The travel and tourism industry revolves around customer satisfaction. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that you make your customer’s user and customer service experience as comfortable as possible for them to keep coming back to your business. In addition, technology plays a vital role in ensuring that the day-to-day operations of hotels, airlines, and travel agencies are smooth and seamless. Since the impact of COVID-19, there have been many changes in how people travel. So, the industry needs to adapt to keep its operations afloat.
In this article, we will explore the importance of tech in tourism and the different emerging tech trends in the travel and leisure industry in 2022.
But first, what is travel technology?
In layman’s terms, travel technology is when companies apply IT solutions in the travel and leisure industry. There are many benefits of travel technology, helping improve both the customer service experience and make the work of employees and businesses easier. The end goal of travel technology is to automate travel-related processes, which will help save both time and money.
Why do businesses need travel technology?
If you haven’t yet adapted travel tech into your business operations, you might risk running unnecessary losses.
Travel technology is crucial to businesses because it automates processes, making it easier for clients to access your services. By automating and streamlining operations, you can also reduce the amount of human effort and involvement. As a result, you can reduce the cost of staffing and use that money to grow your business further.
The most significant advantage of using technology is that it reduces the chances of error, which is not a guarantee for humans. So, it’s essential to stay updated with tech trends to succeed in this industry.
Top technology trends in the travel and leisure industry in 2022
1. Contactless payments
One of the most important developments, especially in times of the pandemic, is that technology has enabled contactless payments. Additionally, customers might not always be carrying their credit or debit cards on them at all times or don’t have immediate access to cash. Enabling cashless transactions makes the whole experience more accessible for clients, as everyone has a smartphone these days, and it also saves time and effort for both customers and employees.
Contactless delivery used to be a convenience earlier, but lately, it’s become more of a necessity than convenience because of COVID-19.
2. Voice control
Voice control and voice search options are a massive step towards making the travel industry more accessible for everyone. Most of the apps were not accessible to people with visual impairments, and enabling voice controls will make the apps and websites accessible to a whole new demographic.
Besides the booking experience, voice controls and search options can also help make the customer experience more interactive and exciting by including voice control lighting and heating within hotel rooms and assisting tourists with information about a particular location.
You don’t need to have a huge team to help you with tech for your business. You can even hire remote software developers who are highly qualified and can assist you in implementing technology in your operations.
That is probably one of the most exciting advancements in recent times. While voice recognition and cashless transactions have more or less become a norm in our everyday lives, it’s not often one gets to see machines doing daily tasks.
Restaurants and hotels can largely benefit from implementing robot technology in their operations. For example, robot support can reduce human effort in food preparation, luggage transport, and other deliveries.
For example, at the Dubai Expo, a food delivery company called Talabat had a marketing campaign advertising the future of food delivery – with GPS-powered robots. This achieved two purposes – it made the brand stand out and therefore made it memorable, making its mark in the customer’s minds.
As a business, you should always strive to make a memorable impression in your customer’s minds, and Talabat successfully did that by using robot technology in their campaigns.
4. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality has become a huge thing, with big names like Meta trying to make their mark in VR. VR will definitely be a massive part of our future, and businesses across various sectors and industries are already accommodating VR in their operations. Travel and Tourism is one of the biggest industries that have the potential to use virtual reality.
For example, with the help of VR, tourists will be able to have a glimpse of the place they’re visiting before going there. It’s like a trailer of a vacation to help customers make an informed decision.
Thomas Cook made the most of VR technology when they introduced their ‘Try Before You Fly’ initiative that let people take a virtual tour of the city and its key attractions before deciding if they want to visit. That gave them an edge over their competitors, and as we mentioned before, it made a memorable impression on the consumer’s minds.
5. Advanced cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has become a big concern for employees and customers across industries. For the travel and tourism industry, it’s an even more significant concern as they deal with sensitive client information, like addresses and banking details. They cannot risk having that information stolen because their customers trust their private data.
To protect their employees and clients from ransomware and phishing attacks, they need to invest in state-of-the-art cybersecurity and train their employees to be aware of how to avoid falling prey to cybersecurity attacks.
6. AI-powered chatbots
We’ve spoken before about how automating processes makes operations convenient for everyone and reduces human effort. Of course, customer service is a big part of that process.
Since most travel-related bookings are made through the internet, there are no fixed timings, and customers often make their reservations at night. Naturally, it’s impossible to have a customer service team working round the clock. With the help of artificial intelligence, chatbots can be programmed to help customers complete search queries and get answers to commonly asked questions in live chat without having to speak to a customer service representative.
However, it’s understandable that machine learning is not yet equipped to replace human effort altogether. For queries beyond AI chatbots’ capabilities, you can hire a virtual assistant to help with customer service.
7. Fingerprint and facial recognition
Recognition technology benefits both the supply and the demand side of the travel and tourism industry.
First and foremost, it eliminated the need to keep track of multiple passwords. Studies reveal that an average person has around 100 passwords, and it’s impossible to keep track of them all. Fingerprints and facial recognition make the customer service experience more convenient for the user and set your business apart from your competitors.
From the business side, recognition technology helps improve cyber security. For example, you can be sure that your client information is safe when you have advanced security measures in place.
In the future, hotels and restaurants plan to make cashless transactions even easier through facial recognition technologies.
8. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality has revolutionized the travel experience like never before. You can now use your camera lens and photographs to access information within seconds through your phone.
For example, when people traveled to the countries where most of the population did not speak English (Japan), it was difficult for English-speaking people to communicate with people if they didn’t speak Japanese. It was even difficult to order food in restaurants as all the menus were Japanese. However, just by pointing the camera lens at the menu, people can translate it to English in seconds. Furthermore, thanks to voice recognition in Google Translate, conveying the order to the waiter without understanding the other language is also possible.
So, augmented reality is a game-changer in making travel a more convenient and accessible experience for tourists from across the globe.
9. Big Data
There have been multiple debates about Big Data, but it can help create a better customer user experience for your clients if used ethically. For example, companies can study behavior patterns and use the data to make more personalized recommendations. They can generate travel plans customized to their client’s preferences.
It can also help hotels and travel agencies make better business decisions and use data to anticipate levels of demand based on historical data.
The future of travel and tourism
Businesses in the travel and tourism sector must be updated with the latest technology trends and advancements to stay relevant and edge over their competitors. We hope this article gave you an insight into the importance of tech in the travel industry, and you’ve got some insights into the listed trends you can adapt to your operations.