Every year, the travel industry takes an evolutionary step forward, as companies offer innovative solutions to the inevitable problems we face in our everyday lives. But the changes ahead for the future are more than just improvements. 2016 will be a year of expanding horizons. People want to feel more and more at home in unknown places where they travel to and want tools that simplify the travel experience for them.
Here’s a few trends that are quickly changing today’s travel landscape and are likely to drive the industry forward in 2016:
1) Sharing Economy
One of the biggest disruptive forces last year, we think that the ‘sharing economy’ will grow even bigger this year and pose a major threat to the traditional travel businesses. The basic idea is to use available resources more efficiently, whether this is accommodation, car transportation or other activities. The sharing economy is absolutely disruptive and is changing how we use things. The impact on travel is huge and might as well hurt the existing businesses in the travel industry if they soon do not adapt to the emerging new trends.
Airbnb, Homeaway and BlaBlaCar are three such ventures which have become very successful and they seem to be dictating the future of traveling and accommodation that might be cheaper for the travelers and give a better opportunity to them to feel like a local while abroad.
2) VR in Destination marketing
Once reserved for gamers, virtual-reality technology is now giving new meaning to armchair travel. It is a new and unique way to experience your preferred destination for travel. Of course, travelers who are booking vacations are the end target. Virtual reality gives you a 360-degree experience — immersing you in the extraordinary travel opportunities from raw wilderness to refined cities
3) Wearable Technology
(Image courtesy: Tripcase.com)
In the last couple of years, our smartphones have served as navigators, translators, itinerary managers, and taxi summoners, getting us into fully booked restaurants and double as our wallets. However, 2016 will likely be the year of the ‘wearables’. Smartwatches took off in 2015, with Samsung and Apple leading the way, performing pretty much the same functions as smartphones but on smaller screens you can wear on your wrists.
With more and more travel apps being made available for smartwatches, you can now check the weather, get boarding pass reminders and updates, scan QR codes and check your hotel and flight reservations – all in a powerful piece of wearable technology. Oh wait, did we mention Google Glass?
4) Hotel makeovers
Technology will have a dramatic impact on hotels in the future, according to a top researcher. The hotel room of the future could be very different to today. The three most likely developments in the near future are automated check-in, individual choice of a specific room and individual energy-efficient lighting.
Further in the future, guests might be able to use speech-control to adjust their hotel room settings such as lighting and heating, or even design their own rooms by selecting the bed type, bathroom design and images on wall-sized screens. Other ideas for the future include ‘pay-per-use’ hotels and use of robots for simple tasks.
5) Social Media
Social Media was big in 2015 and it will only get bigger in 2016. Our social media profiles will open doors and unlock deals at hotels, and connect us with useful business contacts while we’re traveling. Hotels, meanwhile, will find new ways to help us sleep better. They are becoming more transparent by incorporating customer feedback, using social media reviews and improving customer communications.
6) Responsible tourism
We’ll visit resorts and travel with companies where the bottom line is measured by how much goes back into local communities. With the rising global warming tourism without hurting the sensitive flora and fauna and culture will be on our agenda. And we’ll make the world our classroom, attending workshops, salons, and conferences on how to make travel more socially responsible across the globe.
7) Localized feel
Travelers today want to mingle with the locals and explore the activities and customs native of the place they are visiting. They want to have a more localized experience. Technology once thought to be detrimental to authentic travel experiences is now helping travelers connect and scout out local encounters.
Travel start-ups geared to local experiences are popping up, one such start up connects hosts who love to cook with travelers who want a taste of local cuisine, and another one provides travelers with homes abroad so they can truly live like a local while on vacation.
8) Stronger focus on Customer Experience
The roll out of Boeing’s new overhead Space Bin luggage compartments—promising a faster, easier airplane boarding process—and the rise of even-more-comfortable premium economy cabins to tempt us from the increasingly pinched back of the plane are some innovative and passenger friendly offers to attract more travelers.
After the success of peer-to-peer accommodation like Airbnb and HomeAway, the sharing economy concept is moving into the food sector in a big way.
Low-cost airlines continue to be the most successful sector in air travel, and their business model is being embraced by many other airlines.
With better economic growth and rising wages and better living conditions people will save more and travel and tourism industry will continue to thrive globally.
TravelCarma is an experienced travel technology brand with expertise in equipping travel businesses worldwide with state of the art, mobile enabled e-commerce solutions with their own branding, online reservation systems, back-office and mid-office systems and access to global inventory.