Travel technologies for 2020

There are always new technologies for travel emerging. Those technologies help travel industry to increase its efficiency in operation and effectiveness on marketing and promotion. Let us have a look.

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

This technology connects everyday devices through internet, and it enable inflow and outflow of data to and from devices. It helps hotel guests to control lighting, air conditioning, curtain and heater outside hotel and thus hotel guests can feel comfortable once he is back to hotel room. Another example of application of IoT is that sensor can be installed in suitcase and traveller can trace and find his luggage in the airport. This is pretty much like the function “Find my iPhone “.

Smart technology smarter airports

Further reading : “How the Internet of Things can benefit the travel industry”

2. Computed tomography (CT)

The new computed tomography system developed by Smiths Detection, Inc will be introduced by The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at US airports. It allows the security officers to digitally rotate images to check what is inside traveller’s carry on suitcase or bags without open them. Therefore, passengers are able to keep their laptops in carry-on luggage and in future, the same will apply to liquids, gels and aerosols. It largely improves overall effectiveness at airport security checkpoints across the US due to the new technology.

Airport check point with new CT detection system
New CT detector

3. Recognition Technology

It is an advance technology to help hotels, airport immigrations and airlines to recognize hotel guests and aircraft passengers. It includes fingerprint and facial recognition, retina scanning and other several biometric identifiers. In the hotel, guests can carry out check in and check out through facial recognition and access to room by fingerprints. In the future, it may be enhanced the technology so that customers can pay for meals on account in the hotel restaurant by just leaving and passing through the restaurants. For example, Marriott China has started facial recognition check-in at some hotels.

On the other, many countries start to implement facial and fingerprint recognition at immigration so that reduce number of officers and processing time of passports examination and boarding.

Facial recognition check-in in Marriott China

Further reading : 4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry

4. Virtual Reality (VR)

It allows hotels, tourist centre and travel agency digitally transport customers to a specific place virtually. Hotels can showcase lobby, rooms, swimming pool, fitness and recreation area and restaurants to potential customers to make them book the hotel. On the other, tourist centre and travel agency are able to take customers to tourist attractions and scenic points virtually in order to attract them to join tours.

According to Lonely Planet, Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center in USA uses Virtual Reality devices to introduce the hiking routes, facilities and scene of the National Parks to tourist. The 360 virtual tour gives tourists deepen knowledge of the Park and arise their interest. 

Interactive virtual maps have become popular due VR technology. Popular travel books and guides publisher such as Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller and Luxe City Guides have introduced digital maps that are more interactive and visually rich than printed guides. Moreover, they can also collect data from travellers through digital guides and maps.

The World’s first VR travel search

Further reading : “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is the blending of interactive digital elements into our real-world environments and one of the famous examples is Pokemon Go game. The major advantage of Augmented Reality is that it is cheaper than VR since users can use only smartphone or tablet device to access to the internet for virtual tour.

By using AR, tourism industry is able to enhance the customer experience by providing customers valuable information and interactive entertainment.  After installing the AR apps, details of local attractions can be displayed once a customer points them on their mobiles, which enable a real time information given to customers.

Personalized travel by AR technology

Further reading : “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry

6. Robotics

Putting artificially intelligent robots at hotels and airports are becoming popular. Robots are able to replace part of the manpower for enquires, check-in and check. Hilton hotel chain already put robots at information point for hotel guests to acquire information. Other example is The Intercontinental Wonderland Shanghai that the hotel put robot at hotel lobby to greet hotel guests, as reported by China Daily.

In some airports in USA, they use robots to detect concealed weapons. Some suitcase manufacturers use robotics to create luggage cases that intelligently follow you. On the other, some travel agents do pre-screen by robot so that waiting times of customers can be dramatically reduced.

Autonomous Security Robots

Further reading : “Robots in the Travel Industry: 8 Real-World Examples

All the new technology enables hospitality and travel industry enhance efficient and service standard. However, in the end, hospitality and travel industry are to create memorable experience and thus technology should never replace face to face service. Industry professionals need to find the balance and it is quite a challenge to them. As the famous life-style and travel magazine Monocle put it “In these digital times, loneliness – where it comes from and how to solve it – is a key issue for countries” and so as the professionals in tourism industry, I think.



  1. Great article Lawrence,

    Thank you for bring all this information about how technology evolves in tourism industry and how they can bring comfortably into hotel and during the travel through this robots’.

    They will make everything much more easy for the tourists during their journey.

    I believe in the near future technology will be present in all fields not just in hospitality industry.


  2. Thank you lawrence for the nice article. To me, I’m deeply looking forward to see how the newest technology transforms the airport check -in process, since now that process is still quite time-consuming and ineffective.


  3. Thanks Lawrence for this great article. It is really interesting how technology is developing so fast in the traveling industry, making processes much more convenient both for companies and customers. The only concern that i have is about the recognition, i’m not sure if this will expand out of China soon since it’s pretty controversial technology.


  4. Thank you Lawrence for the great article on the evolution of the technology in the hospitality industry. I believe this will improve the quality and efficiency of an organization, especially the recognition technology. In my opinion, more organization should adapt to this evolvement to improve their operation quality/service as it will quicken the process, for example check-in and check-out.


  5. Thank you Lawrence for your article. I am really much looking forward to see more about the evolution of the AR and VR technology. All of this is very impressive to me. To know that we can now dive into a whole new reality… who knows what will happen next?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Lawrence for the amazing article!

    I am surprised that the technologies changed the way we travel or visit a place.
    and these technologies provide us safer travel and secured.

    I am looking forward to seeing that we do not need to be at the airport at least before 2 hours of the departing ti,e. If the technologies would come true, I believe that people can be at the airport 30 minutes before.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s