With more travellers than ever booking their travel and travel-related purchases via mobile, smart technologies offer endless opportunities for travel companies – and according to one expert we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential, Reuters' Technology division has reported.
A report by Euromonitor International has shown just how popular mobile is for travel-related buys. Some $96 billion (£62 billion), or 12.5% of global online travel sales, was made via the devices alone in 2014, said the report.
With this rise, travel providers will soon start pushing personalised options for hotels and restaurants via mobile devices, Euromonitor predicts in its World Travel Market (WTM) Global Trends Report 2015.
"The opportunities that smart technology offers travel companies are endless and we have only scratched the surface," commented WTM senior director Simon Press.
"It won't be long before personalised suggestions – created from cross-checking consumers' preferences and current location with online inventories of local travel services and activities – will become the norm."
Travel firms such as Booking.com and Expedia, plus airline Ryanair, are already beginning to mirror what has happened in retail, where the likes of Amazon.com have harvested detailed customer data, aiming targeted offers at customers in real time.
In travel marketing, where mobile travel sales are forecast to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 22% from 2014 to 2019, beacon technology could help travel firms tailor their efforts further.
This would allow companies to see where a customer is at any time, with mobile devices reacting to beacons in certain locations.
Such technology would be especially helpful at a time when tourists are eager to explore so-called hipster districts off the beaten track rather than visiting traditional tourist areas – another trend identified in the WTM report.
The study found that visitors to European cities are increasingly seeking out trendy "hipster" neighbourhoods.
For instance, areas with fewer hotels such as Dalston in London, Kreuzberg in Berlin and District VII in Budapest have been opened up thanks to the accommodation booking capabilities offered via the Airbnb website, says Euromonitor.
For today's travellers and travel firms alike, mobile travel technology offers a wealth of opportunities.
With a mobile that knows where you are and what you like, that's able to ping personalised recommendations, it could be the end of the road for the trusty holiday guide book – and just the start for smart technologies.