Travel and Leisure Industry is one of the most affected industries by the recent pandemic. With travel restrictions all around the world, the travel industry was in a catch-22 situation, where they could neither operate flights nor ask the staff to work-from-home. It wasn’t a desk job that could be done remotely from any location. The challenge was to find solutions that could help in social distancing and avoid physical contact.
IT industry has helped organizations to embrace digital transformation. This has resulted in enhancing operational efficiency and building economies of scale. With initiatives such as digitization of the payments landscape already in place, it was only a matter of integrating them with processes of the travel industry and enabling the adoption of new digital tools.
Business travel has been an essential component for the success of organizations. Because of its perceived importance, it has become a multibillion-dollar industry. With business travel streamlined, the travel business is reinventing itself. More organizations are leveraging technology to improve their processes, communication, data management, operations, and services.
Technology in the travel industry
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is critical in many automation initiatives, which will dramatically change the travel industry. Predictive analytics helps travel operators and suppliers to understand customers’ behavior and preferences. It can also be an excellent travel assistant. It can also suggest best travel recommendations based on customer’s travel patterns.
Automation is trending in the travel business, offering a range of solutions for the industry, from booking flights or hotels to advertising and real-time information. It makes travel business management simple, less costly, and more efficient.
Blockchain will help ensure a safe and convenient travel experience. Travel organizations that rely on the exchange of customer information will benefit from the security that blockchain technology provides. By decentralizing data security through a chain of secure and permanent blocks, corporate information will be secure and safe. Blockchain also paves the way for crypto-currencies to slowly gain traction in online payments by hotels, travel organizations, and airlines.
Virtual Reality (VR) enables travelers to personalize their hotel room preferences or get a virtual experience of their destination. It is a promising trend that will transform the travel industry and the nature of travel as we know it.
Steps to Digital Transformation
There is great difficulty in rolling out new technologies and alternative modes of operation as there are discrepancies from operator to operator, airport to airport, and regulator to regulator. The industry must, therefore, become more aligned in its vision for the future to ensure it can move forward and deliver a more seamless travel experience for the customer.
The future of the travel industry is connectivity, but it is notoriously fragmented. From a technology perspective, there is a minefield of API structures. Establishing best practice, consistency, and enabling systems to talk to each other could make a very positive impact.
- A seamless, contactless experience
The global health crisis has amplified the need to move towards a contactless travel experience. The travel industry has been moving towards digitization slowly, but this has now been accelerated by the need to protect customers. Reduced waiting times, biometric IDs, and paperless journeys – all have their part to play. This shift also benefits the overall customer experience by paving the way for greater personalization with increased data touchpoints.
An industry-wide effort
The industry has been presented with an opportunity to reinvent itself, but there is a recognition that this is too big for any organization to tackle alone. It requires cooperation from across the industry, as well as support from the government.
Technology and the pandemic have made businesses rethink their travel strategies. Over the next twenty years, the airline industry is set to witness double the number of customers. With travel becoming an important source of revenue for many countries, the need to make it seamless becomes imperative so as to attract more customers. And the IT industry, along with new-age technologies, will help build the underlying infrastructure and prepare the travel industry for the next take-off.