Remember the last time you tried to get in touch with a travel agent to book your flight tickets? Neither do we. It is also a blessing that the trips we make to the consulate or embassy of a country every time we want to travel is leaden with far lower uncertainty as compared to even a decade ago. Just look up on the internet for Schengen visa requirements and voila! you now have enough information to go better prepared when you apply for a visa to Europe.
Thanks to the integration with technological solutions, the concept of tourism has changed dramatically in the last decade. Online booking has been just the first milestone in what is defined as ‘travel technology’ by many. Ranging from use of Artificial Intelligence to Virtual Reality to Cloud Computing to Drones, the new tourism technology trends are ready to redesign the travel experience to make it more convenient, automated and personalized. In this article, we look at top five such trends that are going to shape the travel industry in the future.
- Robotics for passenger comfort
The possibility of employing robots to save you from long queues at the airport is no longer a distant reality. Geneva airport has been testing a check-in robot named Leo that is programmed to collect luggage from busy passengers and check them in. It can carry two suitcases at a time and print baggage tags. Thanks to advanced programming, Leo (named after the famous Leonardo da Vinci) is fully autonomous and sidesteps hurdles while navigating through a congested Geneva airport.
- Biometric boarding pass
This system has already been implemented in selected airport terminals in the US and Australia. Instead of carrying a boarding passport or pulling out the passport every time you enter or exit the country, register to use a SmartGate. It is a boarding gate that lets travellers onto the airplane after scanning their face that should match their passport photo and other stored personal details.
- Cloud computing
Australia is already trying to phase out the traditional passport for ‘cloud passport’ that would work by securing the biometric data of passengers on cloud storage. The idea of passport-free travelling was taken up for security measures after as many as 38,718 Australians complained about stolen and lost passports in 2014-15, much like 38,689 such missing reports in the previous year. This world-first move was announced by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.
- Drone Photography
To explain it in simple terms, camera-mounted drones are the new selfie sticks. They provide such stunning aerial photographs that normal mobile and hand-held camera can never manage. With the price of drones coming down and manufacturers making them easier-to-use, the popularity of these devices has peaked remarkably this year. However, a new user might want to take formal training and check with the local authorities on flying rules, licensing requirement and no-fly zones. Flying over people and national parks is generally a strict no-no.
- Use of Virtual Reality
The hotel industry is already trying VR to sell stay packages at exotic locations. Take the Marriot group, for example. In 2015, they introduced “VRoom Service” – a first-of-its-kind guest service that allows guests to order VR experiences to their rooms. The idea is to let guests explore destinations and encourage them to plan their next travel, hopefully with the same hotel chain.
Many airlines also use similar strategy to woo passengers to book into their business and first-class cabins. VR is, in fact, the most promising trend among young entrepreneurs in the travel sector.
Above everything else, trends in the travel industry are focussed on personalization and affordability. With travel companies get ready to cater to more travellers demanding personalized services, the era of personalised travel is here to stay.
|This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.|