Top 3 Technology Trends That Will Define the Future of Travel

Published April 17th, 2018 - 12:00 GMT
A new report has noted automation, authenticity and blockchain as three major trends for the future of travel. (Shutterstock)
A new report has noted automation, authenticity and blockchain as three major trends for the future of travel. (Shutterstock)

Sabre Corporation, the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has released the Sabre Labs 2018 Emerging Technology Report, its latest technology forecast focused on evolving technologies and trends that will impact travel over the next decade. The report has noted automation, authenticity and blockchain as three major areas for consideration. 

“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 traveler’s experience – is what will drive real innovation across the entire travel ecosystem.

Whether it is A.I. and machine learning to automate and optimize tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences digitally, or using new protocols (such as distributed ledgers) so a traveler can head to the airport and leave their wallet and ID at home – on purpose – tech is going to reshape the travel experience.”

The three major areas Sabre Labs believes will have the most significant impact on the industry are the following:

1) Automation

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.

2) Authenticity

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 digitization 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? We examine and unpack these complex issues.

3) Blockchain

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.

Liken conluded “tomorrow’s travelers have a set of expectations fueled by ubiquitous access to information, smooth transactional experiences, and increasingly personalized offers. There is tremendous opportunity for companies to begin thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s travelers. This report explores how technology can mediate and enhance these interactions – and ultimately make the journey better for everyone.”

Sabre will be showcasing the Sabre Lab Report 2018 findings at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in on April 22-25. 

By Philip Likens

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