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Travel Technology 4.0: Propelling Tourism Into the Future

This year’s ITB Berlin has three major axes of interest: security, the changing paradigm in luxury travel, and travel technology 4.0. The latter is more than just a catch-cry or a fad. Technology is in many ways the primary driver of the industry’s growth.

In his keynote speech at the ITB Future Day on 8 March on the subject of “Technology vs. Humanity? Artificial intelligence and the prospects it offers for business, society and humankind”, Prof. Dr. Hans Uszkoreit, Scientific Director and Head of the Faculty of ITBBN17_CouvHomepage_D3.pngLanguage Technology at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), explained the extent to which artificial intelligence will change business structures, social processes and our private lives.

Meanwhile, the current capabilities of robots were demonstrated live on the stage on the same day by the robot Pepper, with Nicolas Boudot, EMEA Sales Director, SoftBank Robotics Europe, reporting about the many promising applications for service robots at destinations, and areas where they can be particularly effectively deployed. At the eTravel Lab Day, Tymon Wiedemair, co-founder and Chief Executive of Ulmon GmbH, explained how artificial intelligence can be used to personalise travel content on mobile devices. This has been made possible by the introduction on a mass scale of mobile technologies in recent years, as well as by the creation of powerful artificial intelligence systems that make use of localised data in order to supply travellers with personalised content.

The development of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) has an impact on every industry, including hotel industry. One of the examples cited by Andriew Lim of the HotelSchool at The Hague was that of the CityHub Amsterdam, an urban hotel that provides their guests with a wristband and a mobile app so that they can customise and make transactions during their stay. The forward march of booking technologies is also making a big impact at the show. Jet2holidays, for example, is moving forward from using only traditional static contracts, to bringing on-board new technologies to work dynamically with their suppliers.

Then there’s Virtual Reality, building management systems, energy management, front of house, back of house, PoS, PoI, in-room entertainment systems, wayfinding, digital signage, digital menus, and integration of much of the above; it’s mind boggling. Take some time to visit a few of the tech exhibitors and if possible attend some of the extraordinary tech sessions at the ITB Berlin Convention. Indeed, while Artificial Intelligence is on the rise, extraordinary industry intelligence is the order of the day at ITB Berlin!