The future of travel

The future of travel

By Mary Porter, Skyscanner

Trying to predict the future of travel is fascinating. With so many emerging technologies it is mind-boggling to imagine just what their impact on travel could be.

Skyscanner’s brand new report, The Future of Travel 2024, examines how travel is set to change and what holidaymakers are likely to experience over the next 10 years.

We’ve worked alongside The Future Laboratory, a UK consultancy that forecasts trends and innovation, to produce the three-part report, which predicts that a decade from now, wearable next generation digital technologies will transform how people plan and book holidays.

The Digital Travel Buddy

A range of comparison websites emerged throughout the noughties, including Skyscanner, to help you find the best deal on your flights or hotel. By 2024, globetrotters will have a Digital Travel Buddy, a virtual companion that uses artificial intelligence to accurately suggest and book suitable trips for the traveller of the millennium (TOM).

Global Futurist Daniel Burns, author of Technotrends: How to Use Technology to Go Beyond your Competition said the Digital Travel Buddy “could have a face, voice and personality of our favourite actor or comedian and appear to us as a 3D hologram image at our verbal command”.

Semantic search will play a huge part as the Digital Travel Buddy will communicate hyper-personalised preferences to TOM. This will include everything from your favourite breakfast food to your gym regime and the stitch count of the cotton sheets on the hotel bed.

According to IMS Research, by 2016, Google will ship 6.6m units of Google Glass, the camera-enabled smart glasses, every year. But by the 2020s, wearable technologies will have evolved to be much smaller and faster, with many more capabilities.

A mobile device will be produced that is so small it will fit onto a contact lens. This will provide immediate translations, breaking down language barriers and the need to learn the local lingo whilst abroad.

The Skyscanner report also forecasts that virtual reality will offer holidaymakers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’, allowing them to see the sights, hear the sounds, and even feel the landscape of a destination. Nik Gupta, Skyscanner’s director of hotels said: “In 10 years’ time, a traveller will be able to take a virtual reality walk through the hotel he is planning to book in real time.”

All in all, TOM’s booking and planning experience will be incredibly seamless, collaborative, bespoke and immersive.

You can read or download the full report at www.skyscanner2024.com. Sections two and three will focus on the journey itself and the destinations that travellers of the future will visit. These will be available later in 2014, so watch this space!

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site. With headquarters at Quartermile in Edinburgh, it provides instant online comparisons for millions of flights as well as car hire and hotels.

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