The coronavirus pandemic has greatly damaged world economies and changed the way we live our everyday lives. With as little time elapsed as a few months, people had to rethink how to work, relax, and move. The travel and tourism industry has been greatly affected, with business halting and expenses skyrocketing, due to reimbursements and indemnities.
The good news is, as insurmountable as it may seem now, this crisis is going to end at some point; some countries are terminating their lockdown and creating strategies for the restoration of international aviation and travel. As people look forward to leaving the house and start making some kind of vacation plans, it is time for the travel industry to adapt and cater to the new tourism requirements and priorities – which are safety first, second and third. Let us look into the next months as a growth opportunity.
In What Way Has The Travel World Changed?
All around the world, small establishments, such as restaurants, bars, and guesthouses are closing for good. These businesses were, in many cases, operating with small profit margins, based on the ever-growing tourism sector, and could not resist the plunging reduction on the number of visitors and clients.
Mandatory quarantines in various countries are being lifted, making it easier for people to restart international and air travel. Families with young children and elderly members, of course, will demand extra security and assurances when travelling – and an increase in travel insurance is to be expected.
Even when staying close to home, travellers expect public areas to be prepared with physical separation, sanitation, and contact-prevention. Hotels and restaurants are investing in technology that eliminates some of the most mundane steps in their daily operations. Some establishments are prioritizing online check-in and using personal smartphones to control room parameters and open doors.
At a time in which everyone is sick of staying at home and feeling the need to relax, explore, learn, see, and visit new places, all these conditions could seem like a deterrent. But technology is ready to help.
What Are The Industry’s Priorities?
The priority is building up customer’s trust in current travel practices and in the certainty of a near-normal future. Before travelling, clients need to know they are in good hands, protected from sudden changes, and that their health and safety is not compromised. They also need to find a sustainable tourism model that somehow suggests that in the next vacation they will be able to go a little further away from home.
With all these conditioning, professionals could easily be distracted from the sector guiding lines; a particular level of connection, warmth and personalization of the service is essential, and defines the success and the quality of the industry’s endeavours. Technology is probably the means to mediate between safety and service.
How Can Technology Help The Restoration Of Travel?
Flexibility in booking and the capacity to adapt to changes on the fly are highly sought qualities. Comprehensive customer and travel management systems can greatly reduce the difficulties posed by sudden changes in legislation, border control, and contagion level.
The development of contact-free and touchless operations involves a great deal of technology integration; both in hotels and in airports check-in and identification steps can be executed without human interaction.
Real-time data analysis and machine learning algorithms can be used to obtain estimates of the contagion level in a certain region with high precision; personal parameters can be constantly measured within confined spaces, resorting to infrared cameras and temperature screening to detect oscillations and abnormalities with minimum human contact. This allows people not only to travel but also to securely shop, attend shows and cultural events, and visit restaurants.
During the upcoming period, travel advice will be essential and preferred; technology’s role in this area will be immense. Online platforms that simplify and manage bookings, tours, travel details, client and service provider’s data, and customer service will be the key to intelligent articulation and client satisfaction.
A comprehensive travel app will be the traveller and the travel agent’s best friend; it can help you make the best of your vacation with the current conditions. Besides interactive maps and real-time data indicating safe spots and locations with active outbreaks, it can present updated information on the country or state legislation and requirements. Travellers can receive health and documentation advice before the trip. On location, apps can help a tourist or agency define itineraries with instantaneous reminders and notifications, show points of interest and current occupation, as well as suggest the best options and timetables to avoid traffic and gatherings. Travel disruption information is constantly monitored, and a contact line is kept with the tour manager, travel agent or authority, increasing comfort and security.
Customer management systems can help travel agents quickly adapt to the news and communicate any change to the clients. The concentration of the various data pertaining to flight, hotel, restaurants, and venues in articulated systems reduces the probability of mismanagement and human error. If needed, a complete modification of a customer’s travel plans can be made, without unforeseen mistakes. Information can be shared with business owners, to better help them adjust and profit from their businesses.
Some technology companies are trying to reduce the burden the distressed travel market is carrying – including airlines, travel agents, and the leisure industry. Artificial intelligence and chatbots are being used to automate refund and rebooking processes all around the world. Process automation is also being used to improve productivity, efficiency, and profitability in the affected enterprises. Technology can even play a part in translation and communication, with instructions and information being spread in various languages in real-time, with minimum processing and high quality.
As we watch the daily changes occurring in our daily life, it is easy to spiral into a web of worry and doubt concerning tomorrow and the world’s capacity to make things right in a post-virus reality. People are getting more and more tired and travel, which is one of the most popular relaxations and reward methods, is restricted beyond the levels associated with prior disruptions (such as 9/11).
But don’t quit on your vacations just yet; Humanity is great at adapting, and while countries and governments design strategies to keep people safe and return to a more mundane lifestyle, technology evolves, and works solutions to the unexpected problems that we face. These solutions include personal protection, health advancements and, of course, industry-specific innovations.
The travel industry and the tourism sector are essential to our future development; it was already leading the reaction to the environmental crisis, and uniting efforts to reduce its ecological impact, increasing the sector’s sustainability. When we begin to rise from this crash, the travel industry will also play an important role in the restoration of world economies and improving mental health and workers’ motivation in the coming days. And if it will unavoidably look different, with all the self-isolation, social distancing, and personal protection equipment, it will certainly be walking toward the same level of hospitality, treatment, and warmth as before.
Modern technology is unstoppable and shines brighter when needed. As the want appears for smart, technological solutions, the two worlds of IT and travel will move and articulate at a faster pace than ever, creating new management tools, and resulting in an adaptable, scalable, and modern system. As artificial intelligence and machine learning mechanisms are adopted by the industry losses and response time are reduced, resulting in more revenue and resilience.
By using already known technology and discovering the many new applications and ways in which the travel world can be enhanced, let us believe in the power of evolution and look forward to better days and future trips.