Technology and Travel: 9 Ways It’s Shaping The Tourism Industry

In today’s modern world, there’s no denying how technology and travel go hand-in-hand. When it comes to deciding where to go for a vacation, what to do while we’re there, and even what we do once we return are all significantly influenced by this powerful alliance. 

Its influence is so widespread that a Google Travel study revealed that 74% of travellers now rely on the internet to plan their trips, while a mere 13% still use travel agencies.

technology and travel go hand in hand these daysA big part of this paradigm shift has also been influenced by millennials. With their love and affinity for both technology and travel, a new era has emerged where social media, applications, blogs, and various other digital platforms play a crucial role in trip planning.

Consequently, the tourism industry has also recognised this trend and adapted its business models, product offerings, and scaled travel technology accordingly to attract this highly sought-after demographic. 


Where technology and travel intersect

Let’s face it—who hasn’t booked a holiday simply because Malaysia Airlines was offering 30% off all fare tickets?

Whenever we have a spontaneous desire to go somewhere, we now turn to the internet to explore the offerings of budget airlines, searching for the most value-for-money destination available, and then embarking on our journey as soon as we’re ready. This incredibly common scenario now was unimaginable just a few years ago. 


The crucial role of technology in tourism

These days, nearly everyone owns a smartphone or other mobile devices, giving them access to a vast array of online services. Thus, travel agencies need  to provide online options for customers to plan vacations, check-in for flights, and research destinations. 

Although we often take these modern instances of travel technology for granted, they remain crucial for enhancing the user experience within the travel industry. Therefore, continuous improvement and optimisation of these services are imperative. 


Latest advancements in technology and travel

The tourism sector is going through a significant transformation right now with various factors at play. However, one of the key players in this change is the emergence of new technological solutions.

During a recent Barcelona event, Salvador Anton Clavé, the Director of Eurecat Tourism Innovation Department, emphasised that this transformation extends beyond mere process improvements or enhancing the tourism experience—it involves a complete overhaul of the tourism system itself.

Arjan Dijik, the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of, echoed similar thoughts by highlighting the travel industry’s response to the needs of sustainability-conscious and technologically adept travellers.

Let’s take a look at some of the developments in travel technology that are already having an impact on the market and that, based on numerous studies, are expected to lead to significant short-term changes in the industry. 


9 ways we see the impact of technology in tourism


1. Mobile usage

Undoubtedly, the centrepiece of the modern travel experience is the mobile phone. It has transformed into our personal tour guide, travel agency, trusted restaurant finder, map, and much more. It remains at our side throughout the entire travel planning process.

In fact, as per TripAdvisor, 45% of users solely rely on their smartphones for everything related to their vacations. Hence, the need for corporate services and communications to integrate within these devices.

2. Augmented reality offerings

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have made their way into the realm of technology in tourism, emerging as a prominent trend due to the wide range of possibilities they offer. Increasingly, companies are utilising these technologies to provide users with immersive experiences, such as showcasing cabin interiors on cruise ships or transporting them momentarily to the Great Wall of China.

Today, we don’t even need to leave the sofa to “teleport” to the farthest reaches of the world.


3. Enhancements via the Internet of Things (IoT)

The tourism industry is set to undergo substantial transformations as a result of the Internet of Things (IoT). They incorporate internet-connected sensors into a variety of products, such as automobiles, luggages, and buildings, effectively cementing the importance of technology in tourism.

Spain’s Hotel Technology Institute even declared that the IoT “is going to be the major transformative factor in the personalisation of the customer experience over the next few years”. Besides that, some Virgin Hotel establishments also provide guests with a mobile application that enables them to interact with the room’s thermostat and control the television, offering enhanced levels of convenience and customisation.


4. Adoption of virtual assistants

As we all know, Alexa and Siri are virtual assistants that cater to our various needs, such as providing weather updates, playing music, opening emails, and more.

Today, hotels are now adopting similar assistance by introducing virtual assistants specifically designed for their environments. IBM recently unveiled Watson Assistant, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered virtual assistant that delivers an interactive and personalised experience for guests in the hospitality industry.

5. Marketing using big data

Big data has received a lot of attention lately, but its potential benefits for the travel sector have yet to be fully demonstrated. Nonetheless, many players in the industry have already begun harnessing the power of this technology in tourism.

One notable example is Meliá hotel chain, which leverages guest information to determine the optimal target audience for its marketing campaigns. By analysing their extensive database, they consider factors such as expenditure, the purpose of travel, country of origin, and cross-reference this data to develop precise customer profiles.


6. Potential in blockchain

Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise various industries, including finance, and it also holds promise as an emerging technology in tourism.

Although its applications in travel are still relatively unexplored there are several areas where blockchain could make a significant impact. For instance, it could be utilised to verify and identify passengers at airports, ensuring streamlined and secure processes. Blockchain also has the potential to enhance transparency in tourists’ opinions as well as safe and simple payments.


7. Widespread 5G availability

The advancement of travel technology is significantly enhanced with the support of 5G networks. They offer notable improvements such as faster loading and downloading speeds, broader coverage, and more stable connections. Additionally, 5G opens up new opportunities to develop and deploy technologies that were limited by 4G.

Immersive tourism, where technology enables travellers to become active participants in the experience, will become a reality. Augmented reality (AR) and 360° video will also become more prevalent and easily accessible to a wider audience.


8. Contactless payments a new norm

Recent trends in tourism technology have placed contactless payment methods at the forefront. With the impact of the pandemic discouraging the use of physical banknotes and coins, contactless payment options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay have experienced a surge in popularity.


These payment methods rely on the user’s device, equipped with a payment app, to communicate with the reader using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology which allows for a seamless and secure transaction process, eliminating the need for physical contact or the exchange of cash.


9. Recognition and verification

Facial recognition software is an advanced technology that analyses and categorises specific characteristics of an individual’s face, such as gender, age, emotions, or other identifying features, to verify their identity.

Considered one of the most potent surveillance tools available today, facial recognition has gained widespread adoption in travel technology. In fact, these devices are used to identify individuals passing through airport checkpoints across the world as an advanced security measure.


Preparing for the future of technology and travel

It’s safe to say that in the not-so-distant future, we will witness transformative innovations that will reshape the travel landscape once again. We can anticipate the emergence of new modes of transportation, emerging trends in travel destinations, new apps and websites for trip planning, and even more developments in travel technology.

The potential for technological enhancements in the travel industry is boundless and to fully embrace this ongoing revolution, we must move forward with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. 


At the forefront of technology in tourism with Holiday Tours

At Holiday Tours, we implement top-quality solutions in travel technology. In its own way, this keeps us abreast of the world’s developments, so that on all your travels, you can better take on the world your way.


REACH OUT TO US AT +603 2303 9100 (PRESS 3) OR [email protected]

You may also be interested in: 


Related Posts