The report reveals that travel companies are increasingly experimenting with 360-degree tours, VR technology and even Facebook Booking Bots to interact with travellers, as Millennials rely more and more on technology.
Social media will also be an integral part of the entire travel journey, from the consideration phase, all the way to returning and sharing the entire experience.
Alex Platts, Commercial Director, Brand Expedia Northern Europe said: “Through social media, the generations of today feel much deeper connections with the wider world. Regardless of age, they have a strong desire to enrich their lives through travel and a genuine need of sharing every experience online in new ways.”
Expedia also predicts the booking process will be completely transformed, through immersive virtual and augmented reality technologies, which will allow travellers to have a deeper understanding of what a destination ‘feels like’ before making a booking.
Rachael Power from Virtual Reality News, who contributed to the piece, explains how for the first time the holiday of the future will allow people to ‘try before they buy’.
She said: “Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel. People can ‘try before they buy’ by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way. It also shakes things up for those who are immobile or on smaller budgets; the view from Machu Picchu is now simply the cost of a Google Cardboard headset away.”
Expedia envisions a future where content shared on social media will evolve from the standard photo into rich-media experiences. Virtual reality and 360-degree film technology will begin to reach critical mass once brands invest in content for this medium. Tourism Australia recently partnered with Expedia to launch an innovative brand campaign using 360-degree video called ‘How Far’. The series of films was created using the latest technology and highlights how travel can transform you and shape your view of the world.
In addition to VR, the report also looks at developments in transportation, airport security and hospitality, all designed to deliver more personalised and seamless travelling experiences. This will happen sooner than expected, as self-driving transportation and smartphone based airport and hotel check-in technologies are already being tested.
Travel experts also anticipate the disappearance of manned check-in front desks and the emergence of holographic concierge features, digitised butlers or ‘smart mirrors’ designed to provide bespoke services according to each guest’s unique needs and wants.
It seems the future of travel isn’t that far away in the future.