If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that travel is a force for good and an intrinsic part of our lives. Alongside the many health benefits, it enriches our lives and widens our horizons making us more open to difference and adaptable to change.
As the industry emerges from the pandemic, a new travel age is also emerging. It’s clear that many of the trends that came to light in the past two years - nomadic working, a greater blurring of the lines between business and leisure travel and the drive for greater flexibility, are here to stay. This means that we need to bear the needs and wants of these newer and growing, categories of travellers in mind, as we think about and develop new products and services.
My background in the energy, technology and communications sectors allows me to look at the industry with fresh eyes and I see opportunity to further develop the travel ecosystem with the goal of creating a more seamless traveller experience.
While the industry faces a number of challenges, from travel disruption and capacity issues to staff shortages, which all impact travellers, many can be overcome, or at least alleviated if we implement technology to drive the traveller experience and improve efficiency.
At Collinson we are challenging our data scientists to find ways of improving the travel experience. Technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play an increasing role in making travel more seamless. And, that’s just the start, automation and robotics also have huge potential to augment what people do, thereby helping improve staffing shortages for the longer-term. That said, our people and a human touch will always be front and centre of our customer operations.
Increasingly we are working with start-ups to build disruptive technology and new experiences for the priority traveller. Alongside AI, and automation more widely, newer technologies around Web 3.0, including blockchain and the metaverse, are emerging. The drive is for a decentralised internet, and more virtual services, which could have a huge impact on travellers and how they shop, book and experience travel.
In other industries, companies have already come up with innovative products and services combining the physical and digital worlds. Nike is a great example with its plan to let consumers design and sell virtual trainers in the metaverse.
In travel, there are also already a number of strong use cases for Web 3.0 technologies such as the metaverse. Digital twins for training and operational purposes at airports is a good example, as is using virtual platforms to give travellers a taste of a trip before they depart.
Wayfinding is another use case for locations such as resorts, airports and train stations and an area that Collinson already has experience in through its partnership with Atrius, previously known as LocusLabs. These sorts of services will only become more sophisticated.
All of this represents a huge opportunity to create a better experience for our customers. That’s what I’m obsessed with; the customer experience, and making sure it continues to be central to everything we do as a company, and that it’s a core focus for the industry as a whole too.
Since joining Collinson a few months ago, we’ve supercharged that mindset. We’re dedicated to the power of technology and innovation and deploying it to truly help the world travel with ease and confidence. We have identified four core areas to innovate around and apply disruptive Web 3.0 technologies - personalisation, the connected experience, expanded experiences and, helping business grow and giving back.
I’m excited over the coming months to demonstrate just how seriously we continue to take our long-established place at the heart of the travel and airport industry, whilst shining a light on all the things that excite me in the fascinating world of travel technology and innovation.