Monday 1st June 2020

How IoT is reshaping the family travel experience for the better

Published on December 11th, 2019

In the past two decades since we have seen the term IoT being launched, we have witnessed multiple impacts of its implementation, from its customisation of financial services to the reduction of retrofitting costs for factories and plants.

In fact, the global IoT industry is set to grow by US$38.1 billion (€34.3 billion) with the United States leading the growth momentum, according to projections by ResearchandMarkets.com. Now, the focus is being turned to the other industries that may benefit from the data connectivity and sharing that IoT offers and at the top of that list is the travel industry.

In the United Kingdom, the travel industry is set to grow 1.7% for the year 2019, increasing its value to over US$65.7 billion (€59.2 billion). A key metric of that total is family vacations. In the US, approximately 8-9% of a family’s income is spent on family vacations while UK families spend almost 25% of their income annually, according to Nationwide’s Spending Report. Along with the budgeting implications, many families cite the time, planning and travel constraint as their top complaints- something IoT can drastically improve.

The family vacation process is integrated-and easier

The planning portion of family vacations is a major stressor for travellers, according to multiple surveys. In the UK, 20% of them admitted that they felt overwhelmed by the amount of information to consider when planning their family breaks while 67% of U.S travellers also admitted to information overload. Approximately 37% of travellers end up cancelling/ delaying their vacations due to the stress of it.

However, that has not stopped families from travelling. Almost half of Americans will travel this holidays and 72% of them will be using their credit cards for their travel expenses while over in the UK, 22% will finance their holidays either using credit cards, personal loans or borrowing from their family and friends.

IoT reduces these stressors by making the process much more seamless and integrated, including budgetary information. By collecting past browsing data and patterns, consumers can now access pre-customised destinations, hotels, and activities based on their travel preference, budget and even age of their children.

Getting to and through the airport: Directed notifications and alerts

Another way IoT is improving the family travel experience is by removing the long processes faced by travellers in airports across the world. The long check-in and security lines and frequent flight delays are at the top of the list for the most hated things about travel for flyers.

Jocelyn Brown

Thanks to the technology, electronic boarding passes are now the norm which means families can check-in and secure their seating allocations hours before even travelling to the airport. It also means less time spent in long check-in queues with young kids and luggage in hand, along with a reduced need to be at the airport hours ahead of your departure- something parents of younger children will no doubt appreciate.

Highlighted gate information and airport maps can also be accessed from your mobile now which essentially acts as a personalised where to go map for every family kickstarting their family vacation. With 4.6 billion global passengers scheduled for 2019 and major airports like the UK’s Heathrow airport funneling around 219,458 travellers daily, having constant communication about check-in, gate locations, and flight statuses drastically minimises the confusion and hassle for those families travelling.

One example is the recent installation of facial recognition software at JFK to assist with the ticketless boarding of passengers at Lufthansa’s Terminal 1 gate. This means less time is spent going through queues, airport security and entertaining kids for hours before boarding, and family trips aboard are much less stressful

Customising the experience for travellers of different needs

Finally, IoT is making the vacation experience more tailored to the individual members of families travelling and not just as a single demographic. Recognising the varying needs of each travelling party is crucial to customer satisfaction. Hilton hotels recently introduced its ‘connected room’ concept which gives room users the ability to control elements of their room such as lighting, music taste and temperature with their smartphone as the remote. Even before checking in, customer preferences based can be detected using their data and their needs assumed beforehand.

For instance, a family travelling with a newborn may be offered a soundproof room that is fitted out with a roll-away cot and even a bottle warmer. Guests can even stream their favourite Netflix series or movies, thanks to a partnership between Hilton and Netflix in 2019. Even car rental companies are taking advantage of the benefits that IoT and big data can offer. Travellers can now access rental cars from locations across the country and still be charged as the use of one car instead of multiple rentals- thanks to connectivity allowing the company to confirm the return and exchange of vehicles across their business map.

Thanks to IoT, the travel experience for families across the globe is not just more streamlined but it is now much more personalised to their family dynamics. Small touches like the availability of real-time information now make the travel experience much more pleasant for travelling families and means there are fewer variables for them to consider when booking their vacation.

The author of this blog is Jocelyn Brown, a freelance technology writer

About the author

Jocelyn Brown is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelancing and the versatility it allows her in covering many different topics and themes. When not at work she enjoys running, hikes in the country and making the most of family time.

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