Automation, authenticity and blockchain are the three major technology trends that will impact travel over the next decade, reveals Sabre Labs 2018 Emerging Technology Report.
“Increasingly, people are coming to understand that the travel business is really a technology business,” said Philip Likens, director of Sabre Labs.
“Even the simplest journey generates huge amounts of data. Collecting, indexing and understanding that data – and how we apply that understanding to improve every traveller’s experience – is what will drive real innovation across the entire travel ecosystem.
“Whether it is A.I. and machine learning to automate and optimise tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences digitally, or using new protocols (such as distributed ledgers) so a traveller can head to the airport and leave their wallet and ID at home – on purpose – technology is going to reshape the travel experience.”
Here’s a quick summary of the three major areas:
Automation is not a new idea. However, advancements in A.I. and machine learning offer the potential for step-changes in how we may be served in our digital environment. Awareness and cognitive capacity for machines suggest a huge range of opportunities for those serving the travel space to completely rethink when and what to sell, how to staff and operate their businesses, and how to anticipate and exceed their own customers’ needs.
In our current age, trust is in low supply – so authenticity and authentic experiences are more valuable than ever. At the same time, businesses increasingly need to rely on technology and digitisation to interact with their customers at scale. But is technology in tension with authenticity? Is digital the enemy of the real? And how can we reconcile augmented and virtual realities with authenticity?
Huge volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has been dominating headlines but serve to overshadow the value in the underlying blockchain technology. Separating crypto hype from the actual potential of distributed ledger technology – which enable secure, “trustless” transactions to take place – can be hard to do. But there is significant promise for blockchain as it relates to travel, not the least of which is this: imagine heading off on a round-the-world trip without having to bring your passport or wallet.
Likens concluded: “Tomorrow’s travellers have a set of expectations fuelled by ubiquitous access to information, smooth transactional experiences, and increasingly personalised offers. There is tremendous opportunity for companies to begin thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s travellers.