It’s hard to imagine life without technology as it’s become an integral part of almost every aspect of our lives. From how we communicate to how we work, it’s made our life easier and more convenient.
With the help of technology, the tasks that usually take us days to accomplish can now be completed in hours, and in the comfort of your own home.
The convenience brought by technology has spilled over to the travel and tourism industry as well. In the last few years, we’ve witnessed it’s slowly changing the way we travel.
It made it possible to book flights and accommodations with just a few clicks on our mobile devices. In some cases, it’s no longer necessary to consult with a travel agent to plan a vacation!
These new developments in the travel industry promise even more interactive and exciting experiences for every traveller in the future.
From improvements in customer service to the birth of new travel business models, read on to discover the ways that technology has changed the way we travel!
1. More personalised experiences
One of the impacts of technology in tourism is how it’s made top-notch travel services readily available to those who want to travel (or even those just thinking about travelling).
Thinking of going on vacation this summer? Finding the best summer travel package can be as simple as going online!
You’ll find websites platforms like blogs and chatbots that will guide you through planning and customising the trip of a lifetime. Google Flights, TravelZoo, and Travelocy will give you the best deals on flights, hotels, and vacation packages!
These days, what travellers are after are personalised and unique experiences. Instead of hitting up the beaches where most tourists are, people want something different to make their trips more memorable and special.
2. Travel applications
In the age of technology, people are discovering and exploring different content through their smartphones.
Smartphones have become tour guides, travel agencies, navigators, and locators of the best hotels and restaurants, all rolled into a single device. We rely on them for everything whenever we’re travelling or just going out.
AirBnb will help you find great accommodations and exciting activities within your budget. OpenRice, tagged as the Yelp of Asia, will show you the city’s most popular dining spots.
If you’re after a more immersive (and low-cost) travel, you can use CouchSurfing to get connected with locals who offer a space in their homes free of charge.
So it makes sense why many travel businesses have been focused on developing travel applications to improve customer experience. Through these travel apps, people are able to comprehensively plan their future trips without having to consult with travel agencies.
As technology continues to reinvent the travel landscape, we can expect these travel apps will become more advanced and efficient.
3. Social media-driven marketing results
Another impact of technology in tourism is how social media can encourage people to pack their bags and travel.
Social media platforms will continue to play a crucial role in terms of promotion and marketing. People are naturally fond of sharing their travel experiences online for everyone to see, which, in turn, can inspire others to travel.
According to Statista, 36% of people use social media for travel ideas and inspirations, while 60% share photos while travelling.
On top of that, more than a million of travel-related hashtags are searched every week.
Travel marketers can take advantage of this information to create travel services and packages that people would be curious and interested to try. Some travel agencies also use social media to reach new customers and spread brand awareness.
4. Rise of augmented reality
Augmented reality is slowly making its mark in the travel industry. It’s becoming one of the new ways to travel and try new experiences.
Many travel companies use virtual reality to allow customers to experience what it’s like being on a 5-star cruise or visiting the seven wonders of the world, even just for a brief moment and without having to purchase a plane ticket.
The integration of augmented reality in the travel industry introduces a more immersive travel experience that can change how we plan our travels.
Thanks to this technology, everyone can now see and experience different destinations before making a decision, much like how we try things at department stores before purchasing them.
Through augmented reality, you’ll be able to reach the top of Mount Everest without having to break a sweat!
5. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a technology that will bring more changes to the entire travel industry.
It refers to the integration of sensors that are connected to the Internet in physical objects such as cars, suitcases, and even buildings.
You’ve probably seen those small chips that are put inside suitcases so you can track their movements on your mobile device. You’ll know exactly where it is at all times to avoid losing it at airports.
Some hotels even enable their guests to control the room’s thermostat and lights even if they’re not inside the room. These are just some of the recent tourism technology trends that we’ve seen take off in the past years!
6. The importance of Big Data
In tourism management, big data is life. It’s what enables travel businesses to check the customer's amount spent, their reason for travel, and their origin and destination, and gather these data for future reference.
One of the uses of big data is to improve personalisation of services. Travel businesses depend on the collected data to make specific adjustments to their offerings, making them more palatable to the customer’s taste.
Hotels and other businesses in the travel and hospitality industry have a range of interactions with customers. Each interaction can provide valuable data that can be used to improve customer services.
Another purpose of big data is to analyse business performance. For example, hotel owners can use the data to check if bookings are on par with expectations and to know which months are in-demand.
When demand is predictable, promotions and rates can be optimised and businesses can also use this information to cater to peak and off-season periods.
7. Contactless technology
Contactless technology boomed in the wake of the pandemic. It started as a form of convenience and compliance with distancing rules, but it’s emerged to be a crucial factor in travel marketing.
When planning post-pandemic travels, people would want to know what the safety precautions are at airports and in certain countries.
As such, various contactless technologies are now being adopted in airports and travel hubs to ensure better safety of travellers and control over passenger traffic. Self check-ins and automated passport controls are becoming more common in airports.
Many establishments around the world are also implementing contactless payments as part of their health and safety protocols.
In terms of accommodations, expect that smart hotel rooms will be among the standard offerings of hotels moving forward!
The YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road Hotel uses smart self check-ins, adjustable smart beds, and a Technowall for mood lighting.
Meanwhile, the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas has its own mobile app with all the information customers need about shops, events, and promos. The app also allows guests to make restaurant reservations and book spa appointments.
Improving travel through technology
Apart from technology making our travels easier and more convenient, it also allows businesses in the travel industry to get to their customers better and improve the quality of their services.
The integration of technology in tourism is a two-way road that benefits both travellers and service providers, strengthening the entire industry altogether.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below! I’d love to hear what other business owners say about digital technology in tourism. You can support us by checking out our tours!