Digital transformation will change your travel experience

Digital transformation will alter airline travel.

With the emergence of technologies like artificial intelligence and IoT in the travel sector, this industry will have the opportunity to transform itself from a commoditized service provider to an active and interactive trip coordinator.

Let’s get specific: We are discussing airlines and air travel transportation in this context.

What does current market statistics have to say?

According to market survey data, almost 87% of travelers resorted to the virtual platform for planning a significant share of their travel experiences. However, that has not quite transformed the booking scenario and several allied aspects.

From website designs and architecture, to visual designs and interaction, results were far from being even satisfactory. However, there is always room for improvement, and that is perhaps highly essential in this regard.

If airlines companies fail to take note of the situation now, 3rd party sites such as Expedia and Kayak will have a gala time eating up their revenues.

Finding possibilities and opportunities

Well, that brings us to the question of, ‘what to do’? Investing in unproven and unproductive technologies will certainly not be a wise. However, the most effective solutions might pop up from a few under-leveraged areas.

Consider the following options:

  1. Utilize the complete potential of existing technologies for personalized travel experiences.
  2. Embrace and greet technological innovations. Let Wi-Fi and other internet-enabled devices rule on-board. Inevitably, that will result in personalized travel experiences for users.
  3. Think global. Think social. Airlines struggle with overwhelmed phone lines instead of focusing on social media as an appropriate alternative. Not only will it offer better customer interactions, it will also offer umpteen opportunities for engaging, learning, and responding.
  4. The power of inter-dependence and collaboration. By collaborating with other industrial sectors and building on best practices incorporated by them, only positive outcomes can be derived.

Sectors such as hotel, logistics, and tourism utilize and reap the benefits of digital transformation. Whether it is a top-tier logistics enterprise or a high-end hotel, emerging technologies will ensure predictive analysis. This allows service providers to develop a better understanding of their clients’ preferences, and to give them unparalleled services and experiences.

Since customers are not ready to shell out extra money from their pockets, it is imperative to optimize technologies and incorporate best practices. Perhaps this role-reversal — or better to say — complete makeover, will unfold innumerable opportunities for the airline sector in the present and the future.

While all transformation is implemented, what is the end-user benefit?

The future will be all about the customer experience and having 360 degree solutions. The entire travel experience will not just be about booking a ticket, boarding a flight, and reaching to your destination. It’s going to become a poem, and there will be a lot to read in between the lines.

With the help of emerging technologies, the websites and platforms that you use will be able to extract data and information from your social media and other browsing activities, which can be merged with the information concluded from surveys and research globally, so as to know your interests and the most probable things you would like.

Let us outline the entire journey and how emerging technologies will have an impact on it. Imagine Sam needs to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Nepal. Let’s outline his experience and his story in the futuristic digital world!

When Sam is informed about the journey

If it is personal work, Sam’s cell phone shoots a mail or interaction with the HR of his company to assure he can avail the holiday. If yes, an application letter is typed using the available formats on the internet or in his phone. Also, the distance is calculated by his cell phone by taking the data from the internet. Using this data, Sam’s phone figures out the best mode of transport for Sam. The phone also knows that Sams like trains over airplanes for smaller distances and hence, the options are shortlisted accordingly.

With the help of Sam’s previous travel history and the interests obtained from his accounts on ticket booking websites, Sam’s laptop or mobile suggests the possible outcomes which are favourable for him.

Conclusion: Your phone is able to intercept your conversations and interactions and make decisions accordingly.

Before Sam books tickets for the journey

The technology is always keen to help Sam by being a step ahead, so even before Sam books the travel, it is going to come up with proposals and solutions to ease things for Sam. Once Sam has been informed or confirms that he is making a trip, all kind of devices that Sam owns are already working to make the experience richer and smoother. Sam’s phone informs his close friends about the trip so that they don’t make a plan which he shouldn’t miss.

His mobile phone keeps checking ticket costs and alerts him to the best priced tickets with suitable timings for Sam. The tedious process of checking for tickets to get a good deal will be taken care by his phone. His computer tells him what he should not miss since he is going there for the first time.

Had he been a frequent visitor, the computer could have eliminated the places he had already visited and suggested a filtered list. This entire process helps Sam plan out his trip in a much better way.

Does Sam have right things for this trip, or does he need to go shopping? Sam’s baby boy — Alex — is he going with him? Is his baby equipped for it? Nepal is going to be super cold. And Sam’s washing machine knows all the clothes he has, and hence suggests the phone to alert Sam to go shopping for some warm clothes for he and Alex.

Digital makes the pre-booking experience a journey designed to make Sam’s trip as seamless as possible, assuring that Sam is ready, and everyone and everything that is connected with Sam is also prepared.

Conclusion: Your devices know you and can plan for you accordingly.

Booking experience

With the help of emails or phone calls Sam has made about the trip, the phone or laptop will begin searching for flights/trains or bus on the dates being mentioned. If it is a working day, Sam’s computer can automatically highlight the flights he can board after his working hours. How does it know Sam’s working days? The phone told the computer. How? Sam puts an alarm on all working days, doesn’t he?

While Sam books the ticket, it can not only suggest what he can eat (based on his interests of course), but also — what he might like to see or read. Since Sam likes rom-com, the best of those movies have been short listed for his selection. At the same time, the movies he has watched before have been eliminated. It’s the game of data, information, and knowledge. Everything is possible!

Once Sam is books the ticket, if it will be raining in Nepal, the computer can suggest him to buy an umbrella from afavorite e-commerce website, which can be delivered on arrival.

Did he finalize a hotel? He isn’t certain. The phone sent an alert to people in his social circle who have visited Nepal, asking for suggestions for hotels and other things to do.

Combining it with the list the computer compiled based on reviews and budgets, Sam has a very crisp list to choose from. Does he have a ride to take him to this hotel? If he didn’t select anything to eat while he was on board, he must be hungry and a famous favorite pastry shop will be on the way to his hotel. Sam loves pastries. He can’t miss that, and the computer knows it well.

Conclusion: Your experiences can be modified according to your interests and life-style.

Traveling experience

The whole travel experience has already been smoothed because of artificial intelligence. The cab to the airport has been booked, and has been informed about the time of the flight. The cab has already calculated the average time with the help of traffic status of the city.

At the same time, Sam’s phone is in constant touch with websites that can alert him about any kind of last minute delay or cancellations. Sadly, Sam’s flight got delayed, and he decided to rest at home rather than waiting at the airport. His phone let the hotel in Nepal know that Sam will be late, but he still needs the room. Otherwise, the hotel could have cancelled it on the basis of no-show.

When Sam locked the door to leave, his phone intimated all the other devices in the house to hibernate so that power could be saved. At the same time, a few electronics like the refrigerator optimize it’s on and off, so that minimum power is consumed while the food items in the fridge stay fresh.

His baggage has been checked in at the airport, and he moves to security check in to board the flight. After a few minutes, he gets an alert on his phone that his luggage has also been loaded in the same flight, and he takes a sigh of relief. His luggage is also secured with smart locks, so if anyone would try to break in, Sam will again get an alert.

Once he boards the flight, he is presented with his favorite movies based on what he selected before. His phone has automatically gone to flight mode and sent an alert to the important people in his contact list about the same.

The food is served hot and fresh — as per his preferences. He recently turned vegan and the airlines were informed about it by the phone. Moreover, the phone reminds him about the brilliant jacket the airline is offering to buy in-flight which will be needed at Nepal, since he didn’t shop enough for the trip.

Conclusion: Your devices become your best friend, guide, and companion by communicating on your behalf.

Post-travel

After a soothing and entertaining journey, Sam finally lands. The phone and watch have changed the clock to the new time-zone. The cab booked by Sam’s computer has been alerted by his phone about the landing, and the driver is waiting for Sam at the arrivals.

The hotel has also been informed about his arrival, and the kitchen is in the process of cooking his favourite dish. Everything is going just brilliantly, but Sam is feeling a bit dizzy. He realizes it must be his blood pressure. He informs the phone about the medical condition, and the phone suggests anearby doctor, while extracting his entire medical history and sharing it with the hospital.

He can’t afford to lose time and health on his trip, and the critical situation is handled easily. The driver needs to be communicated that Sam is going to the hospital, and not the hotel, but Sam doesn’t know the language. His phone translates and conveys the same to the driver and provides the directions. Sam sees the doctor, and is assured that he is fine and can continue with his trip. The phone shares Sam’s trekking plans with the doctor — which doctor advices Sam not to do.

Digital is all about possibilities — infinite possibilities which will unfold when we enter an era where these emerging technologies will become our companion, helping us navigate our life in a smoother and richer way.

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Shailendra Kumar

Shailendra Kumar

Author:Making Money Out of Data A visionary & expert in #BigData and Advanced #Analytics, #MachineLearning, #Cognitive, #deeplearning & #ArtificialIntelligence.