The Travel industry is living the end of the exclusively physical experience.
We have always understood Travel as something that is real. And as such, Reality as something related to the physical world: we flew, took a train, touched the millennial stones, dined in a specific restaurant, got lost or even met the love of our lives. At least some of you surely did…All those things were real. But these days, I find, that physical and virtual travel have become one. With more or less impact in the same step of the journey but indelibly united in the memories of the traveler.
To some extend the efforts of the industry are now focusing exclusively on creating digital experiences such as: social inspiration channels (primarily on Instagram), virtual assistants, multi-device in-flight entertainment systems, VR tours, augmented reality restaurant offers and the list could go on. The sense of the effort can easily be explained by the need to be present in the top of mind of the traveler in any moment of any possible interaction of the traveler with the brand.
On the other hand, we, as travelers, are living in the age of the “sharing anxiety”. We somehow feel obliged to tell the world we are doing things: boarding on a A380, spending a night in the fanciest hotel in town, meeting local people from a country we can’t even pronounce the name, having a great typical dish, swimming with whales-ok that was exaggerated. Somehow we are not travellers anymore, we’re just reporters for our private networks in the search of the perfect travel content that, if it’ll go viral, we’ll make us famous.
Plus, in a broader view, we seem to have lost all boundaries and rules of the travel game. Airlines are not just airlines anymore, the concept of hotel has been redefined, ground transportation is practically Uber and the limits of traveling are practically non existent as cheep fares are allowing you visit any place you want in the world.
With all this in mind one may think the scene is set for the reign of the chaos. But I’ll have to disagree on this one. Travel is more and more about choosing. You can choose which travel experience you’ll like to live next. Is it the physical or the virtual one, or both. Travel in it’s essence is about you, your habits, your concerns, your hangups, about the moments that take your breath away and stick in your memory box forever.
So whatever this years will bring us, given the quick adoption of the technology, remember that travel is the only industry were you, dear traveler, are empowered to tailor it to whatsoever suits your needs.