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Technology is changing the travel industry. It’s making travel easier, but also putting more demands on hospitality professionals. To keep up with the expectations of modern travelers, hospitality professionals need to understand how tech is changing the travel industry.

Mobile Technology is keeping travelers informed

People are comfortable using their smartphone to get information and even book their trip according to Google Consumer Insights. In India, 87% of travelers said they would book a trip entirely online. found that 80% of customers prefer to self-serve in order to get the information that they need.

Brochures and other print-based sources of information are becoming less relevant because they can’t be updated as easily as websites or social media. Travelers use their smartphones to research activities, find stores and restaurants, and get directions to places they’d like to visit. They also check reviews to help them decide where to shop, stay, eat and visit.

Customer service matters more than ever

Ten years ago, if a traveler had a poor experience they might tell their friends and family about it when they got home. Today, they can take out their mobile device and instantly tell the whole world about their dissatisfaction on social media.

The service provided by hotel staff, restaurant servers, tour guides, airport staff and other travel and tourism service providers needs to be of the highest quality to avoid a PR crisis.

Technology is making last-minute bookings more likely

Increased access to technology also lets people be spontaneous or put off planning until the last minute. According to Trekksoft, only 19% of bookings are made weeks or months in advance of a trip. Instead, 38% of bookings are made on the same day or two-days before a trip, and 53% are made within a week of a trip.

As the use of mobile devices becomes more widespread, travelers are using these devices to make last-minute bookings. Among U.S. travelers 72% of all mobile bookings were made within 48-hours of the trip

Travelers take a vacation from technology

Even though many travelers use technology to book or manage their travel, many are excited to leave the technology behind once they get to their destination. Smartphones, tablets and other technology can be a distraction, and some travelers can more easily relax and enjoy the trip if they turn them off for awhile.

Some travelers are looking for hotels and travel companies that will help them avoid technology. Major hotel and resort chains have even granted discounts to guests who are willing to stay off technology during their stay. Off-the-grid or adventure travel may give travelers an opportunity to leave their cell phones and tablets behind.

What technology means for your career in travel and tourism

Even though travelers are embracing technology, they still need real people. Your communication skills and professionalism can make their travel or tourism experience one they’ll never forget.

Earn your post-graduate degree in hospitality and start building the skills you need to thrive in this fast-paced and evolving industry.