By Rubina Aman
Digital revolution for holidaymakers and technological advances are now changing the entire travel landscape to a more personalised take off. The combination of digital platforms, user-generated content and feedback, social media integration, global positioning services and the use of big data and artificial intelligence has transformed the way people experience travel. An era of DIY travellers has evolved who explore the world through their smartphones and laptops to manage and book travel plans online.
Travel has taken new dimensions today! The traditional travel agencies catering to ‘Holiday Packages,’ to the millennials with their ‘Backpack full of apps,’ are willing to spend for authentic travel adventure.
Even if many of these conventional agencies have witnessed a downfall, but most of them have stepped up at digital innovation, thanks to OTAs (Online Travel Agents) and APIs (Application Programming Interface). Starting from the hotels and flights to cars and buses and even ancillary services like tickets to theatre, museums and local events, there is an API for virtually every area of travel.
Some technologies driven trends have disrupted the travel ecosystem. Growth in the airline industry and cheaper fares, emerging of ‘global currency’ led to an increase in international travel. Automation enabling Self Check In and self boarding are slowly gaining momentum as seamless experiences across the airports.
Simplification of complex visa systems is made through initiatives like e-visa and visa on arrival.
3G, 4G and 5G speed networks are increasingly deployed across the most remote locations – on ground and on air – to meet the ever increasing data consumption needs. Travel apps, portals and websites offer an extraordinary range of unconventional accommodation options with information about features, host ratings and genuine feedback from real travellers.
Loyalty programs with exciting offers, discounts, cashbacks and reward programs increase the frequency of travel, even the last minute bookings and unplanned trips! Onset of E wallets like Paytm and Freecharge greatly impact convenience and faster booking.
Social media popularizing trending destinations with customised choices based on personality types and preferences.
Travel today, is not just about a ‘vacation.’ but more of a lifestyle at a new place. Leisure travellers frequently cover great distances to attend music festivals, film festivals and so on across the globe! There is a gradual increase in the number of MICE travel experiences.
The result of all these digital tools is an intelligent personal travel assistant. Never before such truly global understanding of the world been more important, more accessible!