Tech tourism, where to from here…
has come a long way since the digital revolution made its mark in the travel
industry. We have become accustomed to booking at the click of a finger,
learning of a new destination or experience from a shared post. While this has
not changed throughout the pandemic, the evident change is the technology
behind the scenes that enhances the online journey. With significant tech
trends responding with agility to unpredictable and varying circumstances
globally, we share the top tech travel trends for the year ahead.
What role does technology play?
As a direct result of uncertainty, customers are booking trips at short notice and leaving flexibility for what is available once arriving at a destination. Traditionally, with longer planning times, a travel agent could assist, now with more spontaneous travel and locally-driven tourism, visitor centres with online booking facilities have regained relevance.
Visitors Centres across Australia and New Zealand reported a yearly (2020 vs. 2021) increase of +158% in bookings made via local centres.
Through technology like API, real-time information can be fed and adapted across platforms, essentially empowering travel companies and visitor centres to have concise, streamlined information at their fingertips. With any official government announcement or vaccine update, consumers act, with operators seeing spikes in search and bookings. The travel industry often has a reactive response to health requirements, physical limitations, and business operation methods.
A new era of tech tourism
Realistically, there is now a new way of traveling, and we share some innovative examples of what we can expect to see more of:
- Digital health documents. With the EU's decision on COVID-19 "green" certificates aimed to avoid discrimination and warmer weather approaching, people are keen to regain some normality in the freedom of movement with reduced exposure to COVID. Travel Daily News mentions that; 76% of potential travellers would be as or more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires proof of the COVID-19 vaccine (such as a vaccine passport), according to a new study by The Points Guy.
- The experience economy. While this is not a new trend, the acceleration of online experiences is. Airbnb has had to diversify its offering and confirm that 'online experiences meet a need and bring joy to our community in a way that can extend well beyond the pandemic.' Keeping with the theme of live experience interaction, we also see immersive theatre and game shows online such as Morpheus Show UK. Virtual tours are also growing in popularity and fulfilling travel dreams of exploring more than 3,000 miles of the Great Wall of China or strolling through the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
- Contactless travel. Service providers such as GOKI offer contactless guest management paired with the traveler-facing app that turns guest's phones into their SmartKey for the duration of their stay while also providing contactless self-check-in and notifications once the room is ready. Guests can fill in registration details, verify their ID, and pay their balance without the need for a reception desk. They can also book local experiences through the app, streamlining the process for hostels reception and travellers alike.
Where to from here…
improve exposure, encourage communication, support omnichannel marketing and lower
operational costs. It empowers companies to achieve what they set out to
do and allows them to be creative while maintaining a high level of
For many more travel companies, the concept of modernising internal operations via digital technologies and mobile solutions was important but not a near-term imperative. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that there is no better moment than now to incorporate new technology in every aspect of their business - from having a user-friendly website, active social media to online bookings and distribution.
As restrictions ease and consumers adapt to change, the benefit of technological advancements to the future of tourism will enhance experiences and process efficiencies. Travel companies taking the needed steps now will be the ones to prevail and be part of the new era of travel.