Tech in travel: A revolution is coming

The tech revolution many have sensed coming in the industry is about to land, says Richard Addey, country director, Sabre Travel Network,

Speaking during a session on finding the balance between technology and the human touch in travel, during the ABTA Conference, Addey said, “In 2019, the level of content we have access to will multiply exponentially. It is our duty as an industry to be able to digest that content, and use it to provide better services to our customers.”

Addey challenged the use of the terms high touch (having a high level of human interaction), or medium and low touch (the use of more technology to assist travel), when it comes to finding a balance for technology in the industry. He said that there will always be a need for high touch approaches, it is just that this will be directed towards different items, topics, and situations that the travellers face. “Travel consultants are really busy today, and the tech is there to take over those touch points so they can become travel advisors,” he said. “It’s our duty to make that tech available.”

He said that there have been a lot of requests recently from buyers and TMCs for a knowledge upgrade. “There will be a lot more content out there. And there will soon be a need for them to know what it is,” he said. “The perfect scenario is embracing technology as much as possible. Not to replace services, but to add services.”

Technology should be used to support people, and to make them more efficient, he said. “There have been a lot of requests recently from TMCs and buyers for an upgrade in their knowledge.”

Being able to upgrade one’s knowledge about technology will be essential for industry members going forward, but Addey warned that the future is not as far as some people may think it is. “We’re not talking 10-15 years anymore, we’re talking 10-15 months. It’s coming next year. There is a true revolution coming,” he said. He also advised industry members to make sure they are curious, and get the knowledge needed to understand how to provide better services in this new environment. “Because it is there, and it is possible. We can offer much more than booking, and reconciliation to our travellers. This is what our DNA should be going forward.”

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