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These three technology trends will define the future of travel

6 min read

Automation, authenticity and blockchain are three technology trends that will define the future of travel as we know it… Here is a break down of how it will do just that.

1. Automation

Although automation is not a new idea, advancements in artificial and machine learning offer the potential for step-changes in how services are delivered in the digital environment.

Automation will change how services are delivered, (Image credit: PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock-Getty Images)

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.

2. Authenticity

“Authenticity” has emerged as a buzzword across culture and is being peddled as the cure-all for everything from politics to tacos, states the report. In a digital world 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.

In the travel industry, for example, leisure travellers are seeking destinations and brands able to provide authentic experiences such as reliving a 1960s peace protest or providing whole-grain, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO foods for the morning breakfast buffet.

A guaranteed seat on a flight – an authentic experience for business travellers (Image credit: opolja/iStock-Getty Images)

Similarly, business travellers are seeking brands that are authentic in providing dependability and consistency in what they promise — whether that’s a guaranteed seat on a flight or a mid-sized rental car ready and waiting for an on-time pickup

In this section the report “examines and unpack “complex issues such as whether technology is in tension with authenticity, or if digital is the enemy of the real.

3. Blockchain

“2017 was the year blockchain exploded into public consciousness, led by the crypto-millionaires and billionaires riding an early wave of cryptocurrency investment; the conversation was around how to get a piece of the market and how high it might go,” Sabre says as it explores this technology.

The 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.

Blockchain could be implemented across every industry. (Image credit: Zapp2Photo/iStock-Getty Images)

“Beyond cryptocurrencies, we’ll see a lot of real world implementations of blockchain across virtually every industry as companies and individuals experiment with how this new technology can add security and efficiency to real world problems,” the technology company points out.

It also sees “significant promise for blockchain as it relates to travel”, envisaging a future when travellers head off on a round-the-world trip without having to bring a passport or wallet.

Philip Likens, director of Sabre Labs, notes that increasingly people are starting to understand that the travel business is really a technology business.

“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 AI 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 – tech is going to reshape the travel experience.”

Featured image credit: bowie15/iStock-Getty Images

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