With global travel increasing, expectations among both companies and individual travellers are higher than ever when it comes to having a smooth travel experience. The Amadeus 2023 Travel Trends identify five new developments which the company believes will play a part in shaping travel over the coming year.
Mani Ganeshan, Global Head of Engineering, Travel Sellers Unit and Center Head, Amadeus Labs Bengaluru said, “Travellers worldwide expect seamless travel experiences driven by comfort, security, and personalization. The growing sophistication of technology underpins travel providers’ ability to deliver on these expectations and transform the customer experience. Now that the future has arrived, new and emerging technologies are enabling us to achieve these objectives in a new reality where people can better control their travel experiences while prioritizing aspects important to them, such as their impact on the environment, cultural nuances, interpersonal relationships, etc. With the emergence of newer technologies, the travel ecosystem is going through a fascinating and progressive phase. As technologies evolve to meet travelers’ expectations, they will rapidly shape the future of travel for the better.”
1) It’s travel, but not as we know it
In the coming years, the metaverse will take traveller engagement to the next level. Travellers will be able to enjoy deeper cultural experiences in an online world, exploring virtual concerts and exhibitions. The technology also offers enormous potential for pre-trip assistance and the opportunity to “try before you buy,” creating further wanderlust and excitement. This will become increasingly popular as a way to trial higher-priced items such as luxury cruise holidays.
Walt Disney Co. has plans to create a real-world theme park ride which incorporates a parallel 3D virtual world experience, while Seoul is blazing a trail with its plans to go “meta” by 2023, with a platform titled “Metaverse Seoul”. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, recently announced Qverse with a MetaHuman cabin crew, providing an immersive experience to tour, navigate and check-in at Hamad International Airport.
2) Smile for a smooth travel payment experience
Biometric payments—via the likes of ApplePay and GooglePay – are now mainstream for both retail and travel payments. But over the coming years, travel is likely to take biometric payments to the next level. Airports already use biometrics for travel document identification, so the logical next step is to leverage this identity check for any payments travelers make during their trip.
No more rooting around in a handbag for your wallet so you can upgrade to business class. If a traveler is using biometrics to check-in, drop off luggage, and board the plane, then these identity checks could double up to cover payments they could make while traveling, like adding an in-flight meal, delivering a smooth payment experience. Airports and travel operators will offer a completely contactless and convenient payment experience for passengers with the use of biometrics, at all points of the journey.
From paying for train tickets to seat upgrades, in-flight meals or late checkout at the hotel, with biometrics, travelers worldwide will use convenient, more secure, biometric payment solutions.
Small trials have already begun with travel retailer Hudson. They employed the Amazon One biometric payment solution at their store at Nashville International Airport, allowing customers to “just walk out” and pay with the palm of their hand.
3) Taking the words “traveling light” to the next levelA combination of customers becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and cost of checked in luggage is slimming down suitcases. Multiple trolley-loads of designer luggage are no longer a status symbol – quite the opposite.
Hotels and resorts are increasingly offering the hire of bulky items, such sports equipment and workout clothes. Those who do are also seeking to do so from hyper-local suppliers in order to be all the more popular with tourists. Alongside this, travelers are looking to buy essentials from the local destination, supporting and engaging with the community in the process and further ensuring they have meaningful travel experiences.
Global brands such as Hilton are offering exercise gear and equipment, helping travelers get closer to a “suitcase free stay”. We expect this trend to grow and evolve.
4) Working from roam
Remote workers will settle into an increasingly nomadic lifestyle, migrating to different locations. We will see workforces spend less time at their homes due to the widespread corporate formalisation of “work from anywhere” policies.
Workers will opt to spend time with friends and family in their domestic market or might spend a month working abroad. From a governmental perspective, we will see the continued rise of countries encouraging digital nomads through visa schemes and incentives.
Countries including Georgia, Croatia, Iceland and Germany have already created official schemes to attract digital nomads. Nomadlist is a platform connecting a global community of remote workers living and traveling around the world, helping them find competitively priced locations to work from. The platform lists Bangkok and Lisbon in its top five cities for digital working. Amadeus has seen a search increase of 165% from Sydney to Bangkok during the month of September 2022 as compared to 2019. There was also an increase of 74% in searches for flights from Sao Paulo to Lisbon during the same respective months.
5) Welcome to bonding business breaks
Business travel is back, with a difference. Over the past few years, many companies have introduced work-from-anywhere policies. With this has come the challenge of team bonding and collaboration. As a result, we are witnessing an uptick in “internal travel” plans, where teams are brought together for the express purpose of strengthening relationships.