When Tech Meets Travel

Ms. Vir­ginia Ngai of CatchOn talks about the way tech is chang­ing the travel ex­pe­ri­ence

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What the Tech?, a trend re­port by strate­gic brand­ing and mar­ket­ing agency CatchOn & Com­pany Ltd, talks about the way tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing travel ex­pe­ri­ence. Port­fo­lio spoke to Ms. Vir­ginia Ngai, Di­rec­tor, Strat­egy at CatchOn about some of the high­lights and im­pli­ca­tions of the re­port.

PORT­FO­LIO: How was the trends re­port put to­gether and what were its ob­jec­tives?

MS.NGAI: CatchOn has been creat­ing trend re­ports for over a decade. The ob­jec­tive of our trend re­ports is to pro­vide our clients and net­work with the lat­est re­search to gen­er­ate growth and cre­ate unique cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences. For What the Tech, we part­nered with Ying Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a Finn Part­ners com­pany, that pro­vides in­te­grated B2B com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices. We in­ter­viewed in­dus­try in­sid­ers and con­ducted se­condary re­search to com­bine our hos­pi­tal­ity and travel in­sights to­gether with Ying Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ tech­nol­ogy ex­per­tise.

Is tech­nol­ogy driv­ing a wedge be­tween the tech haves and have-nots?

On the con­trary. As our re­search in­di­cates, tech­nol­ogy is en­hanc­ing the travel ex­pe­ri­ence for all so­cio-eco­nomic groups. In the early 2000s, cell phones were seen as lux­ury items. To­day, they’re ubiq­ui­tous. In fact, in our mo­bil­ity chap­ter, we ad­dress China with its mo­bile-first mind­set. As tech­nol­ogy be­comes more ad­vanced and wide­spread, costs de­crease. This is what hap­pened in China. A whole gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple have skipped the desk­top era and their com­put­ing ex­pe­ri­ences are solely on their mo­bile de­vices.

Will pow­er­ful al­go­rithms take away the el­e­ment of sur­prise and de­light in travel?

I don’t be­lieve hu­mans can be re­placed by al­go­rithms. As amaz­ing as tech­nol­ogy is, the hu­man fac­tor is what cre­ates the el­e­ment of sur­prise and de­light. This is why ser­vice stan­dards can re­ally make or break a ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence. Think back to your last ex­pe­ri­ence that re­ally wowed you. Chances are, there was a hu­man el­e­ment in­volved. We are crea­tures of emo­tions and while tech­nol­ogy can sim­u­late emo­tions, there is no re­place­ment for the real thing. Down­load the full What the Tech? travel trend re­port from www.catchonco.com/whatthetech. The full Port­fo­lio Spe­cial Re­port: Travel is avail­able on www.port­fo­liomagsg.com.

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