Technology Reshaping Travel Industry

By Prasad C G, Ex-AVP - Technology, Next Story Group, Singapore

Prasad C G, Ex-AVP - Technology, Next Story Group, SingaporePrasad C G is a Hospitality Travel Technologist with more than two decades of expertise in the domain.

The technology is growing in much faster pace in the world than someone could imagine. Each moment, one of the other next technology emerges in the domain and make the existing technology obsolete (which was considered as the best till then). This technology progression can be seen in all industries including Travel and Hospitality.

All the new parlance in technology for example Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Machine Learning (ML), Internet Of Things (IOT), Big Data etc has already started impacting the industry in one or the other way. Many partners/organisations have already started adopting products based on these technologies, but still wide spread adaption is taking more time.

With the emergence of new Technology, we could see following new Trends in the Tech Industry emerging across.

• Customisation/personalisation

• Monopolistic approach changing

• Adaption of SaaS

• Accurate Predictability of events

• RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

• Travel Light

“Most of the players are opting to follow asset light mode of business, where the business owner will be either facilitator of the process or business with the use of latest technology”

Customisation/Personalisation

As people are more associated with more technology devices (Mobile) and applications in a day to day life, more user specific data are being generated in the background for the Data Scientists to analyse. These data are helping organisation to customise their product accurately to the need of the end user. This can be very well noticed in the marketing domain of Travel segment. In past, travel product advertisement were made and published for the masses. But as per the new emerging trends, one can see the targeted advertisement/marketing which are matching exactly the same as each individual requirement.

I can list out a precision marketing example that I could demonstrate here which I have experienced recently . We were planning a holiday to Sikkim among our family and the discussion were going on for the same. After a while when my wife looked at her Instagram account, she saw an advertisement for hotel/flight bookings for Sikkim from leading travel service providers in her account. We were amazed to see how the service provider knew our intention to travel without even searching the same in any of the browser. Detailed investigation found that, the microphone in my wife’s phone has provided full access to Instagram App, through which it must have captured the requirement.

This is helping the customers to choose the product without much difficulties and compare the offerings available in the market without any delay.

Monopolistic approach changing

The Technology is no more limited to a group of people or organisation. It is openly available to all; one can not limit the benefits of the new technology to them. In past, technology behemoths charged huge amount for installation, training and customisation of their products. Now the new tech organisation creates products on open platform and lets many a people adapt it in much easy way. They try to simplify the use of application as easy as swiping through a tablet which this helps the application to provide a WoW experience to the user.

Adaption of SaaS

The concept of buying or owning, developing the application for the organisation has become a thing of past. The current trend from the application vendors are to provide the software or application as ‘Software As Service’ (SaaS). This helps the customers to adapt application without spending huge capex, but just pay as they use. This trend is picking up fast in travel space and it is letting the organisation to save huge spends with respect to Capex. SaaS allows organisations to use software/application which were too expensive to use when purchased in an outright manner.

Accurate Predictability of events

Most of the merchandise in Travel & Hospitality industry is highly perishable. It means the shelf life of the products complete soon after its produced. Best example is airline ticket (An unsold flight ticket for a particular airline can not be sold after the Flight is taken off) and Hotel Room (An unsold hotel room of day can not be sold later) This makes it utmost difficult to predict the sale of each product. But due to the excessive use of AI/ML/Big data now technology can accurately predict the demand for the product and set pricings accordingly (Dynamic Pricing). This has given rise to many a Travel & hospitality Service provider choosing to Revenue Management Software for their Pricing strategies.

This technology also helps organisations to predict the demand and plan their inventory accordingly. This helps to reduce unnecessary wastage and optimise the profit.

RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

Travel and Hospitality industry is increasingly automating many a process by adopting the RPA in various tasks and processes. This helps them not only to increase the efficiency in the process but provide a better user experience. One of the areas where RPA is applied is Chatbots.

Travel Light

This is largely seen in many a sector in the Travel and Hospitality industry. Most of the players are opting to follow asset light mode of business, where the business owner will be either facilitator of the process or business with the use of latest technology. This trend makes more innovative initiatives enabling quick business and making the life sweet and simple for the Travellers. Few examples are Uber, Ola, Air BnB , OYO etc.

These organisations are valuated at multibillion dollar due to their strategy, processes and profitability and not because of their value of fixed assets they own. This enumerates the saying in the travel industry as ‘Travel Light for Happy Travel’!!

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