In a world where time, resource and energy efficiency are all serious concerns for millions, travelers find a hard time dealing with issues such as organization, reservation and accommodation. Luckily, the new smartphones and portable gadgets age has provided excellent opportunities or such people to save time, money and energy in the process. Today’s global tourist might easily download a hotel booking/reservation application, read online reviews regarding destinations and services or visit a government website to apply for an esta to get things started for an enjoyable vacation in South Asia. Similar scenarios can be created for numerous other regions of the world but the idea remains the same: the age of online technologies has changed the rules of the game for travelers, agencies and businesses completely, with no signs of slowing down for IT companies regarding their ambitions to serve their clients in the best way possible.
The stagnant mind looks at the past to make sense of reality, while the smart one looks to the future to strategize. Blockchain’s introduction into the travel industry is a relatively new phenomenon but companies such as LockChain are already providing “back-end tools that employ Blockchain to streamline booking, flight planning, payment, and other functionalities that competitors can only deliver by using middlemen.” Considering how Blockchain platforms eradicate transaction costs, customers are already demanding such services to be implemented into agencies’ systems, creating a brand new trend in the industry. Review sites such as TripAdvisor have been cooperating with Google and Facebook to obtain reliable customer information while AI tools provide the necessary capabilities for such companies to use user data to provide better services. KLM and Expedia have already started using chat bots and automated messaging to help their clients, while businesses frequently utilize Virtual Reality technologies to offer 3600 views of locations and facilities. When all of these technologies are combined and utilized by travelers and companies, the sector’s new capabilities and future aspirations can be better understood.
Keeping track of costs is always an issue for businesses and IBM has taken notice of the existent complications to launch ‘Travelport’, “an industry-first artificial intelligence (A.I.) platform designed to help businesses manage corporate travel spend.” The system combines all the tracking, managing, prediction and analysis aspects related to travel costs in a single framework, while also allowing Blockchain technologies to be used for such transactions. Using IBM’s award winning ‘Watson’ technology, Travelport connects to the global IBM Cloud system to store and share crucial business information. The use of IBM Travel Manager enables companies to use an online dashboard to monitor spending, create alerts and notifications, analyze trends and use linguistic tools to communicate with other businesses. The system is fully-integrated with third-party platforms through a centralized ledger, making it possible for companies to streamline consumer experience from the beginning to the end. Travelport’s main business innovation however is to integrate Blockchain technologies into the sector and become a leader in the field using IBM’s technical capabilities.
Google is also investing into travel and the company’s recent acquisition of Frommer’s travel guide from John Wiley & Sons Inc. exemplifies its aspirations to rival other firms such as TripAdvisor. The speculated number for the sales operation is around $23 million while Wiley & Sons intends to sell several of its other publishing assets in print and digital platforms, including Webster’s New World and CliffsNotes. Prior to the acquisition, Google also acquired the Zagat restaurant review service last September and seeks to integrate Frommer’s global hotels and destinations database into the Zagat listings to provide extensive information services to travelers and leisure seekers. Google will also be using Frommer’s information databases in conjunction with its travel-related advertisements that pop up during Google searches related to global travel. In addition, company’s Google+ business listings and Google Maps services will also experience higher levels of user demand as more people begin to use the integrated Google travel services. The company is currently deciding whether if Frommer’s guidebooks will still be published in print form or not, in the name of making the most out of its recent acquisition and its existent customer base.