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5 travel technology trends for 2023

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By Vineet Chirania, Founder and CEO Trainman

Like most spheres in life, an array of continually-evolving new-age technologies is also shaping the travel and tourism industry in multiple ways. Whether it is a traveler making his booking, or a travel agency providing its services, or a hospitality player showcasing and offering amenities, technology has come to permeate nearly most elements of travel. With the pandemic-driven restricted mobility already a thing of the past for most countries including India, notwithstanding the recent resurgence in parts of China, the so-called revenge travel is becoming a principal driver of the travel landscape.

And now that 2022 comes to a close and as we approach the incoming New Year, what are the five travel technology trends that are likely to play out in 2023?

AI to become nearly omnipresent

Without a doubt, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence and related applications are set to become a more integral part of a traveler’s experience end-to-end in the coming year. Voice search, an AI derivative, would increasingly be employed by travelers for a range of services including for searching to-visit-places and booking tickets, hotel rooms and leisure services. For their part, using AI-based chatbots, more and more booking agencies, hotels and entertainment service providers are likely to provide AI-enabled customer service to their customer-travelers in the coming year. As a matter of fact, a train journey solutions provider in India already uses AI/ML to decide upon which routes would require some of its niche and highly-prized service offerings. Personalized and boutique travel would likely become a ‘new normal’.

A range of recognition technologies to come to the fore

The coming year would also witness the emergence of a range of new-age biometric authentication technologies that might be employed by the tourism and travel industry. While existing retinal scanning and relatively recently-launched iris scanning would become more commonplace, new-age fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, finger and palm vein pattern recognition technologies, and facial and behavioral biometrics (gait, voice, and accent recognition) are expected to be adopted by the industry giving personalization a new meaning altogether. Most recently, the launch of DigiYatra, an app-based service employing facial recognition technology at Delhi, Bangalore and Varanasi airports is in keeping with this expected trend.

Fintech and payment players to use novel biometric technologies

Related with the above, the coming year would also witness the fintech and payment companies deploying state-of-the-art biometric technologies making travel and hospitality-related payments even more user-friendly and convenient. The typical hassles and inconvenience that a traveler has to face especially when he revises or cancels his travel and stay plans often leading to a dispute between service providers and service receivers – as seen in the aftermath of pandemic-induced lockdowns – would become less common. So, while touchless payment systems would provide for a seamless travel payments experience, the provision for non-cash financial credits such as travel vouchers and loyalty points would gain increased traction thanks to the emerging combination of latest travel, financial and biometric technologies.

AR and VR technologies to uplift the travel experience several notches higher

In the coming year, while hotels and resorts would make increased use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies with an eye on magnifying their value propositions to their existing and potential customers, a range of other actors such as leisure destinations, holiday spots and recreation and entertainment centers would not remain behind. As VR would enable a traveler-customer to get a glimpse into the virtues and benefits of a prospective hotel or a holiday resort and the amenities therein even before he makes a booking, the whole experience is expected to be more interactive and immersive than ever. At the same time, once a traveler has arrived at an intended destination, AR embedded with innovative apps, ultra-modern cameras and videos and interactive maps would make his travel experience infinitely more engaging and worthwhile. In 2023, both these technologies are to be adopted on a larger scale by travel and tourism players.

Metaverse, the next frontier for travel

It is expected that the coming year would also see some sort of activity around the much-talked-about metaverse. Although it is not quite clear as to exactly to what extent and in what shape and form metaverse would play a role for travelers, it can be assumed that the whole experience would constitute a more refined and deeply engaging one for travelers as compared to what AR and VR have to offer.

Therefore, the coming year promises to be a hugely exciting year from the standpoint of travel technology. For Indian travelers looking to travel within, a tech-based train journey solutions provider even offers to upgrade a wait-listed train ticket to a guaranteed flight ticket for merely Re 1! Surely 2023 is going to be an exciting year for travel technology, and not least for travelers.

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