2022 proved to be filled with ups and downs for the global tourism sector. At the beginning of the year, the challenge lay in attracting tourists back by providing social distance-friendly amenities and processes. Then, as regulations eased, “revenge travel” kicked in bringing with it a sudden flood of tourists. Yet, many businesses struggled to accommodate this surge in demand with fewer resources.
Technology emerged as one answer that helped us navigate these different challenges, from solutions that supported social distancing regulations to tools that helped boost capacity, with fewer staff.
As we head into 2023, it’s time to take stock of the changing trends across the sector and the emerging technologies that could provide both new solutions and opportunities for Singapore’s tourism businesses.
Here are four travel tech trends we believe will make a splash in 2023:
Extended reality meets company retreats
Business travel will be back in full force in 2023. Booking.com’s Seven Predictions for the Reimagination of Travel in 2023 survey predicts that ‘survivor’ themed company retreats will help to rebuild team spirit and camaraderie after years apart. In fact, according to their survey:
- 44% of the global workforce is looking forward to ‘real life’ team-building work trips
- 51% would like savings on remote/hybrid working models spent on corporate travel or retreats
Going more in-depth, American Express Global Business Travel published a white paper this year entitled Why travel is the centre of the new company culture. In it, they explain how the switch to hybrid and remote work, the growing need to address burnout and employee wellbeing, and the never ending challenge to attract and retain key talent will make business travel a pivotal moment for building company culture.
According to the group, a successful company retreat will: focus on employee wellbeing, include personal development, emphasise company values, and, most of all, drive a strong sense of company culture.
So what kind of technologies can support company culture driven retreats?
Extended reality is a growing tech trend which we already reported on last year. From Augmented Reality (AR) treasure hunts, where teams need to race across the city to discover company value related clues, to full on Virtual Reality (VR) experiences that help build teamwork and leadership skills, this tech offers new opportunities to create unique activities centred around company culture.
While this technology has been around for a while, the market has evolved with more and more companies offering solutions that are both customizable and accessible to businesses of all sizes. Xctuality, CityGuyd, and SmartGuide are three cohorts of Singapore Tourism Board’s Accelerator program who conducted pilots with STB partners this year, enabling them to build virtual experiences for guests and customers.
Read more about how you can create more immersive visitor experiences here.
Generative AI enters the tourism sector
Artificial intelligence is a technology that’s already being widely adopted by tourism businesses. AI based customer service robots, online chatbots, and customer data analysis tools are helping speed up response times, relieve overburdened staff of certain tasks, and generate deeper insights into customer satisfaction in a matter of seconds.
Generative AI, also known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), is now taking the technology’s potential to the next level allowing AI, not just to copy and replicate, but to create original text, images, and more. Some of the most popular early examples include GPT-3, a language model that can produce fake stories in the style of famous writers, and DALL-E, an AI model that can create original images based on prompts.
While this technology is still in its infancy, there are a number of exciting new opportunities Generative AI could offer travel businesses.
For example, the hospitality industry could use Generative AI to design new hotel concepts and layouts or develop virtual tours of their facilities for potential customers. MICE planners could use this technology to generate a number of personalised itinerary options for customers in just a few clicks.
For both conference planners and attractions, being able to easily generate different layouts could help them to find the best options for minimising congestion at events, identify potential security concerns, and encourage foot traffic to certain locations.
Making payments frictionless with biometric technology
The adoption of biometric identification and payment systems is a growing trend identified by Amadeus in their 2023 Travel Trends Report. With these smart systems, guests can check-in, upgrade their seats, and even shop with a simple fingerprint or retinal scan.
For example, food and beverage provider Hudson has opened a number of “nonstop shops” across US airports using Amazon One biometric technology. With these systems, customers can pay by simply holding their hand over the kiosk sensor.
You can’t get more personalised than that.
Not ready for biometrics quite yet? Digital payment solutions, such as payment apps, digital wallets, buy now pay later, and account-to-account (A2A) payments, are making it even easier for customers to spend while on vacation. And that’s exactly what they want: effortless transactions.
If you’re looking to adopt new technologies this year but don’t know where to start, Tcube can help you identify the right partners, develop a technology roadmap, and launch a successful pilot program. Learn more here.
This article was originally published on Singapore Tourism Board’s Tcube website.