Leading data and analytics company, GlobalData has released a report ‘Technology Trends in Travel and Tourism’. It found that travel companies are using various technologies to engage with customers at every stage of their journey.

Elena Mogoş, Associate Analyst for Digital Travel & Tourism at GlobalData, said, “Travel still revolves around meaningful human interactions. However, to be successful, companies need to create a balance between the technological innovations and the human element. Improving the customer experience must always be on the back of travel and tourism companies’ minds when investing in technology.”

GlobalData found that tourism technology is not just about the smartwatch wearing, internet demanding, tourist. It is about enticing them to book and giving them the options to explore and spend more.

We all like to travel, experience new things, and release the pressures of everyday life. But finding a destination that is exactly what you want is hard.

Note we have avoided reference to social media and so-called ‘independent reviews’ as the smart traveller is now aware of the ‘fake news’ issues.

Here are the six trends to watch out for in travel and tourism industry in 2018:

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)

The past few years have seen an increase in AR or VR popularity among travel and tourism companies, and the trend will escalate.

These technologies are being used either for content marketing or enhancing the customers’ experiences.

For example, airlines and cruise ships have started using VR technology to show travellers the cabins in advance, to increase ticket or ancillary services sales. Travel operators are showing VR of the hotel rooms, and many of the itinerary highlights.

AR is starting to be used to highlight hidden ‘gems’ when you are on tour. Point the smartphone camera at an alleyway, and it may come alive with emoji or other things to make you want to find that speak-easy.

Interestingly this is being used to augment the face-to-face relationship between the buyer and the seller. Just giving access to a VR site for you to view in the comfort of your own home won’t necessarily get you to sign up for the holiday of a lifetime.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is behind many evolving technologies and innovations in the travel and tourism sector.

How AI helps the industry can be classified into three major categories: Machine Learning, ChatBots or TravelBots, and Robots. Thanks to AI, operations which usually require human intervention and a lot of time to learn new skills, can be automated, speeding up processes, while improving quality and performance, and decreasing costs.

It is also being used by sellers to help identify your dream holiday using metrics gained from Facebook, social media, searches and tailoring offerings to your profile.