Last month whilst on a flight to Costa do Sauípe-Brazil to spend a few vacation days with my family at a beach resort, I caught myself immersed in thoughts about the change of transport in tourism and business driven by technology innovation.
Traveling 100 years ago was something. Then, as the means of transportation modernized, it became something else, for the better in my opinion; by this, I mean that we do not experiment adventure less than our ancestors as some would question, neither will the coming generations. The transport systems are continuously enhancing as technology enables so. The traveller behaviour changes and new ways of traveling become the new adventure, incl. documenting and using social media to interact. Technology is pervasive, people document, share in real time and interact with others whilst exploring. Also remarkable is the accessibility to information and knowledge to easily explore different places that someone could not even imagine about only a couple of decades ago.
Technology innovation versus change in travel behaviours
How the fast-pacing technological evolution in transportation is enhancing the tourism and business travel industry to change travel behaviours?
We must acknowledge that traveling in today’s time is more democratic than years ago, either for leisure or business. People travel internationally more than ever.
The way of traveling has changed mainly due to digitalization. At large, one can be connected anytime, anywhere and access anything. Who today does not use an app, social media and/or a website for traveling? Flight booking, accommodation, travel guide, reviews, weather forecast, restaurant reviews, traveller forums and blogs/vlogs, recommended places to visit, directions, online services, e-shopping, electronic payment, mobile wallet, online/mobile check-ins/outs, electronic boarding pass, machine translation, you name it... And all in hand via a tablet and/or smartphone.
Beyond, big part of the data is user-generated, i.e. the user shares its experiences in different means, mainly on social media. In other words, the actual user experience counts, which brings travelling to another level of experience. One gains the freedom to select the most suitable travel at any time.
With regards to lodging, consider the hospitality services provided by companies like Airbnb where anyone can search for accommodation, as well as offer lodging without the hassle of contacting travel agents. If a hotel is required, think of the practicality of online services offered by web companies like booking.com, among others. One can check availability, convenience, compare prices, see recommendations an reviews, etc. And others like TripAdvisor offers from a simple lodging, restaurant booking or flight tickets to a complete travel package, just one of a multitude of other travel-related companies offering similar services. All within only a few clicks of distance.
Many tools enabled by digital technology are available for a better and more comfortable experience; and today users demand a higher standard and personalized service. Being so, it’s certain to affirm that connectivity has dramatically changed the traveller behaviour.
Benefit for all
Besides the so obvious benefits for the users that gain the freedom to select the most suitable travel mode at any time, the planet is also benefiting by getting greener and more sustainable, with less need of paper, and by new types of renewable energy that are rapidly arising, like solar, biofuels, electric energy, etc. There’s also a mass application to transform waste into energy. Examples of these are far known.
On the business side, technology innovation is disruptive. Being so, incumbent players, i.e. former travel agencies, had to change their operational model to adapt to modern technologies and traveller behaviours; by doing so, generated new revenue streams and compelling business models.
A kind of new industry has been formed due to digitalization where frontrunner incumbents and new comers created a diversified travel ecosystem for the benefit of all.
Soon we will see more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, popular electric vehicles and a higher level of automation. Already around the corner are the chatbots, a software that simulates a dialog by using artificial intelligence, kind of a virtual assistant that interacts with the actual human where the machine can interact and offer you what you want.
We will further live in a shared economy driven by electrification (e.g. electric powered vehicles), connectivity and automation, including autonomous vehicles in the future as a form of public transportation which is shared, seamless and inclusive. For the benefit of economy, business and society.
And think of the impact of augmented reality in the travel industry in the years to come...
Please comment and share your thoughts. Do you agree? What do you think we will experience during the coming years?
Due to democratic accessible travels, we see the rise of many conferences, business meetings, and more than ever tourism travels happening. Is this really helping a sustainable planet? What should be the contingence plan for the technology to follow the user demand without putting pressure on the planet sustainability?