The Future of Travel

By Zornitza Yovcheva, Consultant

July 17, 2015   

For me, the lure of travel is experiencing something out of the ordinary — meeting different people, visiting new places, and seeing new sights. But in today’s evolving consumer climate in which a customer’s experience can make or break a product or a service, does this experience need to evolve to cater for the demands of the modern tourist?

I think that for the tourism industry to keep flourishing, the design and delivery of relevant, concise information for visitors when on site at a destination is now a vital part of a successful tourist experience.

This is what my recent PhD research was all about — a customer centric design study on Augmented Reality (AR) for tourism and how to improve the design and information delivery for tourists in order to enhance their overall on-site experience. What I concluded was that businesses in this sector need to understand that the future of travel is based on three key pillars:

Effortless Logistics

AR can be used to ease the booking of flights, accommodation and activities, and to provide concise information that will help the tourist make their dream travelling experience a reality.

Embedded Personalisation

Tourists want to know what activities are available to them at a destination, and want to see the results that are most relevant to their own interests. AR can quickly provide this information to point the tourist in the right direction.

Seamless Relationships

Traditionally we have viewed the experience of being a tourist as separated into three stages, before, during and after the trip. But those boundaries are not valid anymore and in fact have all merged. The future is about keeping the connection and conversations with customers alive, even after they have long completed their journey.

My research project was motivated by — the fast paced dynamics of the current technology landscape, but also by the urgent need to understand and enhance technology mediated on-site travel experiences. The study considered the wide popularity of augmented reality, but also the merciless competition, travel and tourism organisations are under and how they are striving to get the attention of tourists who are time-pressured and stressed out.

The future of the tourism experience is key to the success of travel businesses, and needs to move away from travel booking and services and into a world where the likes of TUi, for example, become a platform for experiences, building long term, trusted relationships with their clients and providing tailored experiences based on their lifetime history.

Next week I pick up the ITT PhD Research Student of the Year Award for my project at the House of Commons which I am delighted about and I certainly plan to continue building on this research through my work with WAE.