With the travel industry expanding and looking to the future, more and more companies are working towards innovations that will allow for overall efficiency, customizations and excellent experiences while being eco-conscious and sustainable for both the traveler and for the airlines and airports that make it all possible.

Euromonitor International, one of the main providers in the world “for global business intelligence and strategic market analysis”, released a report identifying the top five travel trends that are transforming the travel industry—from AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality) to big data, apps and IoT (Internet of Things). Let’s take a look at each one to understand how they are changing this sector.

AI

AI has become such an integral part of the travel industry, pushing it even further beyond our devices into airports and airplanes. It has allowed us to book tickets, check-in, and discover new places by simply pushing a button. AI has also made it much simpler and more efficient to communicate with customers and solve issues (think chatbots, airport robots, etc.). Moreover, as AI continues to improve and study our behaviors, it will be able to become more precise and effective in the near future.

VR

VR has gone beyond our homes and into the travel industry, with airlines offering VR experiences onboard for those flying in first class. Additionally, VR is allowing travelers to preview destinations, tourist sites, hotel rooms and even air cabin interiors of the exact plane they are flying in. AI will continue to grow and integrate into more parts of the travel journey, so much so that we may not be able to be without it.

Big Data

Big data, defined as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions” has become a large part of the travel industry. Big data is able to foresee trends and help companies adjust in order for them to curate and pinpoint how and where to better the overall customer experience. In today’s time, travelers want everything now, and with big data providing the information at the time the company needs it, it will allow these travel companies to be on top and ahead of their contenders.

Apps

Apps have become a part of our everyday lives, sometimes we use them subconsciously. And when it comes to travel, we rely on apps more now than ever before—whether it’s booking a ticket or hotel room, checking in, going through border control and so much more. Apps will continue to pave the way for businesses and their ability to cater to travelers who use them, improve customer service and provide the right tools to make the process (whatever the app is designed to do) as efficiently as possible.

IoT

IoT, in simple terms, is all the little moving parts that work together in order to make a device work by “talking” to it. These devices can be anything from Amazon Alexa and Apple Watch to iPhone and Android phones. We use these devices so much in our everyday lives that we don’t even pay attention to how much IoT impacts them, the way we interact with them and the apps installed. IoT allows for better experiences and customization for the customer, whether it’s checking in via Alexa, keeping an eye on where their luggage is or controlling entertainment screens with a smartphone. For travel businesses, IoT enables them to keep track of check-ins (hotel, car, etc.) or gather data in airplane seats via sensors to customize the flight experience for each passenger. Without IoT, travel experiences as we know it today, wouldn’t exist in the same way.