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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Social media tech sends travel industry into overdrive

The travel industry has proven itself to be the perfect playing field for new innovations and revolutions. As new and improved technologies have graced the travel industry that improve airline efficiency, booking experience, and travel insurance company communications, avid travellers the world over have been consistently introduced to exciting and new travel technologies that make their travels easier, more convenient, and more efficient. AI systems are in place that use data mining to suggest and procure relevant and convenient flight paths, accommodations, and even experiences to people. There is even a translation tool designed to translate conversations for travellers in real-time, allowing them to interact and experience the culture, people, and place that they find themselves in. This year, now more than ever, travel technology is turning the industry on its head, making various aspects and the industry in its entirety quicker, easier, and more efficient than ever before.

The intricacies of travelling used to be somewhat stressful and time consuming. Before the travel industry embraced travel technologies and platforms, everything was reliant on human communication. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is a fact that the processes and ins and outs of the general travel experience can cost more money and time than necessary. Introducing and implementing travel technologies allows businesses within the industry and travellers alike to have the most polished, clean cut experience every time. These days, the processes are thankfully a lot easier, in no small part due to the various technological evolutions that have transformed the travel industry in recent years. From efficient and trustworthy companies that offer an online visa service, to the apps that compare all the available and most cost-efficient accommodations, travel tech has changed the game. This year, more than ever before, travel technology has spurred on an entirely new (but not entirely unforeseen) revolution.

Travel technology can now play an active and engaging role in uniting tourists with locals. Whether it be through online platforms that create lists of hot spots for tourists to mingle with locals, or portals to share experiences with the world, one of the most prominent technological advancements to change the world in recent years is the implementation of social media platforms. It may come as a surprise to some, but the logic is sound. Before the dawn of travel technologies and platforms, the best way for individuals to discover new places without having gone to them themselves was simply by literally hearing about them. As family, friends, and acquaintances returned from trips overseas, they would gladly tell those back home all about their travels, sparing no detail. While word of mouth is no doubt effective (and is still a great way for people to discover more about their bucket list destinations), it is being able to see the destinations for oneself, being able to watch videos and see photographs of people they know or know of, in such destinations.

And this is where social media comes in at full force. Social media is not a new concept, but the traveller’s grasp on it as a platform to share the world with others aesthetically is. Social media “influencers” post a photo or a video or even a live story, and it inspires individuals all over the world to book a ticket and visit the destination in question. Travel has quickly become one of the hottest industries in the world, and 2018 has seen the peak of social media’s power in the industry. As digital nomads are in higher numbers than ever before, the branding behind them is at an all-time high, with their use of travel tech social media turning hidden gems into tourist hot spots in a matter of months (sometimes even mere weeks). People are drawn to genuine experience, and social media at the very least allows users a glimpse at a (sometime filtered) experience through the eyes of a fellow user. For the most part, users trust one another in that they expect their content to be a snapshot in someone’s highlight reel, but nonetheless a genuine human experience. The power of social media is that while a picture says a thousand words, a feed of continuous photographs and video footage speaks volumes more, creating an ever-present realisation that the world has more to offer than where we are from, and experiencing it and adding to the virtual feed is the only way to truly feel a part of it, rather than an onlooker from the sidelines. Travel tech has forged a great many wonders in the industry, but the use of social media is perhaps its best work.

The travel industry and all its spinning and whirring facets is becoming one of the most tech-forward industries in the world. As travel technology reaches and exceeds new heights this year, the sky is the limit for future evolutions and tech introductions to the industry. As travel transport, booking platforms, experience portals, and social media itself whir ever-higher in their efforts to take the travel industry completely digital in its core, avid travellers and seasoned globe trotters are finding it easier and more efficient than ever before to explore all the cracks and hidden gems of the world. Travel technology is well and truly here, and driving the revolution forward, sitting in the driver’s seat, is social media.

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