Three Near-Term Travel Industry Technology Trends
All too often, travelers are faced with travel-related challenges, such as lost baggage or missed flights. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that almost 20 percent of all flights in 2017 were either delayed or canceled, with over 11,000 diverted. When these problems occur, airlines are typically not doing enough to communicate effectively with customers.
Airlines need to improve their communication with customers to be successful. Most everyone today has a mobile device; we’re all plugged in, all the time. Airlines already have the technology they need to communicate effectively with customers; it is critical that they utilize and expand on technological revolution as it applies to improving customer service.
For example, Delta Airlines now has a service that sends customers a text message to help them track their baggage. This type of customer service will increase brand loyalty and cause customers to choose a particular airline even if a lower-cost option is available.
Here are three ways the travel industry will utilize technology to improve their services.
- Data and the Internet-of-Things (IoT)
The travel industry will be ramping up it’s use of data in the future. Many companies find that the sheer amount of data available to them is overwhelming. In the future, travel companies will be working on ways to manage, analyze and apply data to improve their services.
In the future, data will be used to:
- Maintain equipment more effectively
- Avoid delays
- Streamline maintenance processes
- Add sensors that collect data from aircraft that make proactive maintenance decisions and avoid unnecessary airplane downtime due to routine maintenance
- Add sensors to the entire airport, such as elevators, bag-drop stations and baggage carousels that will remove common travel points of stress by keeping passengers and staff connected and in communication if needed.
- Data and personalization
Data that is collected by today’s travel companies will be used to create custom, personalized travel experiences. Data will also be used to engage with customers. For example, hotels will be able to recognize and track travelers who are in route, help them secure tickets and have them ready at the front desk for check in.
In the near future, airlines will be able to recommend places to eat and hotels will be able to offer personal touches like age-appropriate toys for children or directions to a local coffee shop that offers the type of drink the customer usually orders.
Some customers are concerned about privacy, but many companies assert that it is possible to create personalization without breaching personal privacy. For example, personalization can be woven into travel experiences based on customer interests, demographics and physical location, and offering relevant services that will generate more business and make the travel experience more memorable.
- Travel brands will connect with one another
The infrastructure of the travel industry as a whole will change in the future. Right now, airlines tend to operate in silos. In the future, they will connect together and leverage the power of a single platform where they can access different data sources and analyze them in real-time. Airlines, hotels and other travel brands will have data about customers and will work together to create a unique travel experience for each customer from start to finish.
Travel companies that embrace technological advances first will gain a competitive advantage. Using a common digital platform that provides information that will improve the customer experience will place those companies at the top. Although these changes may seem slow to evolve, they will certainly bring many positives to both travelers and travel professionals.
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