In a few short months, ICE is set to turn 15. Embracing nostalgia, we decided to look back at 2 important topics to us in the year we came into being: IT in the travel industry in 2007.
How Tech Is Changing Travel Now
Today, travel specialists are equipped with all manner of tools designed to help them send holidaymakers away more easily. Online booking, mobile websites and apps have all empowered us to take bookings into our own hands, too. Gone are the days when a holiday was only booked over the phone or in your local travel agency.
The travel experience itself is also changing. Digital transformation increases our electronic touchpoints, which in turn can mean a smoother journey. Consider this; many cruise ships now have tablets and touchscreens positioned all around. These allow for a more interactive holiday where ‘instant gratification’ is closer than ever before.
Technology now allows us to enjoy a 24/7 relationship with travel. We can search for flights around-the-clock by simply going online. We can choose hotels to stay in by using a plethora of devices at our own convenience.
What then lays ahead?
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have already made a mark on travel and with the possibilities they offer, this will grow. Several cruise lines deploy the tech to show users the different cabins available on their cruise ships. VR can transport travellers anywhere around the world, thus providing further encouragement to book that next holiday.
You should also look out for robots* and an increase in contactless payment options. Of course, digital transformation in travel also means a greater need for cyber security measures. Travel companies must then be ever more cyber aware.
*We are not joking. Watch this video about robots working for Sheraton hotels…
IT In The Travel Industry In 2007
15 years ago, VR was definitely a long way off in travel. Some considered having a website with online booking functionality to be futuristic. Indeed, not all travel websites were even responsive. IT was however embraced to enable the creation of more tailored and personalised holidays. New IT systems were developed and were sought out with greater frequency. ICE was proud to have been a part of that shift, helping many travel clients to find the right IT solution for their business and with IT managed services.
In 2007, the high street travel agency had a strong presence. That presence is not quite what it was back then, despite the fact that there are still many outlets to visit. The shift towards digital holiday research was gaining real traction 15 years ago. One reason for this was Trip Advisor, which was on its way to 26 million monthly unique visitors (achieved by 2008). That plus a yearly profit of $129m led to the birth of others such as Trust Pilot.
Facebook was also becoming something of an online phenomenon. Social media is a vital element for the travel industry these days. Instagram is perhaps the key platform for sharing holiday snaps and videos now. In 2007, though, this was mainly done via Mark Zuckerberg’s creation.
Social media received another adrenaline shot when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. Whilst there were some great mobile devices already available, this is rightly seen as a game-changer. In a 2019 US survey by Trip Advisor, 45% of respondents said they used smartphones for everything involved in the vacation process. This was not the case 15 years ago but the possibilities were there for all to see.
IT in the travel industry in 2007 was not a million miles away from where we are now on a cerebral level. Back then those of us working in the industry could foresee how well VR could be used, for instance. As with most things though, the passage of time was required. Developers and innovators needed it to refine their ideas. Travellers needed it to adapt from telephone booking to online booking. Social media enthusiasts required time for their sharing efforts to evolve.
Whatever happens over the next few years, one thing is for sure: The travel industry will continue to thrive. It is true that it has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic in a business sense. theICEway has spent years helping travel clients and we’re delighted to report that they are quite a resilient bunch! We continue to work alongside many of these and look forward to doing so for a lot more years to come.
Let us know what you think of this article in the comments below. Do you work in the travel industry? How has the pandemic affected you? Did you work in travel or IT for travel in 2007? Or maybe you do right now? Whatever your experience, we’d love to hear from you!