Aurvind Lama, Co-Founder & Director, Travelyaari.com
Having completed his B.Tech Information Technology from Indian Institute of Information Technology, and MBA from the IIM Ahmadabad, Aurvind, in his career spanning over a decade, has worked with multinational coprorates such as Infosys Technologies and Honeywell, prior to founding Travelyaari.
Back in the 90s, a vacation to even the closest holiday spot required an excessive amount of planning. From deciding on the place to stay to booking tickets, every aspect of the holiday required one to physically visit one’s travel agent and spend long hours consulting with them on the same.
Cut to 2018, when everyone, from college students to a bunch of sprightly moms, are making travel plans on the fly! In fact, a report by the World Tourism Organization estimates that by 2030, 8.5 billion people across the globe will take approximately ten billion international trips. Thanks to the advances in technology, the travel industry has gone through a dramatic transformation over the last few years. With easy access to smartphones and high-speed internet, travelling has become a piece of cake for almost everyone and has also paved the way for evolved travel experiences.
"Language translation apps have helped travelers communicate more effectively, consequently enriching their travelling experience"
In the digital age, compact technology has enabled travellers to book their own flights & hotels online, search reviews of a place, and plan their customized itinerary. With the emergence of low-cost carriers and online travel agencies, the number of independent travellers has naturally gone-up in recent times. Whether it’s adventure or solo travelling, let’s take a look at how compact technology equips travellers to enjoy some of the best experiences that the world has to offer.
Choosing the Destination
Before the internet became a part & parcel of our lives, people turned to holiday brochures, guidebooks and peer recommendations when it came to choosing the destination for their upcoming trip. Today, people are hooked to their smartphones 24x7, checking-out popular travel blogs, surfing through Instagram, and reading reviews on online platforms. Instead of relying on word-of-mouth publicity, the new-age travellers spend a lot of time researching about a place before deciding to go there. From tourist attractions to local culture, they can find all the relevant information on online travel portals to make the best possible choices and get the maximum bang out of their buck.
Booking the Transport
Online travel agencies have eliminated the need for standing in long queues or visiting travel agents to book train/flight/bus tickets. Now, all that is required is a smartphone with a decent internet connection to find and book the best deals on train/flight/bus tickets in under just a few minutes. Apart from online-only companies, many travel agencies have embraced the internet by introducing online bookings to cater to the needs of their tech-savvy customers. Take IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) for example, which launched the IRCTC app (now replaced by the IRCTC Rail Connect app) in 2014. When it comes to short weekend trips, many prefer buses over other modes of transport, which is why several bus companies have tied-up with online platforms like Travelyaari to boost bookings and cater to tourists.
Reserving the Accommodation
Travellers are no longer at the mercy of local agents to book hotels. Most hotels nowadays give the option of hassle-free, online bookings. One can also reserve an accommodation through third party online portals. These portals not only have extensive information about the property such as its pictures, amenities and facilities, but also reviews by other travellers. Moreover, with increasing numbers of sharing-economy companies, people are also opting for a room in a private house or villa for a localized and more authentic experience. While the concept of home-stays has been in the existence for centuries, technology has turned into a global phenomenon with a massive uptick.
Planning the Itinerary
Gone are the days when guidebooks were the only way to find-out the tourist attractions of a place. The digital era has presented us with many online platforms that help travellers to plan a perfect itinerary during a trip. Be it travelling for pleasure or work, these platforms can come to their aid by saving a lot of stress, money and time. There are some handy apps that provide endless information on common tourist areas, nightlife options, shows, events and activities travellers may want to indulge in. After going through all the information, they can curate their travel plans accordingly.
Breaking the Language Barrier
Travelling to a new place can be a little daunting if one doesn’t know the local language. In the pre-internet era, carrying thick dictionaries and phrasebooks was the only way for travellers to communicate with the locals. However, apps such as Google Translator and iTranslate have now come to their rescue. The Google Translator app, for example, even has the ability to translate signs and menus through the phone’s camera in real time. There is no denying the fact that these apps have helped travelers communicate more effectively, consequently enriching their travelling experience.
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Paytm electronic payment methods have made life much easier. With these instant money transferring platforms, travellers no longer need to carry a lot of cash. Going cashless while travelling is not only convenient, but it also reduces the risk of getting robbed. Electronic payment methods have made travelling safer as well as trouble-free.
For today’s generation, travelling is as meaningful as posting photos of their vacation on social media platforms. As compared to yesteryear’s cameras that came with a limited number of reels, DSLRs, SLRs and camera-centric smartphones allow people to click as many pictures as they fancy.
It goes without saying that just like every other sector, compact technology has disrupted the travel industry. Digital advancements have resulted in the rise of independent or DIY travellers who are better equipped to plan, book and manage their travelling experiences with a device that is conveniently placed in the palm of their hands.