Nowadays is so easy to travel and visit various destinations. Millions of people go online and look for cheap round-trip tickets, find cheap accommodation on BookingAirbnbExpedia or Godo and all that’s left is to pack their luggage. Piece of cake and cheap as chips. With some low-cost airlines offering return tickets for as little as 30 Euro, the price of travel, or air-travel to be more specific is ridiculously cheap. 

This was unthinkable only a decade or so ago.

How is technology changing the tourism industry and traveling

In the last few years, technological advances have changed the way we travel, i.e. the way we book flights and accommodation. Tourism and technology have become inseparable. With the constant new developments, there’s a promise of even more interactive and exciting experience in the tourism sector.

Mobile apps, virtual visits, use of social channels, online booking systems are the basic ICT resources to improve the experience and these made it possible for a new type of tourist to appear: the digital tourist.

But, let’s try to make a prediction. What are the new tech trends that will have an impact on the tourism industry in the near future? In which particular areas will be impacted? What will be of interest to the digital tourist? Which sectors will be those that mark the difference or those that interest more in the digital tourist? What resources are necessary for companies that are part of the industry? What role new technologies are going to play and how are they going to promote a sector that moves billions?

A woman's hand points to a map, laptop, passport, and coffee, indicating travel planning and exploration.

8 Technology trends emerging in the tourism industry

1. The use of Big Data tools is increasingly growing and these tools are becoming even more necessary for the tourism industry. Knowing the customers, their tastes, their needs, and expectations is essential to approach and attract digital tourists. Big Data will continue to be considered as one of the main technologies in the new tourism model.

2. Agile software for management: New trends will be created by the use of agile tools and web apps for online booking management or administrative services of hotels and agencies. In that respect, cloud computing is already considered one of the tourism trends for 2019. 

Check out our use case for Travia - booking management system that streamlines operations and communication between hotels & properties and travel agencies.

3. Mobile strategy: Smartphones are the device most used to browse the internet by a vast majority of users, in general, but also particularly in the tourism industry. In fact, 48% use a smartphone for booking their travel and on average, travelers use 13 apps during a trip, according to Travelport’s 2018 Digital Traveler Survey. All this means that mobile apps will continue to be the most important tool for the digital transformation of tourism in the following years. A Report on Travel Predictions for 2019 from reveals that travelers are looking for real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (57%) and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (57%).

A person holding up a phone.

4. The importance of Social Networks will continue to be one of the pillars in the relationship between tourism and technology. Social Networks (Media) will play a big role in terms of promotions, marketing, but their use will also be vital from a  strategic point of view. Not to mention that when it comes to management of comments, ratings, and opinions of travelers for the received services, the role of Social Networks is already crucial.

5. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that promises to further change the tourism industry. The key aspect of this technology is the incorporation of sensors that are connected to the internet inside physical objects. And for the needs of the tourism industry, these objects can be vehicles, suitcases, buildings, etc. In fact, it’s predicted that IoT is going to be the most significant factor of progress in the personalization of the customer experience in the upcoming years. Some hotels already provide apps that enable their visitors to interact with the room thermostat or control the television set. Also, there’s the option to put a device in your suitcase and then track its movement on your mobile device, so you’ll know exactly where it is in each moment and thus avoid losing it at airports and so on.

6. Chatbots to improve the customer experience: The application and development of Artificial Intelligence systems for management of customer communications will be one of the main trends in 2019. This will be one of the key points where tourism and technology meet. 

7.Virtual and augmented reality to offer a new immersive experience to tourists. It is already possible to go on a virtual tour of a museum or another similar object of interest, but this could be and probably will be extended to hotels which will enable virtual tour packages and scheduled trips. It is not unforeseeable to include gastronomic experiences as well, after all, technology is changing rapidly. Artificial intelligence and facial recognition are two other technologies that will almost certainly have an impact on the industry and its growth.

8. The importance of apps and online payment systems. It is probably safe to say that online payments systems and apps are already essential for the tourism industry, but their significance and use can only grow in the upcoming period.

A person using a laptop to make a payment with a credit card.

The tourism industry has been changed radically with the help of technology. There were advances in many key areas, including operations of companies, understanding customers’ needs, service delivery, but the number of customers and potential customers also grew and it became easier for companies to discover and conquer new markets while optimizing their resources and increasing their efficiency.