Following is a paper I produced in Fall 2011 about how technology is shaping the travel industry. It was published in 10 parts in Travel Daily Asia. I’ll add a new part or two each week. Enjoy!:
Welcome to The Digitization of Travel, a special report on the future of the industry. Over the coming pages we’ll explore what’s possibly in story in the coming decade in travel, specifically focusing on the role technology has and will continue to have on our business.
I’m Scott Coates, co-founder of Smiling Albino, an innovative travel company based in Bangkok, providing highly-customized travel experiences in Southeast Asia and Nepal. While on sabbatical, studying at the East West Center in Honolulu, HI, taking part in their Asia Pacific Leadership Program, I had the opportunity to reflect on my industry and began marveling at how technology has radically changed our business over the last decade. Then I began to ponder where the coming decade may take us?
I emailed a contact that’s in the map business about how traditional paper maps are losing their place when traveling and gleaned his expert thoughts on how people would use maps while traveling in the future. This led me to get in touch with a guidebook writer who is working on a new digital/mobile guide for Cambodia, and glean his thoughts about the roll electronic guides will play in the coming years. You get the picture, I fired-off emails to industry leaders and experts in various areas of the travel business, asked their thoughts on where the industry is heading and the pages ahead are the result of interviews with 15 highly unique and talented individuals. From world-class travel planners to guidebook writers, bloggers, hotel owners, explorers and guides, the gambit’s been covered.
While no one can predict the future, I hope you’ll enjoy the pages ahead, learn a bit, perhaps confirm some suspicions you’ve had, disagree with some points and share this others. This report would not be possible without the generous time that so many gave, sharing their opinions, expertise and insight. Thank you very much!
Here’s toasting to a fun, lucrative, always exciting and ever-changing future for all of us that work in one of the world’s most exciting and satisfying businesses.