World Wise

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

The Fu­ture of Travel, Ac­cord­ing to Google

What will the world look like for the trav­eler in ten years? It could be sooner but if Google’s head of travel David Pavelko has any­thing to do with it, it will look like this:

Who’s Your IPITA?

Your IPITA (that’s In­te­grated Proac­tive In­ter­modal Travel As­sis­tant) wakes you from your Paris ho­tel room slum­ber in a sexy, non-Siri voice and tells you your flight to your meet­ing in, say, Brussels, has been de­layed and in or­der to get to said meet­ing on time here are your choices: other flights, sched­uled high-speed train de­par­tures, drive time with traf­fic.You make your choice; reser­va­tions are ap­proved and booked be­fore the first drop of cof­fee from the mini­bar Keurig hits the cup.Your ticket is in your smart­phone.Your taxi is wait­ing.

While this sce­nario might ex­ist in Hol­ly­wood screen­writer heads right now, it is, in­deed, on its way, says Pavelko and in Google style, us­ing real-time maps and geo-spe­cific in­for­ma­tion to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the way we con­sume travel.

By 2017, say the pun­dits, fully a third of travel sold will be dig­i­tal and take place on mo­bile de­vices. Cur­rently, 82 per­cent of re­search takes place on­line.

“Mo­bile changed ev­ery­thing,”said Pavelko, speak­ing at a ma­jor travel trade show in July.

“It goes with us where we go – it’s where we want it. How many of us would have ever con­sid­ered not hav­ing ho­tel reser­va­tions booked on ar­rival? But this is common now as new tech­nolo­gies are driv­ing last minute book­ings for best val­ues and dis­counts. More and more com­pa­nies are build­ing for a mo­bile only strat­egy. Look at Uber – and th­ese things scale in a very short time.”

Work, In­ter­rupted

Travel re­search is ham­pered by a cur­rent cli­mate in which ac­tions on one de­vice are not then car­ried over to other de­vices, Pavelko notes, mean­ing work in­ter­rupted is of­ten work lost. As the av­er­age Amer­i­can house­hold has 10 dig­i­tal de­vices now – a num­ber ex­pected to grow to 50 over the next decade – a seam­less ex­pres­sion across all plat­forms and de­vices is nec­es­sary and evolv­ing.

“Shared in­for­ma­tion is the trend and as the user signs in, a per­son­al­ized record of that user and that user’s in­ter­ests and pref­er­ences will be re­tained and pre­sented.”(No word, of course, as to other par­ties with which that in­for­ma­tion might be shared.)

May the Con­tent Be With You

Other trends in travel ac­cord­ing to Google in­clude con­tent, which greatly in­flu­ences what we see and how we see it. “On av­er­age, a con­sumer goes to 20 sites and reads 12 reviews be­fore mak­ing a travel book­ing decision and the trav­eler of to­mor­row is go­ing to be even more de­mand­ing,”Pavelko pre­dicts.

Google’s Street View ca­pa­bil­i­ties will be in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as will video con­tent, which seems to work best when it comes to telling a story and in­spir­ing. But more im­por­tant, smart­phones are here to stay. (Stats bandied about in­clude such num­bers as 95 per­cent of business trav­el­ers have smart­phones and 75 per­cent of smart­phone users do not seem to have con­cerns about shar­ing their per­sonal pref­er­ences.)

That means as trav­el­ers ar­rive in a new des­ti­na­tion their phones will know it. “My phone will know that I have ar­rived in Los An­ge­les and if I typ­i­cally book three-star ho­tels, will of­fer up a list of those ho­tels nearby. It will of­fer lists of restau­rants nearby. It will use my in­for­ma­tion to seek out what it seems I like. And it will all be pro­vided in one place.”

He spoke about Google An­swers, which, like Siri, will an­swer ques­tions put to it. But those ques­tions will be less about the world than about the owner of that phone. Ques­tions like,“tell me about Flight 62 to Chicago”will get im­me­di­ate smart an­swers that say whether it is on time, what the de­lay is or that it is can­celled within a few short seconds.

Smooth as Google Glass

Fi­nally, with the ad­vent of Google Glass and its ris­ing main­stream ubiq­uity, all an­swers are in view all the time.

“You can stay con­nected with­out the big fum­ble for de­vices, which of­ten gets in the way. There’s no phone, no tablet, no com­puter in front of your face. How many shots have you missed as you dig for your phone? Google Glass an­swers that.You see ev­ery­thing around you and noth­ing is missed.

“Travel is a core hu­man be­hav­ior,”Pavelko says. That will not change. But how we travel and how we man­age travel – that is chang­ing as we speak. BT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.