Overall, travelers are open to incorporating emerging technologies as part of the travel experience, especially for research and planning purposes. In fact, nearly 2 in 3 travelers relied upon some kind of emerging technology during a travel experience in the past year.
A new study released today by MMGY Travel Intelligence examines technology’s growing impact on travel from two distinct perspectives: the traveler and the marketer. The comparative study, titled Emerging Technologies in Travel & Tourism, explores innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual assistants and augmented reality through the lens of the travel industry.
“What’s fascinating to me is what we learned about the concerns travelers have about emerging technologies and how they will impact their travel experiences in the coming years,” said MMGY Travel Intelligence EVP Chris Davidson. “Having a clear understanding of these perspectives, concerns and potential barriers will be important for travel industry executives who expect to introduce new technologies successfully in the years ahead.”
The online survey captured detailed feedback from more than 1,000 U.S. adult travelers and more than 100 leaders from destination marketing organizations (DMOs). Among the insights gleaned from this study, MMGY Travel Intelligence identified the following:
- Overall, travelers are open to incorporating emerging technologies as part of the travel experience, especially for research and planning purposes. In fact, nearly 2 in 3 travelers relied upon some kind of emerging technology during a travel experience in the past year.
- When asked which technologies they feel have the most potential to improve the travel experience in the next five years, travelers and destination marketers differed in their responses. Travelers’ top three choices were the Internet of Things (47%), Virtual Assistants (41%) and Virtual Reality (17%). Destination marketers, on the other hand, were most enthusiastic about the prospects for Generative Artificial Intelligence (70%), Virtual Assistants (32%) and Augmented Reality (31%).
- Unlike travelers, destination marketers are highly focused and bullish on Generative AI. Just over half of the DMO leaders surveyed said that they are already using Gen AI (56%) in their marketing efforts (most often for content management), and 46% are likely to use the technology to help make marketing decisions in the next year.
- The survey’s open-ended questions revealed that some consumers are wary of new technology because it makes things too complicated or could negatively impact the excitement of making plans to travel. For some, travel planning is an important and personal part of the process, and platforms such as Gen AI threaten to homogenize the experience.
- Above all, travelers are highly concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information when it comes to using these new technologies. Three out of every 4 travelers surveyed expressed concern with protecting their personal data and privacy in relation to using new technology.
“Data compliance changes are going to come fast and will have broad implications in how we collect, manage and utilize data,” said MMGY’s SVP of Marketing Technology, Robert Patterson. “DMOs should be hypervigilant of this concern, whether they’re confident in their ability to conform to data regulations or not.”
Traveler and marketer opinions toward virtual reality, the use of ad blockers and several other topics are also examined in Emerging Technologies in Travel & Tourism. For more insights or to purchase a copy of the full study, visit mmgyintel.com. MMGY Global thanks its sponsors, Tripadvisor, Destination Ann Arbor and Discover The Palm Beaches Florida, for their contributions to this study.