of technology into our travel experiences promises safer, smoother and more exciting trips.
With expensive roaming no longer existing within the European Union, there is no excuse not to embrace technology into your travels and see how technology could transform your travel experience.
1. The whole world in your smartphone
Technology has revolutionised the travel process entirely, with 48% of smartphone users in the US comfortable planning their entire trip on a mobile device. Our smartphones have become our travel agents, placing the best deals on flights, hotels and car rentals at our fingertips. Our phones are by our side the entire process, even telling us the best landmarks to see and restaurants to try.
There is an infinite number of apps that promise to make your life and travels easier. Chatbots on Facebook Messenger allow you to speak directly with airlines or booking agents to make customer service a more efficient process. Once you’re at your destination, public transport apps are there to make sure you never get lost, and the Google Translate app allows you to translate signs and menus in real-time. Electronic payments like Apple Pay have created a more safe and secure way to use your money abroad, and apps like Monzo don’t add fees to the exchange rate.
Having reservations and tickets on your mobile isn’t just a time-saver, but it has made travel more eco-friendly too. Mobile boarding passes and reservations have saved large amounts of paper and you no longer must carry around so many documents.
2. It’s all done for you
Technology, and its seamless integration into our lives, has allowed us a more personalised travel experience, and drastically changed how we define our travel and transportation options. When you’re watching Netflix and a filming location catches your eye, it’ll take mere minutes to find out how much flights cost to get there, the best hotels and see thousands of traveller reviews. And not only is all this information at your fingertips, algorithms also direct the best deals and destinations straight to you based on your online behaviour. The internet suggests travel destinations based on the food, hobbies and clothes you like, also leading to more personalised and accurate pricing recommendations for your needs.
In an age where there is less do it yourself and more done for you instead, we have AI and biometrics to automate tasks. Facial recognition biometric scanners are gradually being rolled out across the globe, verifying individual’s identities as they cross international borders. While this technology is only a small step towards achieving secure and seamless cross-border travel, it will still make a significant difference to check-in and security wait times.
3. Virtual travel
Virtual or augmented reality has opened up realms of possibilities, especially for travel. It has become possible to teleport ourselves to remote corners of the world without even having to leave the house. Specialised travel VR apps offer customers a chance to test drive destinations for free before they pay a premium for the real-life experience. It’s impossible to replace real holidays but VR is inspiring people to discover the world.
Travel agents have begun using VR to add an immersive touch to the shopping process, with 360° views of hotel rooms helping travellers decide on their next trip. Museums, visitor centres, zoos and aquariums are already using VR to enhance the visitor experience with additional info as they tour the space.
As consumers begin to seek even more unique and authentic experiences, companies are offering boutique packages and expeditions. There’s even the rise of space tourism, such as Virgin Galactic, with 53% of people thinking that the population would be able to travel in space by 2050. As technology constantly evolves, the possibilities for future travel are becoming even more vast.