The digital revolution has impacted almost everything in the world, which we can think of. Travel industry has seen a complete change the way people plan their travel. Prior to the millennium, we had traveller’s visiting a local travel agent’s offices to plan their vacation. In the new millennium, we saw a change with increase in the destination content available on the internet and also growing population of online travel companies. Initially the online travel companies mainly offered Air Seats and destination information. Later hotel booking and packages were also offered on the internet.
In the earlier millennium, traveller’s were used to referring to a guide book, relying on trusted word of mouth suggestions from family / friends and go with suggestions made by their trusted travel agent. Today with breakthrough in technology and easy access to high speed internet, travellers are able to get necessary information to plan their vacation online with ease. They then have the liberty to choose a offline travel company or online to complete their travel plans.
‘Digitization’ has shrunk the traveller’s world as had opened up tremendous opportunities to the traveller have to choose from. Today technology companies have also opened doors for one to stay in a stranger’s house rather then staying at a hotel. Social media and mobile internet attracts travellers to write instant reviews which benefits other traveller’s.
In the digital age, we have seen increase in traveller’s planning their travel on the go and online. There is a different segment of traveller’s who prefer to connect with a travel company to enhance their travel experience as they prefer a human touch to their planning. Digitization has not managed to replace the human touch in planning travel, Offline travel companies still continue to cater to retain clients with human touch and offering value added travel services which online travel companies fail to offer.
As we see increase in the use of artificial intelligence tools and increase in location based services, the online travel companies recognize traveller’s interests and preferences however they fail to add a human touch or enhance a traveller’s experience during the trip which is only done by some amount of human touch.
Online and offline travel companies will have to continuously evolve the way they operate their businesses. They will have to constantly looking at changing and evolving technology to stay competitive and retain their market share.
Digitization in the travel industry had brought a tremendous change in the way people travel and plans their vacations, it has also given an opportunity to the offline travel players to bring out their expertise and niche products with added human touch adding tremendous value to travel, Digitization fails to offer added human touch.
(A column by Jay Kantawala, Founder, WIYO Travel)