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5 Tech Innovations Revolutionizing Travel

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Elayne Stecher Bio

Already one of the largest service industries across the globe, the travel industry continues to expand, with the retail value of global travel increasing 5.8% in current terms in 2019. Innovations in technology have allowed the nearly USD2.5 trillion industry to attract consumers by capitalizing on the demand for authentic and local experiences, personalized recommendations and convenience.

Based on results from the recent Voice of the Industry: Travel survey of 702 industry professionals working in over 90 countries, Euromonitor International has identified five technologies that will revolutionize the travel industry in the coming years.

1. Big Data

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, more people than ever are traveling, shifting the industry’s demographics and challenging convention. Big data is primed to help businesses identify and leverage key travel trends to improve travelers’ experience, make personalized suggestions and identify opportunities for improving value for travelers.
With almost half of all consumers rating authentic or unique travel experiences as the most important attribute of their travel in 2019, being able to predict and respond to travelers’ demands in real-time will make businesses most competitive and dynamic in the travel space.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) – the network of interconnected “smart” devices that people interact with – increasingly impacts every step of travel and tourism. Consumers can check into flights through Google Home voice commands, monitor their luggage through IoT-enabled bags, and adjust the lighting, temperature and other features in their hotel room with a single device.

Businesses can utilize the IoT to monitor everything from the whereabouts of rental cars to hotel check-in devices requiring maintenance. This streamlining of information for both consumers and businesses allows for more seamless travel experiences.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI not only facilitates the collection and analysis of big data, but it also has a direct impact on consumer experience: chatbots and other features leveraging AI have revolutionized the way that businesses address consumer questions and concerns through customer service.

Today, travelers can already enable Amazon’s Alexa to work with Expedia to plan travel, call an Uber, and reorder meals through Grubhub. Because AI learns from every interaction using machine learning, this technology will only become more accurate and efficient over the next five years.

4. Improved Travel Apps

Over 60 percent of travel professionals surveyed in Euromonitor International’s 2019 Voice of the Industry: Travel and Tourism Survey identified instant booking, mobile check-in, and 24-hour availability as the most important features of travel applications. As businesses continue to gain insights from big data and AI, app features should respond to consumer needs in a frictionless way, further facilitating industry growth and consumer convenience.

5. Virtual Reality (VR)

With more consumers than ever looking for high-quality experiences at a reasonable price point, VR is already revolutionizing the travel industry by allowing consumers to tour hotels, book their travel, or even “travel” using VR technologies. Virtual tourism allows travelers to explore cities, visit historical sites, and even experience the impossible – like standing on top of the Eiffel Tower – from anywhere in the world.

As VR and Augmented Reality (AR), technologies continue to improve usability and become more cost-effective, we expect more consumers to engage with these technologies to plan trips and supplement traditional traveling.

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WTM London

Euromonitor International 19 September 2023

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