Emerging Tech Reshaping Travel And Tourism In The 21st Century

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In the wake of a travel frenzy, sparked by pent-up consumer travel demand and more than two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns and border restrictions, tourism and leisure are making a strong rebound as consumers take to the skies again at a soaring pace.

The recent summer of travel chaos, which ensued with hordes of canceled flights, endless queues at immigration control, thousands of lost luggage pieces, rail strikes, and confusing COVID-19 entry regulations were only among the few challenges the airline and tourism industry faced amid the sudden return of travel.

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In most cases, we can almost say that the cause behind the chaos, which ended up derailing thousands of passengers' planned trips, was due to a lack of insufficient planning, available support systems, and unreliable operational undertakings.

The recent few months of travel have been a test of what lies ahead, and in part, how human innovation paired with digital and technological tools can help improve outdated systems, provide foolproof real-world solutions and enhance the overall customer journey from start to finish.

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In a recent conversation with David B. Stewart, CEO of Guide To Europe, an online travel aggregators and bookings platform for European-based excursions, mentioned how technological reform will see travel, tourism, leisure, and hospitality enter a new era of digital evolution despite the persisting problems we’ve already encountered.

“Although the travel and tourism industry has made a strong recovery, it's only a matter of time before we encounter another surge in pent-up travel demand as consumers are more eager than ever to travel. We need to look at the current issues and see how we can address them using tech-based systems. Our consumers have become increasingly tech-savvy, and we’ll need to adjust accordingly,” Stewart shares with us.

Today it’s impossible to think what our lives will be like without technology. From the food we consume to the stores we shop at, and the places we visit, to the cars we drive and the fuel we use to power them - technology plays a vital and integral part in our human existence.

While on the surface we’ve become accustomed to the tools we now know and enjoy so freely. Although these drive meaningful touch points throughout the journey, a deeper understanding of how technological innovations are helping to reshape and reimagine the travel and tourism industry paints a vivid picture of how much the industry still needs to adapt in the coming years.

User Mobile Apps

Mobile apps have surpassed their primary function of connecting users with one another, instead, it’s now helped businesses connect with their customers, and put customers in contact with the right people whenever they require additional information or assistance.

Mobile apps have become a vital tool, more than we can comprehend. Booking flights, checking time schedules, sharing itineraries, planning and booking accommodation, and even finding the best restaurants to eat at can now be done through mobile apps.

Apps can be personalized to fit the customer experience, and even make the entire journey, wherever this may be, easier, more convenient, and more streamlined. It’s hard to imagine what apps aren’t capable of, and we’ve already seen some big names in the travel industry take major advantage of mobile apps, from digital hotel room keys to virtual boarding passes, everything can now be encapsulated under a single dome of control.

Live in-app chat and chatbots

During the height of the pandemic, live communication through mobile apps and websites with the use of chatbots and virtual assistants proved to mitigate the need for human intervention to complete mundane and tedious tasks.

It hasn't taken much convincing, but we now see several businesses within the travel and leisure industry utilizing chatbots and instant messaging as a way to assist customers quicker and more effortlessly.

“Communication is a critical part of what we do, not just as an online bookings platform, but in terms of the experience we create for the customer from the very first moment of interaction,” Stewart says. Travel companies, in whichever capacity they function in the value chain will need to understand that they are not only selling a product or service but rather that it’s an experience that the customer is paying top dollar for.

In the fast-paced era where consumers constantly want to stay connected to the outside world, chatbots will only become a bigger part of how we travel. Recently, it was found that roughly 62% of consumers would rather use a customer service bot than wait for human agents.

“In travel, the rate of response is just as important as the rate of retention.”

Big data is still big news

There’s a shared commonality among consumers when it comes to big data and how much companies know about us, especially after several high-end corporations are being held accountable for their involvement in the harboring of consumers’ personal information and data.

While we’ll never know what our data is used for, and who it’s being sold to, for travel and tourism it plays a vital role in understanding consumer demand and changing trends. Big data offers better insight into what consumers are looking for in terms of travel and tourism, and through these metrics, companies can adjust their packages and pricing accordingly.

Big data provides big results, which is what travel businesses need to better understand the anticipated demand, optimize their consumer strategies, and target their marketplace through precision marketing tactics.

The use of technical data will become increasingly valuable with search engines such as Google waiving Universal Analytics and introducing Google Analytics 4. The change would mean that browsers will now be able to block third-party cookies and ads, making it difficult for businesses to collect consumer-based data and analytics.

And big data can now be found in every aspect of our lives, from tourism and travel to the finance sector - there’s a lot of money behind data-driven opportunities. An example of this we already see in real life is the use of big data to help build investment models that can help build economically-motivated investment themes.

This ensures that those who are investing in diverse asset classes ranging from real estate, gold IRAs, stocks, or even other cryptocurrencies can now objectively evaluate securities and ensure they make fundamentally-based decisions that will drive meaningful impact towards their portfolios.

Despite industries such as finance that largely depend on big data to help drive fundamental investment themes, other industries, including tourism, hospitality and leisure will become increasingly dependent on technical consumer data to follow and understand industry trends.

Big data presents itself as more than a technical analysis of what consumers want, but rather it can help industries such as tourism establish better predictive models that can help promote industry growth and business transparency.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an interconnected system that links devices and customers with the right information and touch points at any given time.

Though we already see IoT playing its part in our everyday lives, powering our smartphones, helping us browse the internet, and sharing information instantaneously, IoT will prove more valuable to minimize certain touch points without the need for a network of human interactions.

Stewart believes that IoT technology and digital delivery will make it easier for consumers to find the products and services they need without requiring in-person contact. “Within Guide To Europe, we’ve been able to launch one of the world’s largest selections of vacation packages in Europe through optimized Artificial Intelligence (AI). We’ve combined local expertise and digital resources to deliver users with a much easier way to travel.”

Marrying both human and non-human elements means that users can now book a  complete vacation in under a minute.IoT will enable travelers to book and plan their travels more seamlessly, as we’ve seen with Guide To Europe which has made it easier for travelers to manage their trip, documents and itinerary in one place.

On top of this, IoT can now be found in hotel rooms and restaurant kitchens and retail stores. The success of IoT will only become more apparent in the near term as consumers coordinate their needs with what service providers can offer them in terms of their technological demands.

Contactless applications

Contactless applications such as QR Codes and contactless payment options have already experienced massive growth during the pandemic when physical activity and movement of consumers were limited.

The use of contactless applications allows for ever-changing consumer demand. These applications are more reliable, safer, and quicker, and nowadays everyone with an internet connection will be able to utilize these applications to a fuller extent.

Tourism already sees an increase in contactless technology being used across the field. Boarding passes are now digital, and hotel check-in can be done without visiting the front desk while ordering a cab or taxi can be completed and paid for through one application.

There’s an unlimited sequence of real-world utilization, and in the growing digital world, tech-savvy consumers want solutions that are secure, convenient, and bespoke all at the same time.

Guide To Europe showcases another element of digital innovation, allowing travelers to book a travel through with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa - another contactless application that's helped reshape the travel and tourism industry.

“There’s a need for digital transformation, and we believe that travelers should have more freedom and flexibility when arranging their travel plans, that’s why we enabled voice recognition capabilities, which will help travelers complete a trip to Europe within three minutes,” Stewart shares.

Contactless is the future, and in a society that has recently come out of the clutches of a global pandemic, convenience and security will triumph over traditionality.


The rise of tech-savvy consumers and internet-based applications has led to a growing opportunity for cybercriminals to infiltrate company data and request exuberant ransoms to safely return the information.

These data breaches, which have seen a 15.1% increase between 2020 and 2021, have become a major headache for businesses in the travel and tourism industry. Not only do cybercriminals impose a direct threat on the business, but also its credibility and authority among its customers and competitors.

What’s more alarming, some experts suggest that in 93% of cyber attack cases, external hackers can breach and enter an organization's network perimeter, gaining access and control over their systems and data instantaneously.

Across the spectrum, cybersecurity plays a vital role and importance in the overall growth and success of the tourism industry in adapting new technologies.

“The threat of cybersecurity is not only prevalent in our industry, but we see growing numbers of it in several sectors, from marketing to communications, and even finances, where the brunt of cybercrime is concentrated at the moment,” tells Stewart. The sudden rise in cybercrime, without definite solutions, could be a major hurdle for the industry and consumers going forward.

Consumers want to ensure their information is safe and secure, and they place a lot of importance on trusting the companies they do business with. Whether they’re booking airline tickets, shopping online or simply trading stocks - cybersecurity is a critical element throughout the digital experience.

Going Forward

Technology plays a vital part in how consumers are now embracing the return of travel after enduring more than two years of lockdowns. Though travel has returned, it does however raise questions over whether the tourism industry has geared itself with the right digital tools and technologies to cope with a sudden surge in demand.

Theoretically, we see how existing technology has helped the industry advance itself, providing consumers with real-world solutions, and giving them more convenient access to the right set of tools and information.

Now, as we steadily enter a new era of travel and technology, it will be crucial for travel, tourism, leisure, and hospitality to adapt accordingly, not only to meet consumer demand but to remain a competitive player among their competitors and help transform the entire industry regardless of where it may be heading.