January 30 2014

The Modern Traveler’s Choice

In my experience, being forced to have dozens of interactions with people while I am traveling can be exhausting. Sometimes I’d prefer to just handle booking, buying, or confirming things online – most of the time on my phone.  I’ve grown used to mobile technology that is not only readily accessible, but gives me choices.  I am able to set my own pace, I am not being rushed or delayed.  Recently, it would seem as if I am not the only one that prefers to use different tech tools to streamline my traveling ventures.

With the meteoric rise of apps, online booking, smart phones, comparison sites, and social media, it has become easier to research and make calculated decisions about the best traveling options. The modern traveler can choose how much human interaction they want to have. Some guests enjoy the lively banter at a hotel front desk, others would prefer to head straight to their room. With the growing amount of mobile tools available, guests are finally on the cusp of being able to truly customize their experience.

Hotels and airports have started to adapt to this growing trend. Recently, Starwood hotels announced they would begin testing virtual keys for mobile check-in that would allow a guest to skip the front desk if they wanted to.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has installed 14 Automated Passport Control kiosks. Rather than filling out a declaration card, passengers are encouraged to answer the questions on a kiosk. The airport expects these kiosks to reduce the wait time by 50%.

The rise of “invisible” or “silent” travelers does not mean to say we are becoming less social, it means the definition of social is evolving.  Hotels are spending billions on renovating their existing hotel lobbies to make them more communal and less confined. The atmosphere is becoming more modern and social.

The new traveler wants to socialize, but on their own terms. It’s the phenomenon happening at every coffee shop in the country – young adults immersed behind their MacBooks, shyly peeking over the screen for the occasional interaction.

A recent report I read on the rise of the Millenial Traveller says:

“Millennials are not necessarily technologically savvy, but rather technologically dependent. That dependence is merely a conduit through which to dream, research, share and experience travel. It is not the travel experience itself.” I agree. But, by giving the modern traveler a choice, it can surely enhance the travel experience.

By Ronnie Coleman, Sales Executive at StayNTouch