Talk of the tech revolution in travel is no longer hypothetical. Over the next 12 months and beyond we will witness continual change in the way we take trips. New tools, solutions and expertise, plus easier transitions through airports and the opportunity to travel with less luggage are all creating headlines.
With global travel increasing, expectations among both companies and individual travelers are higher than ever when it comes to having a smooth travel experience. Our industry is evolving rapidly to meet ever-changing demands. The Amadeus 2023 Travel Trends identify five new developments which the company believes will play a part in shaping travel over the coming year.
Meet a new kind of travel agent: Exploring the metaverse will allow travelers to explore a destination before they arrive or relive their memories once they leave
Smile for your seat: Biometrics will help create a smooth travel payment experience
Travel without baggage: Hotels will offer travelers more amenities so they can travel lighter
Working from roam: Remote workers will adopt an increasingly nomadic lifestyle, migrating to different locations as ‘work from anywhere’ policies become normalized
Welcome to bonding business breaks: A new category of business travel, focused on connecting teams, building relationships and unlocking creativity away from the office,will emerge
The annual travel trends were identified by the expertise of Amadeus’ team of travel tech experts. They have identified that, while technology is a major driver of change, and Web3 and biometrics will have a big part to play, human relationships are equally important. The trends are all connected to personal and societal concerns, from the desire to travel with a lighter ecological footprint to the desire for more people to be free to work from anywhere.
Mani Ganeshan, Global Head of Engineering, Travel Sellers Unit and Center Head, Amadeus Labs Bengaluru said, “Travellers worldwide expect seamless travel experiences driven by comfort, security, and personalization. The growing sophistication of technology underpins travel providers’ ability to deliver on these expectations and transform the customer experience. Now that the future has arrived, new and emerging technologies are enabling us to achieve these objectives in a new reality where people can better control their travel experiences while prioritizing aspects important to them, such as their impact on the environment, cultural nuances, interpersonal relationships, etc. With the emergence of newer technologies, the travel ecosystem is going through a fascinating and progressive phase. As technologies evolve to meet travelers’ expectations, they will rapidly shape the future of travel for the better.”
It’s travel, but not as we know it
In the coming years, the metaverse will take traveller engagement to the next level. Travelers will be able to enjoy deeper cultural experiences in an online world, exploring virtual concerts and exhibitions. The technology also offers enormous potential for pre-trip assistance and the opportunity to “try before you buy,” creating further wanderlust and excitement. This will become increasingly popular as a way to trial higher-priced items such as luxury cruise holidays.
Walt Disney Co. has plans to create a real-world theme park ride which incorporates a parallel 3D virtual world experience, while Seoul is blazing a trail with its plans to go “meta” by 2023, with a platform titled “Metaverse Seoul”. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, recently announced Qverse with a MetaHuman cabin crew, providing an immersive experience to tour, navigate and check-in at Hamad International Airport.
Smile for a smooth travel payment experience
Biometric payments – via the likes of ApplePay and GooglePay – are now mainstream for both retail and travel payments. But over the coming years, travel is likely to take biometric payments to the next level. Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification, so the logical next step is to leverage this identity check for any payments travelers make during their trip.
No more rooting around in a handbag for your wallet so you can upgrade to business class. If a traveler is using biometrics to check-in, drop off luggage, and board the plane, then these identity checks could double-up to cover payments they could make while traveling, like adding an in-flight meal, delivering a smooth payment experience. Airports and travel operators will offer a completely contactless and convenient payment experience for passengers with the use of biometrics, at all points of the journey.
From paying for train tickets to seat upgrades, in-flight meals or late checkout at the hotel, with biometrics, travelers worldwide will use convenient, more secure, biometric payment solutions.
Small trials have already begun with travel retailer Hudson. They employed the Amazon One biometric payment solution at their store at Nashville International Airport, allowing customers to “just walk out” and pay with the palm of their hand.
Taking the words “traveling light” to the next level
A combination of customers becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and cost of checked-in luggage is slimming down suitcases. Multiple trolley-loads of designer luggage are no longer a status symbol – quite the opposite.
Hotels and resorts are increasingly offering the hire of bulky items, such sports equipment and workout clothes. Those who do are also seeking to do so from hyper local suppliers in order to be all the more popular with tourists. Alongside this, travelers are looking to buy essentials from the local destination, supporting and engaging with the community in the process and further ensuring they have meaningful travel experiences.
Global brands such as Hilton are offering exercise gear and equipment, helping travelers get closer to a “suitcase free stay”. We expect this trend to grow and evolve.
Working from roam
Remote workers will settle into an increasingly nomadic lifestyle, migrating to different locations. We will see workforces spend less time at their homes due to the widespread corporate formalisation of “work from anywhere” policies.
Workers will opt to spend time with friends and family in their domestic market or might spend a month working abroad. From a governmental perspective, we will see the continued rise of countries encouraging digital nomads through visa schemes and incentives.
Countries including Georgia, Croatia, Iceland and Germany have already created official schemes to attract digital nomads. Nomadlist is a platform connecting a global community of remote workers living and traveling around the world, helping them find competitively priced locations to work from. The platform lists Bangkok and Lisbon in its top five cities for digital working. Amadeus has seen a search increase of 165% from Sydney to Bangkok during the month of September 2022 as compared to 2019. There was also an increase of 74% in searches for flights from Sao Paulo to Lisbon during the same respective months.
Welcome to bonding business breaks
Business travel is back, with a difference. Over the past few years, many companies have introduced work from anywhere policies. With this has come the challenge of team bonding and collaboration. As a result, we are witnessing an uptick in “internal travel” plans, where teams are brought together for the express purpose of strengthening relationships.
American Express Global Business Travel even published a paper titled ‘Why Business Travel Is At The Center Of The New Company Culture’. With employee experience being more important now than ever, team travel programs will increase exponentially as they are a good way to motivate teams, improve employee satisfaction, strengthen company loyalty, and unlock creativity.