As leading travel technology developers working with both industry giants and startup travel businesses, we gain a unique 360-degree view of trends and emerging themes within the sector.
As we approach the close of 2019 - a year that has seen the highest ever global investment in Travel Technology - we take a look at some key predictions for what is in store for the sector as we enter 2020.
Tackling the first mile/last mile travel problem head-on
The travel applications that are installed on most people's devices all have the same problem; they only cater for part of a travellers' journey. While the leading players have fought valiantly to dominate their own market segments, this has been at the expense of ultimate convenience for the traveller.
Let’s take a typical international business trip organised by a senior manager of a small UK business. This single trip could easily involve a taxi, a train, a flight and a hotel. In most cases, this would involve the use of four separate applications.
The customer could be forced to open Trainline to book their train to the airport, Uber to order a taxi to the train station, Skyscanner to reserve their flight and then Airbnb to find a place to stay.
Commuters and small business travellers are going to start to demand greater efficiency in this process, and as the rise of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) sees greater reliance on on-demand transportation options, consumers are going to seek all-in-one solutions that enable a single seamless booking experience. We predict major players will seek to extend their core offering with first and last-mile integrations to facilitate a true door-to-door consumer booking experience.
Travel chatbots become mainstream
Whilst ‘Artificial intelligence’ and ‘Machine learning’ have now made their way firmly into mainstream discourse, few consumers recognise the impact these technologies are already having on their day-to-day lives.
Whether its Facebook showing you suspiciously specific adverts, Google completing the end of your sentences or Amazon knowing what you’ll buy next before you do, automated data-driven technologies are already impacting your life; for better or for worse.
Enter the travel chatbot. Good customer service remains fundamental in travel, and sophisticated travel chatbots utilising AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing will pave the way for significantly reduced overheads, quicker response times and proactive personalised messaging that delights consumers.
Whether you are requesting a refund on your unused train tickets, checking for flight delays or requesting extra pillows before you arrive at your hotel, travel chatbots will increasingly replace expensive human resource and drive efficiencies and possibilities for an increasingly demanding and on-demand society.
Eco-friendly travel takes centre stage as travellers grow more conscious
As people begin to focus in on the impact their actions and behaviours have on the planet, travellers will increasingly become conscious of low-carbon planet-friendly travel.
While modes of travel are already changing - as is evident by the remarkable rise of electric vehicles and adoption of electric bikes and scooters - existing modes of travel will need to look to technology solutions to pacify increasingly conscientious consumers.
Leading travel tech providers will look to (or potentially be forced to) make people more aware of the impact of their travel, and solutions will emerge to enable effective and transparent offsetting programmes to minimise traveller guilt, support global governmental targets and stay relevant in a world where sustainability will be expected as standard.
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