Reaching New Heights:
How Technology Has Transformed Travel
It might make you dizzy to remember the days before smartphones and the Internet, when you most likely had to rely on a travel agency, a well-thumbed tourist guide and the recommendations of family and friends to plan your next getaway. Those days of complicated paper documents, wildly expensive flights and getting lost in the middle of nowhere are all but gone; and instead of bulk-buying postcards and rolls of film, we can share our experiences with our loved ones in an instant, from almost anywhere in the world.
The digital revolution has absolutely transformed the way we travel, and our experience over ownership culture is seeing more people travel than ever before. Here are four major ways travel technology has taken off.
The Pocket Rocket
Smartphones have changed nearly every element of the travel experience: from fast online bookings to remote check-in; real-time travel updates to GPS – and, of course, the high megapixel digital camera. That little computer we carry around in our pockets is, in fact, millions of times more powerful than that of the first ever rocket to go to the moon, and we trust it more than anything to navigate our adventures. Travel brands are constantly evolving to fit our hi-tech expectations – and personalized services, such as the Horizn Travel Assistant, are the greatest luxury to the frequent traveler, alleviating the organizational hassles of travel. Some airlines are now trialling iBeacon technology, tracking passenger movement to trigger location-specific offers and improve customer experience. Whilst ever-expanding in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity means that we can now video call our friends and colleagues from 35,000 feet in the air!
Sharing is Caring
Thanks to the digital revolution, we are champions of the DIY getaway – and you can't get much more DIY than holidaying in someone else's house. Companies like Airbnb are making travel considerably more accessible to the masses, especially the younger generation. Their new 'Live There' campaign wants to throw out the notion that people want “templated experiences that dull the senses” and instead promote authentic, local experiences made possible through its two million homes. Its impact on the travel industry has been so great that it's even supporting secondary marketplaces, such as Guesty and Beyond Stays. Another phenomenon to have sprung out of the sharing economy is Couchsurfing, connecting a global community of hosting and guesting backpackers for free – and it's not just sleeping on sofas! It's all about curiosity and generosity: “sharing your life, your experiences, your journey, your home, your extra almonds or a majestic sunset.”
Power to the people
We're all familiar with TripAdvisor. The site has over 350 million reviews and is testament to the huge importance of reviews and recommendations when it comes to planning our travel nowadays. In fact, according to Nielsen's latest Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of consumers around the world say that they trust earned media above all over forms of advertising. Social media is part of that, and it has a significant impact upon our booking decisions. Not only is it a way of discovering locations and attractions we may never have heard about before – particularly small businesses – but of those who used social media to research travel, only 48% stuck with their original plans.
Always on track
Forget navigating maps the size of a table or awkwardly asking for directions with your phrase book. Satellite navigation, geo-location and smartphones have given us the confidence to be more spontaneous – and less lost – than ever on our travels. Apps like Facebook and Foursquare have incorporated a social element, helping us to discover and share – or brag about – new places with our friends in real-time, based upon our location. And it's now harder than ever to lose our belongings too. The Horizn Cabin Trolley with GPS and the Horizn Guard Card, for example, are life-savers for on the go; allowing you to track your bag or luggage via your phone so you can avoid those airport dramas!