Sabre Corporation has released the Sabre Labs 2018 Emerging Technology Report, its latest forecast on evolving technology trends that will impact travel over the next decade. The 2018 report evaluates automation, authenticity and blockchain as three major areas for consideration.
People are coming to understand that the travel business is indeed a technology business, said Philip Likens, Director, Sabre Labs. He says, “Even the simplest journey generates huge amounts of data. Collecting, indexing and understanding that data – and how we apply that understanding to improve travellers’ experiences is what will drive innovation across the entire travel ecosystem. Tech is going to reshape the entire travel experience – whether it is AI and machine learning to automate and optimise tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences digitally, or using new protocols for travellers to head to the airport and leave their wallet and ID at home.”
Automation is not a new idea. However, advancements in AI and machine learning offer the potential for step-changes in how one may be served in the digital environment. Awareness and cognitive capacity for machines suggest a huge range of opportunities for those serving the travel space to completely rethink when and what to sell, how to staff and operate their businesses, and how to anticipate and exceed their own customers’ needs.
In our current age, trust is in low supply – so authenticity and authentic experiences are more valuable than ever. At the same time, businesses need to rely on technology and digitisation to interact with their customers at scale. But is technology in tension with authenticity? Is digital the enemy of the real? And how can one reconcile augmented and virtual realities with authenticity? The report examines and unpacks these complex issues.
Huge volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has been dominating headlines but serve to overshadow the value in the underlying blockchain technology. Separating crypto hype from the actual potential of distributed ledger technology – which enable secure transactions to take place – can be hard to do. But there is significant promise for blockchain as it relates to travel, not the least of which is this – imagine heading off on a round-the-world trip without having to bring your passport or wallet. Likens concluded, “Tomorrow’s travellers have expectations fuelled by access to information, smooth experiences and personalised offers. There is tremendous opportunity for companies to begin thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to interact with tomorrow’s travellers. This report explores how technology can mediate and enhance these interactions.”
Sabre Labs is the innovation team within Sabre devoted to exploring how new capabilities will impact travel over the next decade.