Top travel tech predictions for 2018

2017 was the year of bleisure, travel bloggers and the steady rise of AI in travel.

2017 was the year of bleisure, travel bloggers and the steady rise of AI in travel. We’re seeing efficiency and convenience become the highest priority for travelers and the technology that allows this is rapidly improving. Who would have thought 5 years ago that you would be able to book a trip through an instant messaging app or take a virtual reality tour of a prospective destination? Here are our top predictions for how travel is going to be transformed by technology in 2018!

   1. VR

If you’re booking a special trip and need the perfect hotel and destination, it’s important that you know you’re making the right choice - enter VR (Virtual Reality) tours. Virtual reality consists of an immersive experience that allows the user to explore a place without being there in person. Some companies, such as Lufthansa and Thomas Cook, have already begun using VR features in their marketing - Thomas Cook, for example, has its ‘Travel Compass’ feature in their branches - a touch screen that allows users a 360 degree view of a travel destination. The Timelooper VR app allows you to view popular tourist spots, such as the Empire State building and London Bridge as if you were visiting them in the past - which takes historical city tours to a whole new level!

    2. Getting smarter

Smart hotels have become a feature in hospitality over the last few years and this trend is set to grow even further. A smart hotel makes use of technology to optimise guest experience - for example, you might be able to unlock your door with your smartphone. Soon, your phone will  also replace the thermostat, lighting controls and TV remote in your room at your local Hilton hotel - you’ll even be able to load your media streaming accounts via the TV. Some rooms may also become voice-activated, with hotels beginning to make use of Amazon Alexa within their rooms so that guests can control lighting and temperature. The technology used in hotels is getting more advanced, with Marriott introducing their first robot concierge, Connie, who can give you advice about nearby tourist attractions, restaurants and hotel information. Connie uses IBM Watson - software that can understand natural human speech and answer questions. Meanwhile, at the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, you will be made to feel welcome by a staff that consists entirely of robots. You’ll experience the power of the latest AI with the humanoid, multilingual Nao robot made in France. To make it even better, a life-sized velociraptor will be waiting to check you in for your stay.

   3. Social media

By now you’ve probably come across chatbots on booking websites and online forms. Increasingly, companies are starting to use automated bots on platforms such as Facebook Messenger to attract and help potential customers. Also, you can now use an app called SnapTravel to choose from a variety of options to book your trip - it just requires you to message your basic travel info and budget to their Facebook page and a bot will return some suggestions within Messenger. If you want a room with a view, just tell the bot and it will find something to suit your taste. The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas even allows you to pay for your room within Messenger - so you don’t even need to switch channels, and it’s just as secure as doing it via the website. We can look forward to more of this personalisation in 2018.Travel tech in 2018 is all about convenience and making everything as user-friendly as possible with the help of rapidly advancing technology. Providing the best customer service in hospitality is no longer limited to great staff and helpful customer service lines - while you might not see a life-size velociraptor robot at the front desk of your local Holiday Inn any time soon, look out for smart technology like mobile door keys when on your next trip. Smartphones have completely transformed the hospitality industry, and within a few years we can expect to manage every aspect of our trips from our hand-held devices.