Different sectors have experienced the reign of technological innovations in different ways, but perhaps it’s the travel sector that has gained more than any other. From search, to bookings, transport, payment, in-room entertainment and even itineraries; the sector continues to enjoy fresh discoveries that would have been passed as wishes not so long ago. Here are five of the current tech-inspired trends taking over the travel and tourism sector.
Rise of the DIY Traveler
The do-it-yourself customer is definitely on the rise. This trend is catapulted by technology, and a tech-savvy Millennial community that seem to prefer clicking to speaking. Travelers are becoming more and more independent, aided by technology that virtually covers all aspects of travel. It’s however important for travel companies to be careful not to lose their human touch, which possibly will be the only thing separating them from a myriad others offering similar service.
Cross-device use during the search and booking process has become the norm more than the exception. Travelers now rely on desktop, tablets, and smartphones to aid in their decision making process. For instance, a study by travel.jumia.com on internal booking trends reveals that, while short stay customers will have no qualms going through the whole process of pre-search and actual booking on a mobile devise, long stay customers are more likely to take their research on a desktop device (bigger screen), while completing their payments via mobile option. The use of cross-device while booking is also supported by the rise in smartphone penetration, mobile payment options and the characteristic convenience book-as-you-go.
Wearable technology is basically pieces of hi-tec solutions that you literally wear around your sleeve, neck, wrist, eyes and the like. The most common of this is perhaps the smartwatch and Google Glass. This advancement in technology allows travelers to perform digital tasks without reaching for their smartphones therefore enriching the whole experience and adventure. It’s now common to spot wrist bands that double up as storage gadgets, bracelets that can monitor heart rate and body activity as well as the futuristic forecast of smart shoes supposed to guide travelers in new cities.
Trending: The Sharing economy
The emergence of ride sharing services, accommodation and even workspace is a high impact trend in the travel sector. Travelers now have the option of booking a hotel, or lodging up with locals who give up some of their extra space to accommodate a ‘stranger’ at an agreed fee. The idea of airbnb.com, couchsurfing.com, Uber ride share and such are great examples of this rapidly rising trend. Travelers also find it useful to pop into shared workspaces that allow per day usage fee if they want to work while on the road. Away from that, it’s now common to find online travel communities formed by members looking to cut on costs by traveling together or taking advantage of group fees.
The Mobile-first Market
Mobile has become the first point of online contact for the larger fraction of the traveling population. It’s convenience also gives a boost to the rising prevalence of mobile bookings. Therefore, adoption of mobile apps by travel companies is vital for both marketing and positioning purposes. Booking apps should be designed with an impressive user experience to enable a hassle-free process when accessing and navigating a company’s website.
By Lillian Gaitho, Jumia Travel