How we’ll travel in 2024: Skyscanner sees semantic search, Google Glass, and more

Skyscanner, the UK-based metasearch site, unveiled today a report forecasting what travel will be like in 2024.

A decade from now, the report says, next-generation digital technologies will have transformed how travel is planned, booked, and enjoyed.

The technologies include semantic search, artificial intelligence (AI), and wearable technology — such as eyewear like Google Glass and wristwatches with smartphone functions, like the Sony SmartWatch and the Samsung Galaxy Gear.


Semantic search
In 2024, travel companies may be taking advantage of voice and gesture controlled tools which can provide relevant results to travelers based on their actions.

Facial coding algorithms, for instance, may enable travel search engines to read and react to human expressions and adjust results based on the user’s response.

Already tech firm Affectiva is creating a facial coding algorithm that will enable search engine software to read human expressions and thereby judge whether the results it is providing are pleasing or frustrating the user.

Travel companies will also build profiles of travel’s past preferences and apparent intent to provide relevant search results. If your past actions suggest you prefer a hotel with a gym close to a beach, that’s what will appear automatically at the top of results.

Filip Filipov, head of B2B, says:

“Travel services such as Skyscanner will be able to deploy online semantic and intuitive tools that will know your preferences: that you are a regular business traveller, that you only ever take hand luggage, that you always fly premium and like to stay in a four-star hotel no more than a mile from your meeting.”

A key factor driving this trend: Speech recognition technology that can use natural language and learn from experience. Nuance’s Nina Virtual Assistant already anticipates that trend, as does Apple’s Siri.


Skyscanner’s report predicts that:

…”wearable technology will evolve from the recently launched Google Glass to a mobile device so small that it will fit onto a contact lens and can provide immediate translations, breaking down language barriers and the need to learn the holiday lingo.

Dr Ian Yeoman, travel futurologist and associate professor of Tourism Futures at Victoria University of Wellington, says advanced wearable devices will become part of the mainstream by the end of the decade:

“Within five years, everything that Google Glass can do now will be available on a contact lens.”

The report notes that Google is forecast to be shipping 6 million units a year of Glass by the end of 2017. Miniaturization will spread to other wearable concepts:

“Everyone will have a “digital buddy”, which will essentially be an artificial intelligence device, constantly connected to the web, which has learned to intimately understand our individual preferences.

It could have the face, voice and personality of our favourite actor or comedian and appear to us as a 3D hologram image, or inside a virtual environment, at our verbal command.

It will personalise all of our travel experiences, planning itineraries based on our particular likes and dislikes, and act as a tour guide, telling us only about the elements of the destination that it knows we will be interested in.

Travel brands will even be able to rent out a personalised e-agent to their consumers as part of the holiday package. Customers will be able to continually engage and interact with their travel company to fine-tune their trips in real time and troubleshoot any problems that arise.

Russian innovation brand i-Free has designed an Artificial Intelligence system that processes a listener’s question and supplies an appropriate verbal answer in a split second to enable its bio-robot Frank to hold meaningful, sequential conversations.

Intel’s RealSense 3D camera is an example of the type of technology that travel devices in the 2020s will use to recognise and react to human emotions.

The camera is being designed to gauge the mood of its users by their facial expression and body posture, and to understand and respond to colloquial verbal commands.”


“Virtual becomes a reality”

At a press event for the report, Filipov donned the new Oculus Rift VR headset from US start-up Oculus VR, which anticipates “virtual reality” devices that will let a user test out vacation scenarios in 3D, before departure.

Says the report:

Rather than replacing holidays, virtual reality will offer holidaymakers the opportunity to ‘try-before-they-buy’ by test-driving trips such as a dive on the Great Barrier Reef through technologies such as the Oculus Rift.

Haptic technology, which takes advantage of a user’s touch to provide tactile feedback, will enable consumers to actually feel what they could experience during their holiday, such as the texture of the bed at a hotel or the plushness of an airplane seat.


Skyscanner tapped UK consultancy The Future Laboratory to help with its research. Today’s report is available in about a dozen languages at Two other reports are due later this year.


2025 and beyond: Visioning the future of the airport experience – FTE

Expedia peers into the future of travel, focusing on Millennials

Technology and tools that will shape the future of how we travel — Amadeus

Five macro trends shaping the future of travel — Tnooz

The future of in-flight entertainment – MondoWindow

Tomorrow Tourist — predictions by Dr Ian Yeoman, travel futurologist

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone
Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.





Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. CC

    Really? All of this is available now or very soon. These iterative technologies will only be part of the story. 10 years ago we didn´t have the iPhone and look at the changes that smartphones have driven in travel. What will be the game changer that really impacts how we interact 10 years from now?

  2. Dan

    Wearable tech is no doubt about to revolutionize the experience of travel. Imagine, for example, what it would be like to travel with a pair of Google Glasses that automatically translates any foreign language, identifies places it thinks you might enjoy.


Newsletter Subscription

Please subscribe now to Tnooz’s FREE daily newsletter.

This lively package of news and information from Tnooz’s web site provides a convenient digest of what’s happening in technology that drives the global travel, tourism and hospitality market.

  • Cancel