Few industries rely on technology quite as much as the travel sector. Let's be honest, travelling requires some serious effort, from researching and booking the trip to physically getting to the destination. We can only be thankful that technology removes some of the effort otherwise it'd be much harder for travel brands to convince people to part with their hard-earned cash.
In 2016, developers sought to make travel even less taxing – we're expecting a similar story in 2017. Tech.co examined just how technology is changing the way we travel, reminding us just how far we've come.
Development of the sharing economy
The birth of the sharing economy probably dates back to 2004 when the Couchsurfing website came on to the scene, providing a platform for people to "surf" on couches by staying as a guest at a host's home, host travellers, meet other members, or join an event.
Uber and Airbnb have taken the sharing economy up a notch, with both companies branching out in the form of Uber Eats (available only in select cities currently) and Airbnb Experiences. In 2016, Airbnb even took steps to move away from being strictly a home-rental firm with its Trips app which promises to give travellers the option to book "immersive" travel experiences.
Smart apps changing the way we see the world
There are so many apps available to travellers these days, but the best ones are those which are able to capture users' information and data and turn it into personalised recommendations. Travel apps like Firef.ly, for example, have the power to change how we see the world, offering recommendations based on the user's current situation: the weather, the time of day, your interests, budgets and so on.
Airbnb Trips works in a similar way but instead locals offer up the recommendations, putting on unique local travel experiences, such as violin making in Paris and marathon running in Kenya.
Virtual reality whetting the appetite
Virtual reality properly caught fire in 2016 and travel firms have been quick to make use of the technology. Thomas Cook offers VR videos of destinations and you can download apps like Ascape to explore curated lists of VR content from around the world.
This acts as a showcase for destinations, whetting the appetite of travellers who are thinking of making the trip – a virtual 'try before you buy', as Tech.co puts it.
Language no longer a barrier
Waverly Labs promises 'a world without language barriers' with its earpiece, The Pilot, which translates between languages. The tech, which raised over US$4 million as a crowdfunding project, is slated for release in May 2017. Mashable has dubbed it like something "out of science fiction" while Forbes says it as close to Star Trek's universal translator as it has seen. Users will be able to toggle between languages using the accompanying smartphone app.
If that doesn't get you excited for the new travel tech in 2017, nothing will.
Digital Trip offer a wide range of advanced travel technology features to give customers a seamless booking experience through the use of multi lingual and multi currency optimisation, reporting tools for gathering key data into your users and a variety of upsell opportunities.