Virtual reality, online booking sites have yet to replace traditional travel tools, says report

/ 06:30 AM September 02, 2017

Image: Delta Air Line via AFP Relaxnews

A new study looking at American travel habits reveals that while consumers have been quick to embrace some emerging trends, they’ve been wary of accepting others.

According to new research from global market research group Mintel, over the last year, 12 percent of Americans booked accommodations on a home-share website like Airbnb and HomeAway. That rises to 19 percent among millennial travelers, which Mintel defines as a group aged 23 to 40.


Despite the plethora of third-party online booking providers like Expedia, Kayak, Booking and Hotels.com, the survey also showed that the most popular way to book a trip remains the traditional travel agency, with 40 percent of Americans working directly with an agent.

That compares to 35 percent of consumers who booked through an online travel agency.


While consumers have been quick to embrace the convenience of self-check-in kiosks, authors noted a reluctance and skepticism for technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence when it comes to travel planning.

One in four travelers said they have no interest in using VR, for instance, while 10 percent admitted they have no idea what VR is.

Furthermore, nearly half (49 percent) of consumers said they have no interest in using a travel chatbot.

“While we’re seeing new and innovative technology revolutionizing the travel industry, much of these offerings are being met with hesitation from consumers. While services such as self-check-in kiosks give travelers a feeling of greater control over their trip, many travelers are skeptical of tools that force users to trust a computer with their plans,” said Mintel analyst John Poelking in a statement.

And when it comes to booking hotels and restaurants, there’s still nothing like word of mouth, it seems, as 42 percent of travelers said they read peer reviews before traveling. JB


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