Travellers are looking for technology to offer inspiration for their trips and hotels will be expected to include more tech-related services to enhance travel experiences, according to a study conducted by Hilton Honors.
The research study, performed in conjunction with research and insights company ENGINE, surveyed 2,300 travellers aged between 20-45 who travelled for leisure at least three times in the last 12 months and intended to take another three trips in the coming 12 months. They hailed from 11 Asia Pacific countries and were segmented by life stage.
With a 44% rating, getting recommendations from locals was the most considered source of current travel inspiration, and at 37% learning through word-of-mouth was another high ranked information point. But that looks set to change.
Half of the respondents to the study said they would use virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) tours of their destinations to get inspiration for their holidays. Additionally, two in five travellers believed that using VR and AR could help make travel more fun in the future. About 40% of respondents saw VR and AI as key sources that could help build their knowledge, and allow them to step into and see destinations before booking or arrival.
Virtual influencers were also increasingly being considered as a valuable source of curated or branded advice, with 45% of respondents considering adopting this as as a method of sourcing information to decide on a destination.
And focusing on AI, 54% of young travellers and 39% of travellers overall perceived AI as having improved their travel experiences. Furthermore, 49% of young travellers believed AI helped them build knowledge. Smart sensors also got favourable ratings, with 40% of all travellers perceiving them as able to impact their overall travel experiences significantly in future.
Other than acting as a source of travel inspiration, respondents also expected hotel brands to adopt more tech-related services to enhance travel experiences, such as speeding up their check-ins and managing their entire trip better. Additionally, travellers are looking for improved ease in rebooking any missed flights, managing reservations, and receiving emergency push alerts to their mobile devices.
“Guests today expect integrated and personalised digital interactions across channels throughout their travels, which is why digital innovation is playing an increasingly critical role in ensuring a steady stream of new guests,” said Sarah Somerville, senior director of customer engagement, loyalty, and partnerships, Asia-Pacific at Hilton.