As the travel and tourism industry waits patiently for a revival post the Covid-led crisis, I see the role of technology to be amplified in a major way. Technology, like in many other industries – health-tech, edu-tech, etc. will transform the travel journey end-to-end. And more than anything, the temporary reset is a great opportunity for innovators to reimagine and redefine travel to create value propositions for both customers and the industry players.
As I gaze into 2021 and beyond, I see some clear trends emerging in the space of travel personalization and the role of technology to drive the focus on customer-centricity.
Customers want what’s relevant to them at the right time and in the right context. And from an industry’s perspective, the complex nature and various stages of travel planning are hardly customer-centric at all. People go to different platforms to be inspired (Instagram), search for information (TripAdvisor), and then, once they decide, book on other platforms (Booking, Expedia, etc.). The fragmented travel planning is an area that I see is ripe for technology disruption. And an area that we, at trippal, are intentionally focused upon – reimagining the customer decision journey process and building POCs on an AI-based cognitive context-based recommender system with support from industry partners like Dubai Tourism via Intelak.
Another area that I am very enthusiastic about is the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) and its ability to disrupt the travel landscape and redefine how we travel. Imagine not having to rely on images and reviews, which are more often sponsored by the property than not, and being able to virtually walk through accommodation. You get to check out real-time all that the hotel has on offer for its guests! Companies are working on great AR concepts to give customers entire tours of cities, and that too with an AR guide for the company.
With Covid and the emphasis on safety, it’s not surprising to see the energy within the IoT, Internet of Things, space to solve the problems that have arisen with the need for contactless travel. Therefore, with the ‘devices’ getting ‘smarter’, responsiveness is more, and personalization is easier. The devices touch almost all aspects of our lives and help merge the physical and digital worlds. It’s the IoT that helps hotels connect pretty much everything in a hotel room from the lights to the air conditioning with one device.
And I see possibilities that IOT will help integrate the travel ecosystem as the concept of seamless – contactless travel needs to spur continuous innovation. Definitely what was a mere convenience till 2020 and has become critical to travel is contactless payment and services. Future technology hopes to tap into recognition technology to limit contact and make interactions more seamless. Be it accessing your room or settling bills, recognition technology will progressively tap into fingerprint, facial, and other biometric identifiers to move to a contactless experience.
In conclusion the innovation and the competition in the market, are making travel today, more efficient, affordable, and accessible for all. It’s an interesting space and time to be in today. And at trippal, we are increasingly investing resources to explore emerging technologies that can enable us to solve the customers’ pain points and unlock happiness in their lives.
Sushanta is a nomad at heart who loves to travel and experience diverse cultures across the globe. As the Founder & CEO of trippal, Sushanta’s vision is to interlink the dots of domestic travel in a way that has never been done before. To unlock happiness in people’s lives and allow them to create magical and memorable moments that lasts a life-time !
Professionally, his 23+ years of experience is an intersection of travel retail operations, business strategy, consumer-inspired creative thinking and technology. Education-wise, he has an MBA from Essec, Paris and an M.Sc of Business Analytics at NYU, New York. Apart from India, he has stayed and worked in Paris, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.