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Don’t underestimate technology: Miguel Neves

Miguel Neves, Chief Social Strategist, miguelseven.com, predicts the tech developments that will influence the travel business in the near future. By Reema Lokesh

Miguel Neves, Chief Social Strategist, miguelseven.com, predicts the tech developments that will influence the travel business in the near future. By Reema Lokesh

Travel and technology go in tandem. What does the future hold in this space?

The revolution, that is just around the corner is when the all-encompassing apps such as Google Maps and WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger start integrating with each other and making it a seamless experience to place orders, make payments and communicate with all travel providers. This is similar to what already happens in China via the WeChat platform. This will shift our attention away from static websites and long-form blog posts or videos further towards ratings, instant communication and quick purchasing decisions.

What kind of revolution do you predict that tech will bring in the travel space?

The move towards instant communication with people making purchasing decisions means that there needs to be a massive increase in resources to be able to service these consumers. It’s about putting the technology in place for anyone to scroll or walk by a hotel and almost instantly bring up the information they are looking for on their mobile device and make a booking, all within the same app. Large companies such as hotel chains and airlines already do this with their impressive customer service oriented social media presence. For them, the shift will be an obvious next step, but for the smaller companies, this is not so simple.

What tourism professionals should keep in mind about the future?

Don’t underestimate technology, it changes everything and often not in the way we expect it to. Everyone sees the world in a different way, and we often think about consumer behaviour only from our perspective. Fortunately, there are many different ways to see the world, so how things develop is largely unpredictable. We should all keep an eye on that.

Are there any challenges you see with rapid technology developments?

The most important challenges are the abuses that happen, particularly around data privacy. Just because technology enables us to do something doesn’t mean that we should do it. Companies make bad decisions around this when they can see a competitive advantage, so there has to be great care here. Ultimately, consumers won’t be open to purchasing from a company if they do not feel they can trust it, so companies must handle consumer privacy with great care.

What are positive repercussions of technology in travel?

We have all the information in the world available on-demand in our pocket. That means we can, if we choose to, make better-informed decisions on everything travel related. We can get help instantly and we can communicate with others. These are all hugely positive things. We may have challenges in understanding the limits and regrettably, some of us become addicted to this ease of use, but we cannot deny the incredible advantages this gives us. The more travel companies can embrace this, the better they are positioned to succeed.

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