The Future of Travel is upon us here at ITB Berlin. The theme of the conference? Disruptive Travel: The End of the World as We Know it.
Think it’s a bit drastic? Think again. Trends in tech advancements, artificial intelligence, and destabilization of popular tourist retreats are affecting the world and travel industry as we know it.
Day one at the world’s leading travel trade show has revolved around the impact of these topics.
To quote Europa.eu’s dossier titled Crystal Ball Gazing:
“The year 2020 will see the penetration of technology into all aspects of life. It will become possible to live one’s days without exposure to other people, according to WTO’s latest look into the future. But this bleak prognosis has a silver lining for the tourism sector. People in the high-tech future will crave the human touch and tourism will be the principal means to achieve this.”
Disruptive Travel: The End of the World as We Know it
This year at ITB, multiple sessions are focusing on the issues of safety and stability in times of crisis. With the tides changing in politics, economy, and security, many previously popular regions find themselves destabilised, and it’s affecting their tourism business.
Today, John Christian Kornblum – Senior Counsellor, Noerr LLP, and Former US Ambassador to Germany – delivered the first keynote speech, The New Era of World Disorder: The Multiplication of Crises, addressing hospitality professionals on how to deal with this issue.
This is what he had to say about how this instability affects tourism:
“The challenges of globalization are disrupting societies around the globe. Political leaders have so far failed to provide answers. No one will be able to escape the pressure for change.”
Change must come from the ground up. As the number of conflict-prone zones increases, and political uncertainty swells across historically favored destinations, the tourism trends that we’ve always known no longer apply.
As seasonality shifts, some previous tourist hotspots will fade whereas the savviest brands will persevere. Through new opportunities and demands in travel and technology, they’ll resonate with consumers who rely on advancements and seek stability during this transitional era.
Meet Pepper, the ideal concierge for people in the high-tech (near) future
Despite the drastic changes in consumer trends, as a result of socio-political turmoil, tourism is enjoying a myriad of rapid technological marvels. This year, ITB Berlin is looking at ways businesses can benefit from using artificial intelligence.
We caught up with the team behind SoftBank Robotics, a superbly innovative design firm that produces humanoid robots like Pepper, shown in our feature image.
Pepper is a clever little robot that can sense when you’re looking at her or need something. In addition to smart programming and sleek design, SoftBank spent countless hours tweaking her characteristics and intuitively designed her to appeal to adults and children alike.
Pepper’s eyes change from green to blue when she hears your voice and sees you moving towards her. She recognizes you, just like a front desk manager might.
She has two siblings, other humanoid robots, that she speaks of fondly. This robot family is shaking hands with hospitality professionals left, right, and center at ITB, and they’re making a good first impression.
But they’re not just on display. Currently, they’re working at a niche group of hotels in hopes that they may one day become the human touch travellers seek out in a tech-driven future.
The Future of Travel
Find these topics interesting? We’ve got the latest from across the industry, as discussed at ITB Berlin, right on this blog.
You might not be ready for a robot to take over check-in, but if you’re interested in streamlining your daily marketing and operations, we can help.
Let us know your thoughts about tech advancements and the future of travel below.