Technology

Is the future of travel interaction free?

The thought of interaction-free travel makes us squirm with unease.

Who wants to go on holiday only to be met with the silent treatment from their airline, hotel or experience provider?

anigif_enhanced-8163-1407956180-3

Travel is all about human experiences and interactions but with the rise of AI and automation technologies, travellers could soon find themselves faced with a robot for many aspects of their travel experiences.

According to futurist, Michael McQueen the rise of AI and automation doesn’t have to be scary if the industry can find the right balance.

We chatted with McQueen last week about what the future holds for travel and the major obstacles the industry will face in the coming years.

McQueen’s new book How to Prepare Now for What’s Next explores how businesses and industries can thrive in a time of disruption and forecasts trends coming up in the next five to ten years.

We were so fascinated by his work, we’ve decided to make a three-part series of weekly articles about future trends and overcoming disruption for the travel industry.

See also: Futurist warns: “Agents need to add value you can’t get online”

Today, we’re focusing on, you guessed it, interacting with robots!

sophia-robot

McQueen assured us the chaotic tendencies of the above robot will not be a problem in the foreseeable future, but we’re still holding out for the robot apocalypse.

He thinks automation and AI will actually be very useful in streamlining the experience and assuring traveller comfort, particularly when checking into hotels.

“Few people actually want to deal with a human after travelling for 30 hours,” he said.

“Having to front up and speak to someone at that point, there is no value in that.”

“I just want to get in, I want to have a shower, I want to go to bed immediately. The less contact points the better.”

“However, the next day when I wake up and I want to get some inside goss on what I should see in the city, where are the best tours, then the concierge then is tremendously valuable. And that relationship will remain really important.”

McQueen told us it will be about whether or not the human aspect of a transaction adds value to the experience.

“When you go to the bar at a hotel you’re going to want to be served by a human.”

“If its an experience you’re going to be paying for and, realistically, if you’re going to a bar and ordering a $23 cocktail you want a bit of pizazz.”

“It’s not just about the transaction there. In those moments the experiences are still going to be about people.”

“But purely transactional stuff, which is checking in, getting food delivered will be different.”

“You don’t need someone to bring your club sandwich and fries to your room, which is why they’re developing robots to drop it off for you, so you can answer the door in your bathrobe.”

Personally, we would still answer the door in a bathrobe given the option, delivery robot or not.

We’d wear one to the office if we could.

McQueen said biometrics will be another aspect that deletes the human aspect in exchange for a swifter transaction.

“I still find it absolutely staggering that we use passports,” he said.

To think we use a paper document as our most important reference point for verifying data its crazy when you think about it.”

“So for security and immigration checks, the future of those transactions is biometrics.”

Many airports are already trialling facial recognition and fingerprinting, but McQueen said this will become much more widespread.

See also: Passengers love self-service tech at airports 

We’ll see passports disappear in our lifetime. And biometrics will take their place.”


Do you have something to say on this? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Ali Coulton here to share your thoughts.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

How Travel Weekly has got your back during the COVID-19 crisis

We’ve come up with a few initiatives to help you recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever. Find out what they are here.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Women in Travel Awards winners’ circle: Siobhan Foley, Accenture

Looking for some inspo for your Women in Travel Awards entry? Siobhan Foley’s story will have you hitting ‘submit’ in no time.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: Hawaii’s message to travellers, Hawaiian Airlines helps out medical workers + MORE!

This week’s Aloha Friday Wrap details how the US island state and its airline are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and also provides some holiday inspo for once things return to normal.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“Aloha from our home to yours”: Hawaii’s message to travellers

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has asked travellers to postpone their trips to the US island state so it can effectively address the health crisis.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines to support medical workers with complimentary flights

Hawaiian Airlines will provide complimentary neighbour island flights for medical professionals during the month of April to support travel associated with COVID-19 response efforts.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Here’s how your clients can experience Oahu’s rich history and culture

by Ashlee Galea

An integral part of making a Hawaii holiday amazing, aside from beach time and tropical cocktails, is taking a deep dive into the culture and history of the Hawaiian Islands.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival president slams NSW government’s “bitterly disappointing” treatment of cruise industry

by Ali Coulton

Sture Myrmell says the state government is not only putting remaining crew members at risk, but also impacting the cruise industry as a whole.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas under investigation following cleaner’s suspension

Following news that ASIC would investigate Qantas, SafeWork NSW has launched a probe into the suspension of an aircraft cleaner who was employed by the national carrier.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“The world will soon return”: Abu Dhabi says city’s silence is a time for reflection

by Christian Fleetwood

Abu Dhabi has released a message of hope, looking forward to the moment the emirate can welcome the world again.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WATCH: Empty Welsh streets taken over by tribe of goats

In the deserted streets of Llandudno in northern Wales, where residents are on lockdown, goats have descended from the Great Orme and into the town.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Webjet pulls plug on cruise sales business, actions 440-plus redundancies

by Huntley Mitchell

The online travel company has resumed trading on the ASX, but not before detailing some harsh measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott suffers data breach involving 5.2 million guests

What started as a headache for Marriott’s boss amid the COVID-19 crisis has turned into a migraine following this unfortunate news.

Share

CommentComments