We've been doing a bit of research into the key technology trends which are predicted to impact on the travel sector and beyond this year.  Here's a quick summary of our findings:-

Battle of Mobile Devices

Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide and by 2015 over 80% of handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones.  By 2015 tablets will account for around 50% of laptop shipments, with Google's Android and Apple's iOS ruling the market.  In the post-PC era, Windows is just one of a host of IT environments that IT will need to support.

Internet Connection

Everything will conect to the internet, including cameras, microphones, augmented reality, buildings and embedded sensors everywhere.  A wide range of new applications and services will be launched but new challenges will be presented.  Objects will increasingly act as 'users' of other systems.  So for example, trucks will schedule their own maintenance and warehouse robots will interface with an ERP system for self replenishment. 

Big Data

The travel industry will continue to exploit the opportunities provided by offering a more personalised approach.  With 99% of web visitors willing to allow cookies on their browser in exchange for a more personalised experience, expectations will be high when it comes to browsing and online shopping.  Delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time will allow website owners to break down barriers to conversion.

Social Media - Looking for value not volume

Markeing departments will be switching the emphasis from generating more 'likes' on Facebook and more followers on Twitter to strategies which focus on finding more value from their social media activities.  Travel companies will be making more use of the fans that they already have with discounting, clever CRM, competitions and loyalty campaigns.

Who owns the customer?

When a visitor arrives at a destination, who should be interacting with them?  Should it be the DMO or the airline that flew them there or the hotel that they are staying at?  2013 will see the battle commence as companies try to develop web/mobile services away from their core offering in order to build stronger customer relationships around the entire travel experience, rather than just their part of it.

Personal Cloud

The personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals store their personal content, access their services and control their digital lives.  This will be the glue which connects the web of devices they use during different aspects of their daily lives.  In this world, no one platform, technology or vendor will dominate and mobile device management will be imperative.  The personal cloud shifts the focus from the client device to cloud based services delivered across a range of devices.

China Becomes a Key Player

China will become one of the main travel markets, both from an outbound and inbound perspective.  Destinations will need both a strong digital and offline stategy and companies serious about the Chinese market will be seeking technology partnerships with in-destination companies for increased efficiency.

and in contrast:-

Digital Detox

As technology and social media become become increasingly pervasive, so will our need to turn them off now and again.  Holiday resorts will offer digital detox breaks, turning off their wireless signals and satellite dishes and attracting waves of visitors who want to recharge their batteries.

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