Ray Nolan, CEO and founder of Web Reservations International, discussed how technology will play a major role in the future of youth travel, speaking at the annual Hostelworld.com Conference in the Hilton Hotel Dublin. Basing his comments on a recent Hostelworld.com survey, Nolan noted that more than 80 percent of youth travelers carry a mobile phone, 86 percent travel with a digital camera and a surprising 21 percent even take a laptop computer on their trips.
Recognizing that backpackers are often ahead of the curve when it comes to technology advances, Hostelworld.com anticipated this trend and as a result currently offers short message service (SMS) confirmations to backpackers on the road. Hostelworld.com also helps hostel owners make their sites i-mode compliant so backpackers can book through cell phones and create on-the-go travel guide Podcasts.
“Our customers embrace new technologies. When we offer SMS confirmations to a phone and mobile accommodation booking, the take-up is impressive. Most hostels now also offer wireless Internet access. And it’s not unusual to see backpackers traveling with laptops,” said Nolan in his keynote opening remarks.