Following on from part one of our travel technology predictions, here is the second round of forecasts to keep an eye out for this coming year.
Predictive big data
If a travel company is going to invest in big data, it needs to use it to its maximum effect. Travel websites have a number of ways in which they make recommendations to their users. From email campaigns to on-site recommendations, companies are able to make suggestions about new hotels, destinations or trips that are tailored to an individual's tastes and preferences.
Using intelligence gathered from previous behavioural patterns, specific 'recommender' algorithms are created and customer engagement reaches a whole new level. The creation and use of models through which businesses can foretell human behaviour with startling precision is now a reality and is certainly a key trend for the travel industry.
Making efficient use of customer satisfaction, loyalty, mapping and financial data allows businesses to second-guess exactly what their customers want from their travel experience – as well as how much they are prepared to pay for it. And the really good news is that 2015 will see even more accuracy in these big data predictions.
How do companies tackle data that is big by name, and by nature? Through segmentation, that's how. If travel companies want to truly understand the data they are gathering they need to segment it, add personalisation and fine-tune its relevancy to perfectly match their audience. The message for any companies not yet focused on the ever-changing world of segmentation is to make that shift – and fast.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is something that every business in the travel industry needs to get a hold on in 2015. The concept is a relatively simple one, whereby any device that has an on-off switch is connected to the Internet and/or to one another. Estimates suggest that a whopping 26 billion units will have this connection by 2020 – an increase of 30-fold since 2009.
One example of the Internet of Things being put into practice in the travel industry is London City Airport's testing of cross-technology networking. It means that updates on waiting times can be sent directly to travellers' devices; pilots are informed when passengers start making their way to the gate; and restaurants and bars can begin preparing pre-ordered food as soon as passengers have cleared security. The results are that passengers are moving around and interacting with the airport (and the outside world) in different ways than before.
Naturally, as the use of data, personalisation and cross-technology networking increases, so too does the need for heightened security measures. Recent examples from the travel industry include Sony International being hacked, and the app-based transportation network Uber facing pressure over issues of privacy.
Travel businesses must be fully aware of the risks this new technology brings with it and 2015 is likely to see more international co-operation, regulation and anti-fraud protection.