While travel behaviour has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, the future of travel is looking bright. We’re changing the way we look at the world and how we explore it, choosing memories over miles and seeking happiness in meaningful connections.
Many Canadians are feeling hopeful and relieved as news outlets report that vaccines are soon on the way. The past year has shown us that we are evolving into a new type of traveller, one that will use technology to help us regain spontaneity, confidence and to travel again safely and responsibly.
Recent research from Booking.com found that more than half (67%) of Canadian travellers already agree that technology will play a key role in controlling health risks while travelling. When it comes to accommodation, 65% of global travellers believe that properties will need to use the latest technologies to make them feel safe.
For example, many hotels will add NanoSeptic Self-Cleaning Covers on elevator buttons, doorknobs, and handrails so they are continuously being cleaned. From foggers to UV light, new cleaning technologies are being executed quickly to ensure that guest rooms are safe and that people feel comfortable on their travels.
Flexibility is becoming increasingly important, with 45% of Canadian wanderlusters craving convenient tech options to make last-minute restaurant reservations as peoples’ plans can pivot on a dime due to ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and concerns these days. 50% also want more self-service machines instead of ticket desks to move more swiftly through stations and airports and minimise human touch points. This self-service evolution has already been moving along the last few years, well before the pandemic, but will undoubtedly pick up the pace over the next couple years.
This time, it’s personal
Technology offers endless opportunities to help us find what we’re looking for more efficiently. That’s why 51% of Canadian travellers are excited about tech’s potential to further personalise their travel experiences in the near future. Its importance will only continue to grow as tech continues to prove its worth, becoming more and more integrated into our personal travel experiences.
Companies like Booking.com are already using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to help personalize and improve the customer experience through technology.
Besides booking a range of accommodation types including hotels, apartments, vacation homes, B & Bs, and more, the company is leveraging technology to be able to offer a connected trip that includes flights, tourist attractions, food, shopping, and more. The Booking.com app aims to house your complete, curated travel experience, if you will.
Combining customer data on what travellers did or did not like about a destination or experience there with said customer’s previous travel preferences, plus third-party data like the current waiting time at a popular museum, technology helps provide a traveller with increasingly personalized, relevant and timely suggestions to build their best possible trip.
Tech travels fast
Technology innovations, including enhanced online experiences, look set to further influence our future travel behaviour. Almost a third (29%) of our travel community say they would feel more comfortable visiting a destination they’ve never been to before if they could get a sneak peek beforehand using virtual reality.
Tourism boards and travel media are already making virtual tourism accessible which has helped satiate some Canadians’ travel appetites as we wait patiently to return to travel. National Geographic has created 360 degree videos of nature spots and dive sites which lets you virtually swim with Humpback Whales in Antarctica or explore Indonesia’s coral reefs when watched wearing an Oculus Quest VR headset.
The real reigns supreme
While new media types and online experiences help travellers get a glimpse of what new destinations have to offer, virtual experiences will not be replacing the real deal. Only 24% of Canadian travellers expect to participate in more virtual or online experiences run by tourist attractions, local tours and workshops, proving that while technology brings us more convenience, personalization and peace of mind, it will hardly replace the reality of exploring the world for ourselves.
This editorial was provided by Booking.com.