There has been much interest, excitement, even trepidation, from industries concerning the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution. The travel industry is no different.
The change in landscape that is characterised by technologies that blur the line between the physical, digital and biological spheres, is driving automation and disruption, but also progress.
We have been introduced to Blockchain, witnessed the arrival of Artificial Intelligence interfaces, Biometric Technology and even driverless cars. But what does this technological rollercoaster mean for humans?
Vicente Bosque, Amadeus Commercial Director Business Travel Africa, believes the shift augments the potential for more empathetic relationships between brands and consumers, as companies have never had such access to the brains and feelings of their customers.
“Today’s travellers want to be in control of their travel experience, whether travelling for leisure or business,” he says. “They want choice, and expect services tailored to their needs. Technology can help them achieve this and create the ultimate personalised trip.”
In a recent article in Business Traveller Africa, Bosque touched on NDC, blockchain and the door-to-door experience that technology has made possible for travel agents and travellers alike.
However, Bosque was quick to point out that the human touch will always remain important, especially in the travel industry.
Technology has unlocked a deeper understanding of how people search, book and experience travel. Big Data analytics and machine learning is allowing the industry to absorb and utilise more data than ever before. The ability to ‘anticipate’ and ‘predict’ what travellers want is now a reality.
However, insights based on algorithms and the assumption that travellers are solely rational, are insights flawed with limitations. Travellers have individual idiosyncrasies and subtle personal motivations that need to be carefully understood.
This is where the travel management company comes in, says Bosque. “The human travel consultant will continue to foster deep, lasting and authentic customer relationships with the business traveller. A travel consultant can give you ‘meaningful choice’ to help simplify the booking and travel experience and reduce your stress.”
In the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, with digital channels continuing to proliferate and mobile seeing enormous growth, it’s crucial for travel companies to ‘know’ their customers.
It is only by understanding your needs as a business traveller that travel companies can deliver the type of personalised service you expect. Each corporation, each traveller and each trip is different. This requires greater flexibility and agility in adapting to your needs at all times.
Read the full story on Business Traveller Africa here.