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Travel agents out of picture in future unveiled by gurus

April 24, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59It’s Spring, 2024, and it’s all bad news this morning on the 3D Apple TV. The  working day ahead threatens to be long and taxing. With a wave of his hand, TOM (Traveller of the Millennium) switches off the gesture-controlled unit with a sigh. It’s clearly time for a break.

After a run of 60-hour weeks, even his MeTube alerts are telling him he needs to get away from it all. Siri, his virtual housemate, has spotted the signs of burnout too.

Without any instructions from him, she begins to compile journey possibilities that she knows he’ll love. Perhaps a trip to see Africa’s disappearing elephant herds? “Only 20 years before they’re gone for good,” she adds.

“Maybe something a bit more relaxing,” he replies.

“One of the new underwater hotels,” she suggests, lowering the lights, filling the room with the sound of lapping waves on coral and projecting a hologram of a gorgeous seascape viewed through the panoramic windows of a room beneath the crystal-clear waters of Fiji.

The extract above is from an astonishing picture painted by The Future of Travel, a report compiled by travel-booking site Skyscanner using a team of 56 editors, researchers and futurists. unnamed

It’s worth a read and is easily accessible on:

It is being published serially and only about half of it has been released so far. The conclusion has yet to come. So far, however, there has been no mention of travel agents in The Future of Travel.

The report’s forecasts are based on technologies that either already exist, or are in development.

The section on booking travel in the future will be of particular interest to agents. As Skyscanner’s chief executive and co-founder Gareth Williams puts it, “travel search and booking will be as easy as buying a book on Amazon”.

The report looks at advances in wearable, intelligent technology, virtual reality and haptic websites – which take advantage of a user’s touch to provide tactile feedback – and semantic search engines that experts and researchers predict will revolutionise the travel landscape of 2024.

Long gone are the days when TOM (Traveller of the Millennium, the report’s central character) would have had to spend hours online, tapping away on a computer keyboard to compare flight, hotel and rental car prices and various permutations on dozens of different websites, the report states.

In the 2000s, the report notes, a range of comparison sites emerged to ease the stress of travel planning and booking, but by 2024, TOM will have a new friend to take the strain out of travel discovery, search and booking: his Digital Travel Buddy.

The Digital Travel Buddy is a sort of robot travel agent entity.

Global Futurist Daniel Burrus, author of ‘Technotrends: How to Use Technology to Go Beyond Your Competition’, best explains the nature of the high-tech Digital Travel Buddy companion.

“In the 2020s, each of us will have an individual ‘e-agent’ that goes everywhere with us, inside a watch or a small piece of jewellery,” Burrus says.

The ‘e-agent’ is a sort of travel agent, tour guide and concierge combo, a virtual companion finely-tuned to sense a traveller’s likes. It will glean preferences from a traveller’s social media presence, search history, online reviews and other digital interactions.

Although The Future of Travel report makes entertaining and worthwhile reading, it’s also worth noting that history is littered with predictions of the future that have turned out to be glaringly wrong.

Written by : Peter Needham

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