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Skyscanner vision of how travel could look within the next decade

26 September 2014
26 Sep 2014 -
Skyscanner_Logo“This is not the end of the travel industry, it’s just the beginning,” announced Skyscanner’s Filip Filipov during his keynote speech to discuss the future of travel.

Skyscanner’s research and expert interviews suggest that in 10 years’ time the era of time-consuming online travel discovery, research and booking across multiple platforms and devices will be long gone.

WOR_9544-3560487331-OOver the last decade the explosion of the internet and mobile technology has revolutionised consumer behaviour. With the pace of innovation continuing at unprecedented speeds, the only thing we can be certain of is that the way we plan, book and experience travel will continue to evolve and be transformed in the future.

“If you think about it, a lot has changed in the last 10 years.  A lot of travel is about the fear of not knowing what you will find so it will be great for people to be able to get an idea of what they could potentially enjoy before travelling through virtual technology.“

With regards to planning and booking, travel search and booking will be as easy as buying a book on Amazon. Thanks to the assimilation of online information available about each consumer, travel will become more intuitive and personalised.

The first key technological development highlighted was that in the 2020s wearable intelligent technology will have become so embedded in everyday life that each of us will have an individual e-agent that goes with us everywhere, whether embedded inside a watch or a small piece of jewellery.

This digital travel buddy – incorporating the latest voice and gesture control technology – will intuitively sift through all online information, including that posted on social networks, to plan bespoke itineraries tailored to our personal preferences.

Such advancements will also help agents rather than take away from their business, Filipov predicted. “Agents already use technology anyway by connecting through GDS and digital travel buddies will help agents better tailor trips for their clients.”

WOR_9555-3560487265-OTravel discovery will also be enhanced by brand websites using next-generation virtual reality, including devices that combine smartphone technology and motion sensors including the sense of touch through haptic technologies. Whilst virtual reality won’t replace real travel, it will become a new form of home-showrooming giving a 3D taste of the sights, sounds and sensations of a destination that will make travellers keen to experience the real thing.

Online booking will be a quick, easy, one-stop experience conducted through semantic search engines which use voice and gesture-controlled online tools and, potentially, facial-coding algorithms.

“In 2024 voice and gesture controlled online tools will help travellers book a bespoke trip. Facial coding algorithms are actually already used on cameras – just imagine if it could be used technologically to make even better travel experiences.

With more integration across travel and social media sites, it will be possible to build up accurate customer profiles by learning the needs, likes and dislikes of a customer from his previous online actions.

For this new wave of technology to work “it needs to be fully embedded into big data. People are searching and giving you information on where they want to go, their dates and airline choices and Skyscanner gets 74.6 billion quotes from consumers every month. If you’re not storing your data today please make sure you start after the WYSTC conference.”

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The technological revolution will also transform airport and flight experiences. By the middle of the next decade the travel journey from home to aircraft seat will be almost unrecognisable from the often time-consuming and stressful experience of 2014, with airports and flights no longer perceived as the price we pay to travel but the pleasurable start of a holiday.

The key changes will be:

  • Travel to the airport will be far more pleasurable as the traveller spends his time surfing the web or chatting to friends in a taxi equipped with virtual reality and cyber-connected technology.
  • Check-in will have been revolutionised thanks to molecular scanners, digital bag tags and facial and retinal recognition technology which will have eliminated queues at security and check-in.  Biometric data cards will replace passports and holographic staff members will guide travellers seamlessly to a seat that moulds into their body shape and comes with 3D multimedia and internet connection as standard.
  • The airport will have been transformed from the transit holding station of today into a luxury Aeroville. Once through security, departure halls will become the start of the holiday experience thanks to mood-lifting spaces, body-morphing seats, shoppable virtual walks, 3D cinemas, rooftop swimming pools and yoga centres set amid atrium forests.

“People landed on the moon using less technology than is on smartphones today so that cost of having access to these technologies is going down all the time. I think people are at the stage where they’re willing to pay more for good service and technology. This is not the end of the travel industry – it’s just the beginning,” concluded Filipov.