Technologies and social change to transform travel by 2020

Technologies and social change to transform travel by 2020

A major new global study released today outlines how transformative technologies and evolving social values and trends will combine to establish a new era of collaborative travel over the next decade and beyond.

The report, ‘From chaos to collaboration: how transformative technologies will herald a new era in travel’, demands increased partnership across the travel industry, in turn removing the stress, uncertainty and chaos which is usually associated with travelling in the 21st Century, as well as providing much richer, deeper and more personal travel experiences at the same time.

Developed by The Futures Company, and commissioned by Amadeus, a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, the report details a clear qualitative shift where service-users become partners rather than customers and where context is as important as the transaction. Of course at the heart of this new era of collaboration is a set of discrete ‘enabling’ technologies and innovations.

Based on extensive research and input from key industry experts - including technologists, leading travel industry representatives, social trends experts and futurists - as well as quantitative traveller research in Brazil, China, Russia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, the study explores six key areas in which future technology and innovation could be deployed.

Key findings
• The next generation of experience: Travel is increasingly about depth rather than breadth of experience. Technologies such as augmented reality, gamification mechanisms and smart mobile devices will transform the travel experience
• Automatic transit: Checking-in could become the exception rather than the norm, with the rise of faster and more efficient identity management systems. Chips, biometrics, long range fingerprinting and near field communications (NFC) can be deployed in a more integrated way to fast-forward how people move around
• Payment with memory: All data on payments made before and during a trip will be integrated, acting as a digital memory of expenditure and activity for individuals, groups and travel industry operators. Intelligent passenger records, ‘digital breadcrumbs’ and contactless technologies could be used to personalise and bundle services delivering higher value and more profitable relationships
• Intelligent recommendation: As technologies make it easier for people to tag and review all aspects of travel experiences, travellers will be more influenced by peer groups and expert curators. The prospect of personal travel guides and mobile tour representatives will give travellers the tools they need to enrich their experience
• Taking the stress out of travel: The wellbeing agenda and changing demographics will place greater emphasis on removing travel stress. Intelligent luggage tags and tickets will give greater reassurance whilst m-Health (mobile-Health) applications will allow travellers to manage and monitor their health and wellbeing as if they were at home
• The business tourist: Continued emphasis on work-life balance and wellbeing at work may see the rise of the business tourist which will demand speed and efficiency as well as a home-away-from-home

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According to Eberhard Haag, Executive Vice President, Global Operations, Amadeus: “Over the next decade, there is a significant opportunity to redefine how the industry delivers and packages services to meet changing traveller needs. Key to this is more intelligent information exchange, a willingness to challenge the status quo and greater two-way partnership between travellers and travel players. We are committed to stimulating debate within the travel sector about how the world is changing, what travellers will increasingly expect and how the industry can evolve in a way that secures growth and profitability for our customers’ future success.”

Andrew Curry, Director and Co-author, The Futures Company said: “We wanted to avoid making techno-centric assumptions about the future of travel - and painting a picture of flying cars and intelligent robots in a world that is otherwise unchanged from today. You can’t make an intelligent or realistic prediction about the effect of technology without considering infrastructure, systems and business models, as well as social values and trends. We hope that this study will challenge, provoke and stimulate thinking around how we will all be travelling in the future.”