Technological advancements in the travel industry meet the growing demand for personalized experiences, safety, and sustainability. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging travel trends mark a shift towards contactless travel through digital payments, self-check-ins, and more. Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain are automating various hospitality and travel-related operations. For instance, smart hotels make use of internet-connected devices to remotely control rooms. Further, businesses offer virtual tours by adopting extended reality (XR) technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Travel companies also leverage data analytics to personalize marketing. At the same time, traveler assisting solutions like chatbots and voice technology aid them in booking accommodation and optimizing journeys. These travel trends improve the overall profitability of the tourism industry and enable it to make operations more sustainable and safe.
Innovation Map outlines the Top 9 Travel Trends & 18 Promising Startups
For this in-depth research on the Top 9 Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 18 global startups and scaleups. The result of this research is data-driven innovation intelligence that improves strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies & startups in the travel industry. These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2 500 000+ startups & scaleups globally. As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant startups, emerging technologies & future industry trends quickly & exhaustively.
In the Innovation Map below, you get an overview of the Top 9 Travel Trends & Innovations that impact travel & tourism companies worldwide. Moreover, the Travel Innovation Map reveals 3 500+ hand-picked startups, all working on emerging technologies that advance their field.
Top 9 Travel Trends
- Artificial Intelligence
- Immersive Tourism
- Internet of Things
- Contactless Travel
- Big Data & Analytics
- Post-Pandemic Tourism
- Tour Premiumization
Tree Map reveals the Impact of the Top 9 Travel Trends
Based on the Travel Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the Top 9 Travel Industry Trends in 2023. Startups and scaleups are enabling contactless travel using technologies like biometrics, radio-frequency identification (RFID), and near-field communication (NFC). This is due to increasing health and hygiene concerns post the pandemic. The use of AI in tourism ensures hassle-free trip planning while AR and VR allow tourists to virtually visit various locations and excursions. IoT increases visibility into tourism industry operations and allows passengers to track their luggage more efficiently. Further, the demand for personalized and luxurious travel is rising. Several startups enable recreational space travel as well as offer sustainable travel options to passengers.
Global Startup Heat Map covers 3 635 Travel Startups & Scaleups
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 3 635 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals that the US, Europe, and India see the most activity.
Below, you get to meet 18 out of these 3 635 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These 18 startups are hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Top 9 Travel Trends in 2023
1. Artificial Intelligence
Hotels use AI-powered intelligent chatbots to offer personalized and quick resolutions for traveler inquiries. Similarly, travel chatbots ease accommodation booking and collect customer reviews, which allow potential travelers to make informed decisions. Additionally, AI-based robots automate hotel disinfection and deliver room service for an enhanced customer experience. They guide travelers at the airport and assist in luggage handling. AI-driven facial recognition technology verifies a traveler’s identity at airports, improving airport security and providing a faster alternative to paper-bound processes. Many startups also develop trip planning solutions for travelers to optimize their journey and personalize their travel experience.
Travel Professor develops a Travel Chatbot
UK-based startup Travel Professor offers an AI-enabled chatbot for travelers. The startup’s chat widget software monitors multiple flight deals and notifies users when their preferences match. It also provides travel destination recommendations and flight price alerts. This allows travelers to book economical flights and have a budget-friendly tourism experience.
XOKind facilitates Travel Planning
US-based startup XOKind leverages AI to create Una, a smart travel planning app. It analyzes data from millions of customer reviews. Based on the analysis, it suggests activities and destinations as per the user’s preference. Una also offers personalized recommendations about restaurants or hotels to travelers. This enables tourists to make data-driven decisions and ensure an untroubled and safe experience.
2. Immersive Tourism
Immersive tourism addresses the increasing demand for meaningful experiences among travelers. It utilizes AR, VR, and mixed reality (MR) to enhance the travel experience and even provide virtual journeys. VR creates a simulation of original locations via a computer-generated environment, enabling tourists to virtually visit destinations before traveling. It also offers travelers a 360-degree tour of the place of interest. AR, on the other hand, enhances the travel experience through interactive elements like navigation maps and ads. Further, travel companies utilize AR and VR-based gamification to spike tourist attractions.
EaziTrip offers AR-based Local Tour
Australian startup EaziTrip makes a travel guide application. The company’s app uses AR to offer local information in real-time. This enables easy navigation for the tourists. The app incorporates translational tools to provide travelers with comprehensible information about their destination. It also recommends local shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
AR Tour makes AR Glasses
Italian startup AR Tour offers AR-powered tours. The startup’s AR glasses superimpose reconstructed images of archaeological ruins to show how the site originally was. Its tour informs the tourists about the site’s history and significance via an audio-visual package. Moreover, the startup designs lightweight AR glasses to prevent motion sickness among tourists, improving convenience.
3. Internet of Things
IoT generates ample data that tourism companies leverage to personalize services in their subsequent visits. Hotels use IoT sensors to enable smart rooms that automate room lighting, temperature, and ambiance control, enhancing guest comfort. These sensors also detect vacant rooms to adjust appliances and save energy. This reduces building carbon footprint and energy costs. Further, startups use IoT to send location-specific information to customers. This includes tracking luggage and alerting travelers in case of theft or misplacement. Lastly, airlines integrate IoT-based solutions into seats to measure passenger temperature or heart rate for proactive health management.
Altitude enables Smart Hotels
New Zealand-based startup Altitude creates an IoT-based hotel software and hardware to develop smart hotels. The startup makes self-service kiosks to automate reservations, room up-gradation, payments, as well as check-in and check-out. Its hotel management platform further enables contactless engagement with guests. Additionally, Altitude’s mobile keys allow guests to open doors using mobile phones, providing convenience and saving time for travelers.
Smart Tour provides Smart Itineraries
Brazilian startup Smart Tour offers smart itineraries using IoT and quick response (QR) codes. The startup recommends travel routes and destinations based on the user’s preference in real-time. This facilitates a seamless experience for travelers. Besides, the user-generated data enables tourism managers to better understand consumer behavior and indulge in proximity marketing. The startup also offers a contact tracing solution to monitor COVID-19 infected travelers and ensure public safety.
4. Contactless Travel
Although contactless travel initially began to provide a smooth experience for tourists, the pandemic is making it a necessity to ensure the safety of travelers. Contactless recognition technologies like retina scanning replace passports and other travel documents. This quickens passenger identification and avoids long airport queues. Travel companies offer QR codes for tourists to access the information of interest on their mobile devices, increasing engagement. Further, hotels facilitate contactless self-check-ins that enable visitors to lodge services before their arrival. Hotels and restaurants also offer contactless payment modes to visitors for quicker and safer transactions.
Loxe designs Smart Hotel Keys
US-based startup Loxe makes smart mobile keys for hotels. The startup’s smartphone app replaces key cards with contactless mobile keys that allow users to unlock doors using smartphones. It also reduces operational costs incurred in the manufacturing of conventional keys or plastic cards. Moreover, the startup designs a Bluetooth retrofit module that converts normal door locks into mobile-ready door locks. This allows hotel owners to easily convert their existing locks into smart ones without additional expenses while improving guest safety and convenience.
Avendi provides Contactless Payment
Singaporean startup Avendi offers contactless and cashless payments for travelers. The startup allows tourists to accumulate expenses throughout their trip and pay at the end of the journey. Avendi’s app utilizes QR codes to add all the billed expenses and shown through its dashboard. The user settles the tab amount in the preferred currency, preventing the inconvenience of cash withdrawal or credit card payments.
5. Big Data & Analytics
Big data empowers travel companies with customer trends for strategic marketing. It analyzes traveler behavior to offer personalized recommendations for booking hotels, cabs, flights, or tickets. Big data and analytics solutions also predict future demand, enabling hotels and airlines to identify high demand periods and maximize revenue. Another use of big data is to detect cyber fraud via advanced analysis of transactional data. This way, travel companies ensure the safety of sensitive customer information like credit card details and biometric data.
CheckandPack creates a Travel Platform
Dutch startup CheckandPack offers a big data travel platform. It runs marketing campaigns to gather traveler data and understand tourism trends. Based on these insights, the platform enables businesses to approach travelers with a customized appeal. It also provides travelers with holiday planning.
3Victors provides Travel Data Analytics
US-based startup 3Victors offers travel data analytics. The startup’s product, PriceEye Suite, proactively monitors the prices of numerous airlines to provide insights into competitor prices. It creates a dashboard to display travelers’ location of interest, allowing travel airlines to better manage their revenue and pricing strategy.
6. Post-Pandemic Tourism
As travel restrictions are relaxed, companies are ensuring the safety and hygiene of travelers to rebuild customer trust. For example, hotels follow protective measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, room disinfection, and more. Travel companies also verify passenger health information using digital health passports. Moreover, the onset of COVID-19 mandated most people to work from home. Consequently, post-pandemic travel trends witness a rise in combining remote working with tourism. Startups also offer facilities such as internet connectivity and a quiet ambiance for a coherent work experience.
GOPASS Global enables Pre-travel Risk Management
Singaporean startup GOPASS Global provides a travel risk analytics platform against COVID-19. It analyzes the biosecurity risk elements involved in a trip, such as border restrictions, quarantine requirements, airport type, and airline transit points or seating in real-time. This allows travelers to assess risk factors and plan their trips accordingly. Moreover, the startup creates world maps displaying information regarding COVID-prone areas, testing areas, and vaccine coverage. This provides travelers with a preview of the current situation, allowing them to ensure safety during business and leisure travel.
Workcations enables Work from Anywhere
Indian startup Workcations provides properties at tourist destinations for remote-working individuals. It offers amenities like internet connectivity, food, and a quiet ambiance, allowing tourists to work in a peaceful environment without hindrance. This increases employee productivity, motivation, and retention.
7. Tour Premiumization
The demand for hyper-personalization in travel is increasing. Tourists seek new experiences and explore different cultures. Tour premiumization offers luxury travelers a tailored experience with intuitive services. Travel startups offer health and wellness trip packages to de-stress tourists. Health-enhancing retreats also offer nutritious food for detoxification. Further, space tourism allows people to travel to space for leisure or scientific research. Lastly, startups leverage travel membership or subscription models to enhance customer loyalty and cultivate close customer relationships.
STOKE provides Space Tour
US-based startup STOKE facilitates space travel using everyday-operable rockets. The startup’s rockets are reusable and deliver satellites to any desired orbit. This enables on-demand access to space, paving way for space tours for exploration, recreation, and research. The startup also emphasizes the economical and rapid development of its hardware for feasible spacecraft launches, advancing space tourism.
Origin offers Travel Personalization
Dutch startup Origin provides premium travel personalization to tourists. The startup utilizes machine learning and travel curators to plan creative vacations. It also arranges flights and accommodation for travelers. Further, the startup measures the carbon output of itineraries and offers sustainable tourism options.
Responsible travel minimizes the negative impact of tourism on the environment and sustains the well-being of local communities. Ecotourists actively seek to minimize their carbon footprint while traveling. To aid this, many startups develop sustainable transport modes, ecolodges, and solar-powered resorts. Additionally, airline passengers offset carbon emissions when booking flights. Local tourism boosts small businesses economically and generates more employment opportunities. It also emphasizes minimum littering, which lowers pollution and the time spent on cleanups.
Jet-Set Offset simplifies Flight Carbon Offset
US-based startup Jet-Set Offset creates a carbon-offsetting platform for air travel. The startup partners with non-profit organizations working against climate change and connects them with travelers. Each time travelers book flight tickets via the startup’s platform, Jet-Set Offset contributes a certain amount per mile for their journey to environmental organizations. This way, the passenger’s journey promotes mileage-based donations to offset carbon emissions.
The Green Stamp facilitates Ethical Wildlife Tour
Dutch startup The Green Stamp provides a platform to book ethical wildlife tours. It curates tours based on the tourists’ inclinations toward certain locations or wildlife. Exploration of these projects allows travelers to indirectly contribute to their cause as these wildlife projects donate to the welfare of local communities and the environment.
Blockchain provides the travel industry with operational transparency and security. One of the primary applications of blockchain is to ensure traceable payments, especially in the case of international travel. This improves the level of trust among the transacting parties. Many travel firms create customer loyalty programs where travelers exchange their points for cryptocurrency. Blockchain also increases data storage security, mitigating information leaks.
Upswing facilitates Guest Profiling
Indian startup Upswing creates AURA, a blockchain-powered platform for guest profiling. It provides a holistic view of guests, their preferences, and purchase patterns. The platform associates a score with each guest and suggests improvements in their service. This facilitates hotels to provide a personalized experience to their guests and, in turn, increase sales.
UIQ Travel develops a Solo Traveling App
US-based startup UIQ Travel develops a blockchain-based app to connect solo travelers. It discovers people with shared interests and suggests tours or attractions. Such hyper-personalized recommendations assist in experience discovery and also increase traveler engagement.
Discover all Travel Trends, Technologies & Startups
Tourism, although severely impacted by the pandemic, now continues to rapidly grow across the globe. Post-pandemic trends indicate an increasing emphasis on hygiene and safety during travel. The industry is witnessing the widespread adoption of disruptive technologies like AI, XR, IoT, and blockchain. The travel industry utilizes big data to understand traveler trends for targeted marketing. The transition to ecotourism is accelerating as businesses integrate zero-emission transit and carbon offset programs to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Travel Trends & Startups outlined in this report only scratch the surface of trends that we identified during our data-driven innovation and startup scouting process. Among others, personalization, decarbonization, and travel safety will transform the sector as we know it today. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage. Get in touch to easily and exhaustively scout startups, technologies & trends that matter to you!