Looking forward to our future

Despite shifting consumer behaviour and demographics, rapidly realigning markets, changing destinations, sustainability concerns, rising wealth and significant shifts in technology will combine to redefine what it means to be in any consumer facing industry. As a result, the entire emerging travel ecosystem will need to be innovated, renewed and reimagined.

According to a new report by the Institute of Travel and Tourism, despite these challenges, the overall picture remains incredibly bright for those who adapt and drive digital transformation to help overcome the barriers to success.

Among the future trends that travel professionals need to adapt to cater to are:

  • Smartphones, wearables, embedded sensors, and other connected devices will all be used by consumers and suppliers alike. For many, this will require technological investment and the requisite changes in organisational culture and mindset that this implies —and a new culture and mind-set.
  • By 2017, 30 percent of online travel value is expected to be made on mobile devices, yet it is possible that just three years later, artificial interfaces could take over, effectively replacing smartphones as a user interface. AI will take over many common activities, such as searching the Internet, getting travel guidance, and as personal assistant. Under this scenario, we would effectively see a paradigm shift in terms of where consumers get their information from and in what form.
  • By 2020, advanced conversational smart agents and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) could handle 40 percent of mobile interactions autonomously, and the post-app era will be in full swing. In effect, today’s advanced analytics programs are tomorrow’s smartphone apps – or app replacing smart agents.
  • The trend towards smart agents is indicative of a broader shift towards more virtual forms of user interface. Wearables could migrate to less intrusive forms such as contact lenses within five years. Aural wearables could also revolutionise travel, with some tech experts suggesting that ‘within a decade or so, we’ll be able to communicate with one another via small earpieces with built-in microphones’ thus rendering languages barriers mute.
  • A world where instead of looking at a screen, consumers will become accustomed to virtual environments that constantly supplement their world. Travel agents must embrace digital and virtual reality to survive by for example using VR to highlight excursions.

To read the full report on what we can expect in the future, click here