There is no denying that travel has come a long way – for many, quite literally. It is an industry that has evolved (and continues to do so) before our eyes. Although for many a holiday still remains a luxury, it has become a more affordable luxury. But while the process of planning and purchasing a holiday is less arduous than it has been in the past, it remains a relatively clunky process. Those wishing to travel are forced to separate their trip into distinct parts, all of which are purchased from different providers.
However, the rise of mobile technology in travel is signalling an end to this. We are now in the age of smart mobility and the smartest of mobile-first travellers are simply not prepared to settle for anything even remotely clunky.
But it's not just mobile leading the charge. In our quest for more automation and intelligence in our travel planning, technologies such as social, analytics and cloud are all playing their part (a collection commonly known as SMAC).
The combination of consumer digital activity and advancements in technology has been good news for the travel industry. And if the current rate of change continues we can expect a far more personalised, innovative way of planning and booking holidays in the not too distant future.
So, what can we expect from the mobility era?
Mobility is the word used to describe seamless travel using multiple modes of transportation rather than just one single mode. This means a blend of ideas and technology from so-called mobility providers and aggregators. These are as varied as car-pooling, sustainable public transport, smart cities and geo-socialisation – all operating within our connected world. These providers and aggregators are disrupting the travel industry city by city, platform by platform.
Take smart cities, for example. What was once something of a buzzword has now become a reality. Investors in major cities around the world are looking for a return on that investment. Smart solutions are being created to enhance performance, reduce costs and better engage with residents and tourists alike.
Travel planning today is more than simply flights and accommodation, it is what you can expect when you arrive at your destination based on different contexts – whether that is budget, agenda, weather, traffic, etc. From buses and taxis acting as Wi-Fi hotspots and connected companies such as Uber to on-the-go payment and ticketing services, it would seem that the traveller's wish is the mobility era's command.
In the new world of travel mobility there is a service that travellers will soon come to expect and then quickly demand. It relies on a direct connection between these services and live data exchange to ensure travellers embark on a journey that evolves and adapts to keep in context of each traveller's needs.