The future of travel has been a hot topic in recent weeks. Skyscanner published a report on how they perceive travellers in 2024 to behave and the technology that will be used. It is very interesting and worth a read. Since attending The Phocuswright Conference, we also have some ideas and opinions on the future of travel technology.
Technology will remarkably improve over the next few years. In our last blog, we wrote about the imminent presence of bots and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) used in the travel industry. The latest in chatbot technology found in Lola is a great example of current capabilities.
Travel Chatbot Technology
Chatbot technology uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and very intelligent programming (not Artificial Intelligence). It can communicate with the user, answer questions and deliver content in a smooth and hopefully seamless way. This type of technology is clearly going to be useful to a certain degree and will eventually evolve into real A.I..
As you can imagine, Google is taking a piece of this pie with their new smartphone named ‘Pixel’. And for sure, you will see many more hitting the screens of your smartphone very soon.
But, in the future you are more likely to use your voice than your fingers. We are currently in the ‘swipe era’, where your devices are controlled by swiping up, down, left or right and tapping here and there. The next generation however, will grow up in a voice activated era. Everything will be controlled by talking at the device. Voice activated devices have been around for many years, (since the 50’s believe it or not) but these days they are much more intelligent, and the future will only get better.
Google’s Pixel, for example has a pretty good voice activated assistant which will help you plan your travel itinerary – all without the need to touch the screen. Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ is another example of excellent use of voice command technology.
In most cases, technology in the future is undoubtedly going to be extremely useful and efficient. However, the other side of coin could have mixed feelings by the traveller. Hilton have an impressive Robot Concierge named Connie which helps answer questions posed by guests. A concierge that has limitless information, accessible instantly is clearly going to be useful. But at what point does technology takeover the experience?
From a business point of view, it is obviously a lot more cost effective to have employees that do not require breaks, food or even a salary. But at what cost is this to ‘good old customer service’ and the ‘personal touch’? In 50 years’ time, will there be any human interaction at all?
Science and technology has moved leaps and bounds in the last decade, to imagine where we will be in 20 or 50 years’ time is mind-boggling. What do you think the future will hold in terms of travel technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.