Travel technology (also called tourism technology, and hospitality automation) is the application of Information Technology (IT) or Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. One form of travel technology is flight tracking.
Since travel implies locomotion, travel technology was originally associated with the computer reservations system (CRS) of the airlines industry, but now is used more inclusively, incorporating the broader tourism sector as well as its subset the hospitality industry. While travel technology includes the computer reservations system, it also represents a much broader range of applications, in fact increasingly so. Travel technology includes virtual tourism in the form of virtual tour technologies. Travel technology may also be referred to as e-travel / etravel or e-tourism / etourism (eTourism), in reference to "electronic travel" or "electronic tourism".
eTourism can be defined as the analysis, design, implementation and application of IT and e-commerce solutions in the travel&tourism industry; as well as the analysis of the respective economic processes and market structures and customer relationship management.
From a communication science perspective, eTourism can be also defined as every application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within both the hospitality and tourism industry, as well as within the tourism experience.
Travel technology is increasingly being used to describe systems for managing and monitoring travel, including travel tracking and flight tracking systems.
In other contexts, the term "travel technology" can refer to technology intended for use by travelers, such as light-weight laptop computers with universal power supplies or satellite Internet connections. That is not the sense in which it is used here.
Travel technology includes many processes such as dynamic packaging which provide useful new options for consumers. Today the tour guide can be a GPS tour guide, and the guidebook could be an audioguide, podguide or I-Tours, such as City audio guides. The biometric passport may also be included as travel technology in the broad sense.
XML-based technologies have become increasingly important for the travel industry. XML can be used to support air reservation booking or to implement optional services and merchandising functions in the booking process. Another important application of XML is the establishing of direct connections between Airlines and Travel Agencies. In order to create a generally accepted XML-standard, the Open Axis Group was founded.
The Internet has a powerful impact on hospitality and tourism. For many businesses and locations, the experience starts long before a traveler arrives--it begins with the first visit to the website, when a person sees photos of the location and gets a sense of what to expect. In the hospitality and tourism business, effective use of Internet technologies can improve revenue. Websites, blogs, online advertising, social media, online ordering and information repositories all help convince customers to choose a location or business. Reservations Systems
Booking engines to allow easy access by consumers and travel professionals; the systems enable individuals to make reservations and compare prices. Many, like Expedia and Orbitz, are available through online interfaces. Booking engines cut costs for travel businesses by reducing call volume and give the traveler more control over their purchasing process.
Because many tourism businesses are large and dispersed, they use computer systems to stay connected. Computer systems allow communication between branches and locations which makes it easier to streamline reservations and cross-company policies. They are also used internally to keep all of the staff on the same page and make it easier to access information that can improve the guest experience: guest preferences, housekeeping information and reservation details can all be kept on a single system.
Many travelers take some form of mobile communication device with them on the road, whether it is a tablet computer or a mobile phone. To keep customers advised of changes many tourism and hospitality businesses use mobile communication; they send delay notices, offer deals and sponsor location-based advertising. Depending on the type of business the communication might happen through emails, text messaging or GPS tagging, for example.
The continuing evolution of information technology has had a considerable impact on the travel agency service industry. The widespread public use of the Internet has created a number of conditions that have been game-changers -- in both beneficial and detrimental ways -- to the modern travel agency. As a result, many travel agencies in the 21st century have had to make considerable adaptations to remain solvent and relevant.