Granted we are not psychics, but there are plenty of indications that this year will surpass 2015 when it comes to innovation in the travel industry. So fasten your seatbelts. Here are four innovative travel trends to look out for in 2016.
Imagine this: a digital biometric passport, or e-passport, with your personal information that allows you to travel effortlessly to certain countries and clear immigration via a SmartGate. For Australians, this may become the norm this year. Biometric data, a digital photo and voilà. Does it get any easier than that?
Less human interaction
Customer Service will undergo considerable changes as well. Apparently, in 2016 we won’t have to deal with actual humans nearly as often. Web chat, text messages, and Facebook Messenger will lead the way, ensuring access to a wide range of travel services, from local tips to recommendations to room service. No more picking up the phone to ask for clean towels or a midnight snack.
Handhelds for everything
More and more, we rely on our cell phones to plan our travels. Travelers increasingly start and finalize their plans on smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices are paving the way to a new consumer journey. For planning, booking and moving around, these devices have become an integral part of our travels, even for the more spontaneous of us.
Bleisure travel: business + leisure
Bleisure is becoming the new hot trend worldwide. As business travelers are mixing more leisure into their trips, brands are learning to adapt their products accordingly. In a 2015 trend report by travel website Skift, work travel is depicted as more of a lifestyle than a necessity for an increasing number of people. Instead of spending all of their time in conference rooms, they are adding personal time to their trips, giving them something to look forward to and a healthy dose of R&R before heading back to the office. Fortunately, businesses are also getting on board with this trend.
Must-have gadgets and devices
If you are traveling around the world and the jet lag is dragging you down, you may want to keep an eye out for Sleepion, a device presented at CES 2016 designed to help you get a good night’s sleep. It employs a triple-pronged stimulus of the senses with a speaker system that plays soothing sounds, a ceramic aromatherapy diffuser that emits relaxing smells and a light that flickers like a candle.
There may also come a day when you are visiting an Asian country and have no clue how to even ask where you can find a restroom. The iLi pendant is a wearable translator that hangs around your neck and translates between Japanese, English, and Chinese in real-time.
Finally, wherever your family or friends are taking you for the holidays, or your company is sending you on important business, perhaps the most important device you’ll need is the LugLoc. It’s not a GPS, but works with GSM-GPRS technology to locate your missing luggage within seconds in any airport or bus terminal. Travel carefree, no strings attached.
As it unfolds, the future holds exciting new possibilities for travel. So sit back and enjoy the ride.