Unlocking the digital traveler

Unlocking the digital traveler

From chatbots, smart luggage options, beacons to virtual assistants... travelers today have more research and booking options at their fingertips than ever before. They're looking for more information and expect it to be at their fingertips to help guide them in their decision making process. As the era of the digital traveler takes on, the industry needs to be prepared in keeping pace with offering its users the always-connected experience.

Here we've compiled some of the latest trends we believe will drive the growth in technology in turn dominating digital experiences for today's traveler:

Engaging content: Engaging travelers in real-time on social platforms will go a long way for travel providers in turning customers into their brand advocates. Airlines are pushing themselves to achieve this feat. Travel service providers such as airlines & hotels are increasingly taking ownership of end-to-end travel experiences for their users and will eventually find the need to drive more engaging destination content by promoting ancillaries, encouraging more bookings and thus increased revenue.

Rise of chatbots: Conversational interfaces such as chatbots could be seen as a convenient and fool proof solution to provide relevant and contextual information to its user. With storing preferences and providing recommendations, chatbots hold the key to strengthening customer relationships and meeting increasing buyer expectations. Travelers today want autonomy, and chatbots can deliver just that!

Adoption of 'wearables': The rise of wearable technology has been the most talked about revolution for a while now and will continue to dominate the market going forward. As consumers envisage 'instant gratification', airline and travel companies are exploring this channel for opportunities to add satisfaction and convenience to a consumers digital travel experience. Innovative solutions such as wearable boarding passes, usage of smartglasses and smartwatches not only provide real-time insights as enterprise tools for improving business efficiency but will also facilitate seamless travel experiences.

Enabling connectedness with IoT: With today's traveler displaying an almost unquenchable thirst for being connected all the time, industries are exploiting the potential of IoT managed solutions. Gartner predicts that by 2020 around 25 billion devices will be interconnected across the globe. Use of beacon technologies, sensors data etc. can help in generating interesting insights in passenger experiences providing valuable information for improved services and personalization opportunities. These also present the service providers a chance at generating new digital revenue opportunities via ancillaries at every step of the journey. IoT is here to stay and it will be interesting to see how the landscape of the industry will change with future innovations in this space.

Seamless experiences across devices: With the proliferation of wearables and mobile technology, consumers are moving towards a 'spontaneous travel' framework and looking for more on the go solutions. Continuously shifting across devices as they plan their travel and interact with travel providers, travellers today expect seamless experiences giving them the flexibility of searching on one device and finalizing on the other. Providing a consistent experience across devices thus becomes a prime focus area for travel companies and service providers.

Robotics & AI: Customer facing robots, biometric self-service kiosks, virtual assistants and virtual tours are changing the way consumers are planning and exploring their travel options. IDC predicts that worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020. With brands such as Mariott exploring the immersive experience with campaigns such as 'Travel Brilliantly', VR technology can be expected to take off in the near future.

While we wait and watch to see how these technologies advance in the near future, we believe the underlying theme that ties them all is – passenger empowerment. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it's up to airlines and travel service providers to benefit from the opportunities generated by creating persuasive digital travel experiences that facilitate them to better engage and connect with travellers.

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Friday, 21 June 2024

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