SOUTHLAKE, Texas—Sabre Corporation has released a new technology forecast on evolving trends that the company predicts will impact travel over the next decade. The Sabre Labs 2018 Emerging Technology Report names automation, authenticity, and blockchain as three major areas for consideration.
“Increasingly, people are coming to understand that the travel business is really a technology business,” Philip Likens, director of Sabre Labs, says. “Even the simplest journey generates huge amounts of data. Collecting, indexing, and understanding that data–and how we apply that understanding to improve every traveler’s experience—is what will drive real innovation across the entire travel ecosystem.”
Automation is not a new idea, the report notes. However, advancements in A.I. and machine learning can potentially change how travelers are served in digital environments. The report adds that awareness and cognitive capacity for machines suggest a greater range of opportunities for hoteliers and travel professionals to rethink when and what to sell, how to staff and operate businesses, and how to anticipate and exceed customers’ needs.
In a world where trust is in low supply, authenticity is more valuable than ever. At the same time, businesses increasingly need to rely on technology and digitization to interact with their customers at scale. The report examines whether technology is at odds with authenticity, whether digital is the enemy of the real, and if the industry can reconcile augmented and virtual realities with the growing demand for authentic experiences.
Volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has been dominating headlines but Sabre’s report focuses instead on the value in crypto’s underlying blockchain technology. Distributed ledger technology enables secure transactions to take place, and Sabre’s outlook sees significant promise in blockchain’s potential to change travel—for example, going on a round-the-world trip without having to bring a wallet.
“Tomorrow’s travelers have a set of expectations fueled by ubiquitous access to information, smooth transactional experiences, and increasingly personalized offers,” Likens adds. “There is tremendous opportunity for companies to begin thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s travelers. This report explores how technology can mediate and enhance these interactions–and ultimately make the journey better for everyone.”