Talk of the tech revolution in travel is no longer hypothetical - over the next 12 months travel will witness continual change.
New tools, solutions and expertise, plus easier transitions through airports and the opportunity to travel with less luggage, are all creating headlines.
With global travel increasing, expectations among both companies and individual travellers are higher than ever when it comes to having a smooth travel experience.
The travel industry is evolving rapidly to meet ever-changing demands.
The Amadeus 2023 Travel Trends identify five new developments which the company believes will play a part in shaping travel over the coming year.
The annual travel trends were identified by the expertise of Amadeus’ team of travel tech experts.
They have identified that, while technology is a major driver of change, and Web3 and biometrics will have a big part to play, human relationships are equally important.
The trends are all connected to personal and societal concerns, from the desire to travel with a lighter ecological footprint to the desire for more people to be free to work from anywhere.
Daniel Batchelor, vice president, global corporate marketing, communications and social responsibility, Amadeus, said: “The world used to predict technology’s impact on travel in an entirely physical way, visualising ever bigger and faster modes of transport.
“The future is now here, and it looks very different.
“People want to reduce their impact on the planet, while putting human relationships and wider society first.
“In this exciting new reality technology is enabling us to reach these goals. The metaverse, biometrics and traveller expectations from the travel industry are combining to shift the landscape rapidly.
“It is an incredibly exciting time for the industry.”
So, what changes are in store?
In the coming years, the metaverse will take traveller engagement to the next level.
Travellers will be able to enjoy deeper cultural experiences in an online world, exploring virtual concerts and exhibitions.
The technology also offers enormous potential for pre-trip assistance and the opportunity to “try before you buy,” creating further wanderlust and excitement.
This will become increasingly popular as a way to trial higher-priced items such as luxury cruise holidays.
Walt Disney Co. has plans to create a real-world theme park ride which incorporates a parallel 3D virtual world experience, while Seoul is blazing a trail with its plans to go “meta” by 2023, with a platform titled “Metaverse Seoul”.
Qatar Airways, meanwhile, recently announced Qverse with a MetaHuman cabin crew, providing an immersive experience to tour, navigate and check-in at Hamad International Airport.
Smile for a smooth travel payment experience
Biometric payments – via the likes of ApplePay and GooglePay – are now mainstream for both retail and travel payments.
But over the coming years, travel is likely to take biometric payments to the next level.
Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification, so the logical next step is to leverage this identity check for any payments travellers make during their trip.
No more rooting around in a handbag for your wallet so you can upgrade to business class.
If a traveller is using biometrics to check-in, drop off luggage, and board the plane, then these identity checks could double-up to cover payments they could make while traveling, like adding an in-flight meal, delivering a smooth payment experience.
Airports and travel operators will offer a completely contactless and convenient payment experience for passengers with the use of biometrics, at all points of the journey.
From paying for train tickets to seat upgrades, in-flight meals or late checkout at the hotel, with biometrics, travellers worldwide will use convenient, more secure, biometric payment solutions.
Taking the words “traveling light” to the next level
A combination of customers becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and cost of checked-in luggage is slimming down suitcases.
Multiple trolley-loads of designer luggage are no longer a status symbol – quite the opposite.
Hotels and resorts are increasingly offering the hire of bulky items, such sports equipment and workout clothes.
Those who do are also seeking to do so from hyper local suppliers in order to be all the more popular with tourists.
Alongside this, travellers are looking to buy essentials from the local destination, supporting and engaging with the community in the process and further ensuring they have meaningful travel experiences.
Working from roam
Remote workers will settle into an increasingly nomadic lifestyle, migrating to different locations.
We will see workforces spend less time at their homes due to the widespread corporate formalisation of “work from anywhere” policies.
Workers will opt to spend time with friends and family in their domestic market or might spend a month working abroad.
From a governmental perspective, we will see the continued rise of countries encouraging digital nomads through visa schemes and incentives.
Countries including Georgia, Croatia, Iceland and Germany have already created official schemes to attract digital nomads.
Welcome to bonding business breaks
Business travel is back, with a difference.
Over the past few years, many companies have introduced work from anywhere policies. With this has come the challenge of team bonding and collaboration.
As a result, we are witnessing an uptick in “internal travel” plans, where teams are brought together for the express purpose of strengthening relationships.
American Express Global Business Travel even published a paper titled ‘Why Business Travel is at the centre of the New Company Culture’.
With employee experience being more important now than ever, team travel programs will increase exponentially as they are a good way to motivate teams, improve employee satisfaction, strengthen company loyalty, and unlock creativity.