Last updated: 10:15 AM ET, Sat January 02 2016

Business and Tech Travel Outlook 2016: The Biggest Stories We’re Excited to Cover

Business Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | December 31, 2015

Business and Tech Travel Outlook 2016: The Biggest Stories We’re Excited to Cover

If 2016 were to become the best year on record, we would be able to travel by Millennium Falcon, enjoy walking around a landmark without being subjected to selfie sticks and perhaps have 100 percent confidence our luggage would arrive at our destination.

Seeing as how these are all our fantasies, we decided to measure our predictions just a bit. And that is where we find ourselves presently: on the precipice of 2016, ready to leap in wholeheartedly.

Here are just a few of things that we have on our radar as pertains to technology and various things that matter to business travel.

Overall Outlook:

If there is one thing that we found to be true over the last couple of years, it’s that travel has become easier with each month that comes flittering off the calendar.

There is no reason to believe 2016 will be any different. In fact, recent thoughts from Jay Rein, who is the VP of Travel & Hospitality Industry Solutions Practice at EPAM Systems, seems to signal a veritable bumper year for consumers thanks to gas prices.

Rein offered, “In the U.S. Air Travel Market, many forces will drive airfare wars unlike anything we have seen in years.”

Rein continued, “The consolidation of the largest airlines is complete, and cheaper oil prices will likely linger into much of next year. This means the competition for market share between the big four carriers (American, United, Delta and Southwest), along with competition from Spirit, Frontier, Alaska, Hawaiian, and Allegiant will only increase.”

Airline Wi-Fi:

This remains one aspect of travel we are resigned to take in trickles rather than in the form of gushing data.

However, Gogo’s 2Ku technology seems absolutely promising and will roll out more dramatically next year.

We imagine, or hope, the rest of the industry follows suit, giving us the kind of Internet experience we have now come to expect when on terra firma.

Improved Consumer Experience:

Airlines like United realized that the simplest tweaks to consumer experience could make major headlines.

We understand that dramatically more legroom is out of the question, but all we ask is for a better experience in the form of amenities that set an airline apart from the rest.

Perhaps a battle will ensue to entice the consumer. Free in-flight entertainment, anyone?

Smart Luggage and Locks:

Recently we followed a pair of companies that plan to roll out luggage and travel locks with improved technology respectively.

This will hardly be the end of the innovations. It’s far more likely that everyday luggage will soon have to include similar Bluetooth and GPS technology to stay current and meet the demand of the business traveler.

Perhaps one day, if we are inclined to believe in a utopia, this may mean the end of lost luggage.

Uber and Airbnb’s Continued Growth:

Both companies are no longer intriguing players that are fresh on the scene. It’s now time to consider them to be the advent of what consumers expect from accommodations and transportation.

Boutique hotels, rentals and taxi companies will have to follow suit shortly or risk being completely left behind.

With an ever-evolving infrastructure like Uber Eats, we are intrigued of what the next year holds.

TSA Backlash

Sadly, 2015 illustrated a sizable hole in the TSA’s model. What began as an eye opening storyline for casual travelers has to at some point turn into very real and visible changes to how we are all screened and who does that screening.

Gadgets to Look Forward To

VR: There is no shortage of gadgets we have our eye on. However, virtual reality is becoming a far more accessible answer to not only gamers but also hospitality companies wishing to illustrate to consumers the value in travel. Seen as more of a plaything in 2015, we can see this becoming a very real asset shortly.

iPhone 7: We will have to rely mostly on rumors for the time being. However, this iteration certainly seems like it will be a big step in Apple’s evolution.

Smartwatches: While Apple hardly invented the concept, it certainly heated the market as myriad companies are pushing out versions of gussied-up wrist wear.

While current devices are a tad superfluous to your smartphone, future versions may in fact become invaluable assets for tech-loving travelers.

Our Wish

Lastly, we leave with our wish list for the year that will be.

If we were really swinging for the fences, we would love to see a price war as pertains to International data rates. So often we are left paranoid of what we might be using when traveling or at the very least are in constant pursuit of Wi-Fi access. It’s enough to make us grateful when we are home, and no traveler wants that.

But that is just one thing, because we could use fast Wi-Fi in the sky, more space on the plane and far better reliability when it comes to getting to our destination. But that’s just being greedy, because 2015 proved once again that we would get by with whatever technology tossed our way, because worries do seem to wash away the moment we step out to travel.

So here is to hoping we all get to do a little traveling in the New Year.


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