The influence of artificial intelligence, the need for businesses of all sizes to protect against hackers and why travel must hone its TikTok content were among topics explored at the 2023 TTI Travel Tech Summit.
Experts gathered in London this week to assess the year’s key technology issues and debate how the industry can capitalise on shifting trends – and where it is lagging behind other sectors.
Here are four tech developments poised to shake-up travel in 2023.
’AI Has Potential Across Every Aspect Of Travel’
Artificial intelligence – providing it is used in the right context – has the potential to help travel businesses across every part of the industry.
That was the message from Travel Ledger founder Roberto De Re, who predicted AI will be able to transform the customer experience journey – offering differentiated product information and client services – meaning travel brands could do away with “rigid” bots.
“It would cost a fortune to pay human beings to create unique content for every distributor, so AI has a real application in that space,” he said.
’Big Or Small – You’re Equally At Risk’
No matter how small your company is – you still must take steps to protect yourself from online hackers and against cybercrime.
Darren Gale, vice-president of IronNet Cyber Security, said digital attacks were getting “more sophisticated” and travel companies needed to focus on employee education as well as defensive tools.
“I can guarantee travel is being focussed on by these threats because of the industry’s data sets and their desirability, as well as the transaction volumes associated with holiday bookings,” Gale warned.
Time Is Ticking – So Up Your Tiktok Game
We all know the growing influence of TikTok but just how impactful is it to certain demographics when planning their travel?
According to Yona Fredericks-Elekima, founder of online travel agency the Take Off Club, 60% of the app’s users are Gen Z [those born from the late-1990s to early 2010s] and they are being influenced to book through companies displaying their favourite content.
“People will be asking ‘Where did you book? Where can I find this holiday?” Fredericks-Elekima told delegates. “They want to be able to go on these holidays.”
Although, she stressed the industry should not have a one-size-fits-all approach to its social channels, and urged brands to “find what works for you”.
’Don’t Be Afraid To Integrate Payments’
The tourism and hospitality sectors are “still very far behind” when it comes to integrated payment solutions, according to Planet’s senior VP for the UK, Ireland and North America Steven Dow.
“Businesses don’t move quickly because they’re nervous… there’s the whole GDPR finance compliance, the data security, it’s all very stressful,” he told delegates.
Dow urged travel firms to boost their integrated payment services in a bid to streamline processes and improve customer experience.
He explained it could be the difference between a customer having to queue at a hotel reception for their room key and them having all the information already on their credit card.