There's absolutely no question that the future of the travel industry is a connected one. Smartphones are playing an increasingly vital role in the customer experience. In fact, they affect almost every aspect of travel. More and more of us are moving away from our desktops and laptops to make travel plans, instead opting to make reservations on smartphones and tablets. Whether we are booking hotels through apps, utilising mobile boarding passes, making use of airport wayfinding technology or relaxing with personalised inflight entertainment, it seems we can't get enough of connected travel.
Hilton and Marriott are two hotel companies that are looking to reinvent the world of travel through investment in mobile technology. Improvements to the customer experience include bookings made via mobile and mobile check-in and check-out apps. This technology extends as far as allowing guests to hand-pick the room they want, upgrade their service or request specific items for their room – all via their mobile device.
As more companies establish themselves in the travel industry, boundaries are constantly being pushed and new experiences are being made possible. The success of companies such as Airbnb and Uber are proving that new business models that harness the power of mobile technology can deliver experiences that appeal to the masses.
Mobile is also helping local crowds stay connected for longer. Once upon a time, travellers could start conversations and make friends wherever in the world they were. Of course, this still happens, but with the knowledge that mobile technology provides a simple way of continuing those relationships long after the trip is over. It also means we can harness local knowledge and create a personalised, connected trip.
One of the greatest advantages mobile technology is bringing with it is the collaboration between key players in the travel industry. We are seeing more and more airports, airlines and hotels working together to provide relevant and customised information to customers. An example of this is a passenger receiving local hotel suggestions following the delay or cancellation of a flight via (you've guessed it) his or her mobile device.
The ability to manage a trip from start to finish and beyond from a mobile device is proving to be something that customers not only want, but also expect. They want consistent, convenient and relevant information at the touch of a button wherever they are. And where this innovation takes us only time will tell, but the combination of technology and collaboration looks set to create a travel experience that boldly goes where no travel experience has gone before.