Digital Travel APAC X TTG Asia: Technology Shaping Tomorrow’s Travel

TTG Asia partners with Digital Travel APAC to present the latest trends in technology and key insights from the stellar line-up of speakers.

New technologies are seeing swift uptake from consumers, driven by consumers’ growing digital impatience and expectation for instant responses, answers and solutions to their queries and purchasing requests. Travel companies are likewise adopting various technologies at every stage of their journey to improve operational efficiencies and meet customers’ expectations.

Here are the key technologies shaping and transforming the travel industry.

Artificial intelligence

Making rapid inroads into the travel and hospitality sectors is artificial intelligence (AI), which automates computer processes to understand and mimic human behaviour through natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. NLP helps computers understand human speech or typing, while machine learning refers to computer programmes that learn from new information or data without having to be explicitly programmed

. Together, they enable computers to respond to specific questions or requests, and improve the relevance of responses over time. Chatbots, offshoots of AI, are becoming ubiquitous and are especially prevalent in customer service, programmed to resolve simple issues that previously required the mitigation of a real-time agent.

However, with growing automation, human intuition and engagement skills are expected to become even more valuable. In contrast with algorithms which rely on access to extensive personal data to customise recommendations, human staff can be trained to provide excellent, personalized service without needing much prior context.

Internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices connected by electronics in conversation, and the travel industry has emerged as the frontrunner in IoT spending. Airlines are using IoT to impove all aspects of the passenger experience, from baggage handling to safety monitoring and checking the efficiency of the planes themselves.

Travel pundits are also expecting to see the IoT take off in the hospitality landscape, enabling hotels to completely personalise the guest experience through in-room smart devices to a network of controls.

Augmented and virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have an easy fit with the travel and tourism sector. VR, which makes users feel as though they are physically present in a digitally created environment, has seen progressive adoption in the travel and tourism industry, with VR headsets becoming a mainstream consumer product in recent years. VR applications in the travel industry are numerous. Travel companies such as Thomas Cook, Flight Centre and Virgin Holidays are already experimenting with VR in-store to give potential customers tours of the destinations they’re selling.

Voice technology

A relatively newer concept on the market, voice-enabled devices are expected to see significant uptake in an increasingly time-sensitive world. What Siri started doing for iPhone users several years back has evolved into an entire industry, with the mainstream success of devices such as Amazon Echo and Alexa.

Developing markets are also driving the next wave of voice-powered technology. While North America accounted for 95 per cent of Alexa and Google Assistant users in end-2016, Travelport projects that over 47 per cent of device users will be in Asia and Ocean by 2021.

Voice search currently presents the greatest opportunity in hotels. According to Travelport Digital Mobile Travel Trends Survey 2017, 31 per cent of travel brands intend to invest in voice technology in 2018.

Voice technology

The value underlying blockchain technology has often been overshadowed by headlines on the huge volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies, according to Sabre Labs in its latest Emerging Technology in Travel 2018 Report, as the global technology provider sees blockchain as among the technology trends that will define the future of travel.

Sabre recommends travel agencies to start learning about blockchain so that they could understand and strategise how business can benefit from data that should be scarce, shared and permanent. While other industries have been quick to adopt cryptocurrencies, the travel industry isn’t far behind as a growing number of companies and businesses is now accepting digital cash as a form of payment.

Find out the inside scoop with these exclusive interviews

How do you maximize the use of technology in the hotel business without compromising the overall guest experience?

How the growth of mobile adoption led airlines to up their social media game?

How they are currently diversifying its product offerings and tips on how to succeed in the industry?


  • Mindy Teo, Vice president of Brand, Marketing & Digital Innovation, The Ascott
  • Marc Bichet, Chief Marketing Officer, GCP Hospitality
  • Christopher Chan, General Manager or Research & Technology, The HongKong and Shanghai Hotels
  • Xuewu (Shawn) Wa ng, Founder of Data Labs, China Eastern Airlines
  • Ruusa Koskelainen, Head of eCommerce Marketing & CRM, Finnair
  • Alan Liu, director of business development and partnership, payment and loyalty, Grab

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