How Technology is Changing the Travel Industry by Irma Hunkeler
Years ago the route to booking our summer holiday (or any travel arrangements at all) was to speak to a travel agent, buy a guidebook and get our spending money from a Bureau de Change. Today, with a wealth of technological advances at our disposal, it is much easier.
Here are five ways that technology is changing not only the way we book our holidays, but the way in which we travel:
The Birth of the Smartphone
Today’s society is connected 24/7 which is having a massive impact on how we prepare for travel. More and more, people are using websites, interactive guides and travel forums to find the quirkiest places to go and most exciting things to do. We no longer have to carry around a cumbersome guidebook – all we need to do is access our smartphones. Most mobiles can do everything from book holidays, to obtain foreign currency. Plus, with so many comparison websites on hand to help out, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find a good deal. For hotels, sites such as booking.com provide a user-friendly experience; for car hire, sites like easycar.com compare all the rental giants for you. As Wi-Fi and mobile data is now available so widely, when you need to find your way around – why carry around large maps when all you need to do is open Google Maps?
Make Your own Bespoke Travel Plans
In the past we would rely on a travel agent or tour operator to help plan and book our travel arrangements. Today, we can do all this ourselves right down to booking our own flights and accommodation online and using relevant websites to plan everything we want to see and do. So significant is this change that research suggests that up to 80% of people now book their travel arrangements and holidays online, with nine out of ten travellers undertaking extensive research for their holidays and travel online.
The Rise of Digital Currency
The most popular form of digital currency is Bitcoin, and it is used by many tech-savvy travellers. Just a few years ago two holidaymakers showed that it was possible to travel all over the world using nothing but Bitcoin currency – newlyweds Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham travelled for 100 days on the road through America, Europe and Asia surviving only on Bitcoin for their entire trip!
The Growth of the Sharing Economy
The past two years has seen a huge rise in the popularity of sharing platforms . This new form of economy has helped widen the scope of travel and increase competition, resulting in better service quality for travellers. It also increases options if you are trying to travel far off the beaten path and experience something different. And the best part? In most cases, these services are provided by local, knowledgeable people which can help make your travel experience that much more authentic and real.
The Popularity of Virtual Reality
Today it is possible for you to get a feel for somewhere you want to visit without leaving the comfort of your own home. Instead of flicking through endless brochures you can simply put on a virtual reality headset and in a flash –you are there! Travel companies are offering virtual reality experiences of destinations with 360 degree videos, scenic virtual tours and spectacular visual content. This isn’t simply a cool concept: the availability of this type of virtual content helps bring more transparency to customers, knowing their transaction is secure and they will be getting the experience they pay for.