Sabre tracks travel trends

SINGAPORE: 28 January 2019: Will chatbots become virtual companions for travellers who want to be anti-social and love their own company?

The latest trend titbits, some of the on the verge of wishful thinking, are presented by Sabre Corporation, a technology provider to the global travel industry, in a study conducted with TrendWatching.

The study tracks global consumer trends tapping experts for insights to reveal the top consumer trends that will shape the hospitality industry in 2019 and beyond.

“The hospitality industry is always reinventing itself, constantly adapting to the changing expectations of travellers,” said Sabre Hospitality Solutions president Clinton Anderson. “As a result, digital transformation has become a rising priority for hoteliers due to its ability to generate more targeted, personalized offers.

The study whittle down to four trends that Sabre says are noteworthy.

Virtual companions

While time-pressed travellers may wish to avoid other people during their stay, others will welcome companionship – even in virtual form.

Travellers deeply accustomed to digital assistants, chatbots and more will look to the next evolution of artificial intelligence. They will seek out virtual personalities that have the power to entertain, educate and befriend. The presence of virtual digital assistants has grown incrementally since 2011, and shows no sign of stopping.

Breaking bricks

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are expanding into hospitality – building immersive brand experiences for their customers – providing an entirely new breed of competition for traditional players, while delighting loyal fans.

Social media feeds have become saturated with picture-perfect travel snapshots of branded lifestyles, and as a result, consumers have ever-higher standards when shopping. Brands hold the capacity of reaching overstimulated customers by launching unique partnerships to cut through the noise, in unexpected locations.

Magic point-of-sale

Using their devices to summon a “magic point-of-sale,” travellers can engage with establishments, browse products, test and purchase in innovative new ways.

Smart brands are using technology to gain rich data on consumer preferences and habits, and are leveraging innovative channels like these to reach them in the right place, at the right time.

Globally, the augmented reality (AR) market hit USD1.1 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach USD7.9 billion by 2023. The maturing of virtual reality (VR) and AR revolutionises how and where consumers shop and engage with brands.

New workforce

The proliferation of on-demand services and co-working environments are transforming expectations around work and travel. Growing cohorts of professionals are making travel their main priority by becoming digital nomads. The explosion in gig economy and freelancing platforms indicate that consumers are embracing alternative lifestyles that don’t tie them down to a specific company, location, or even daily schedule.