Ambient travel in the palm of your hand!
THE FACT : Are we going to share a trip with Google?
Google has just officially launched Trips, an application designed to accompany you throughout your holidays that has been undergoing tests for several months.
Firstly, you can easily plan your holidays as in Google flight (from estimating the price of the trip to booking it and the accommodation). Just like Google Now you’ll get all the relevant information (both in advance of and during your trip) about your place of destination (200 towns and cities have been listed to date), such as opening hours of shops or even points of cultural interest not to be missed, all based on accounts of visits provided by other travellers (Google Maps database).
The application does more than centralizing your bookings or guiding you (travel-related services), it can also analyse your e-mails and their content to deduce whether you have already planned to depart soon and suggests the ideal trip matching your requirements, tastes and past trips.
Last but not least, during your stay you can pay using Google wallet in partner stores and even pay for your (‘Park and Pay’, the latest feature). Google Flight + Google Now + Google Pay = Google Trips! With their ‘Deepmind’ AI, we can now imagine an even broader range of possibilities.
Google want to pre-empt the travel sector by accompanying you throughout your holiday and above all seamlessly thanks to a single app!
INTERPRETATION : Answer from tourism stakeholders?
The obvious risk lies in the total disintermediation of the current travel industry. Faced with this threat, various travel operators have decided to launch into this form of care-taking in varying degrees.
Trip Advisor has bought out the Citymap app, which claims 1 million users, thereby completing its contextualized service offer by suggesting to users the best deals and places to visit based on their movements throughout their stay. This enables Trip Advisor to track customers throughout their holiday.
The former CEO of Kayak (search engine specialized in travel) has launched Lola, an instant messaging app based both on human adviser and on an AI-based chatbot agent called ‘Harrison’. Lola’s ambition is to construct your holiday on the fly and accompany you personally throughout your stay.
To a lesser degree, Booking.com offers listed hotel-keepers the possibility of chatting with their customers at any time via the Pulse App application.
But the most disruptive advances in terms of ’concierge services’ have been made by the Internet giants !
Chinese social network Wechat’s messaging service offers air tickets, overnight stays in a hotel or even (currently with the Caesars Entertainment chain in Las Vegas) control over the opening and automation of your hotel room!
Google through its Nest subsidiary has signed a partnership with Airbnb allowing owners to remotely open their flats for new arrivals (using the August lock featured in the Nest ecosystem)! This functionality will no doubt be integrated into the Trips app over time.
Clearly the expansion of the IoT and AI is reinventing travel, which is becoming ‘ambient’ and seamless, but as a result is leaving less and less room for the unexpected. This trend will have to be closely monitored by the long-standing players of the tourism industry.