Under Embargo 00:01 3rd April 2015
Celebrating 150 years on the High Street, Thomas Cook takes a look into the future to imagine the Holiday of Tomorrow
Thomas Cook opened its first travel agency on Fleet Street in 1865, and to mark more than 150 years on the British High Street, it today builds on a pioneering past to imagine what the future holds for the Holidaymakers of Tomorrow.
In just a few years, travellers will regularly be using sunscreen pills and smart luggage, with hypersonic travel also on the horizon, according to the company’s digital team. Generational expert, Paul Redmond has also predicted that travel will be customer-service focused with demanding and well-informed tourists wanting to experience bespoke experiences, relying on customer reviews and social media*.
Thomas Cook Group’s Chief Digital Officer, Marco Ryan, said: “Virtual reality technologies are already playing a key role in how companies such as Thomas Cook showcase experience-based products. The fusion of wearable, immersive tech and bio technologies all coming together in the immediate future suggest that the possibilities tomorrow and into the next decade in store and abroad are endless. Imagine a time when you can print your vaccines, or when all of your documents and currencies are seamlessly integrated into wearble technologies? That day is not far away. Science fiction is certain to become science fact within the next few years.”
As the longest running high street travel retailer, Thomas Cook has a wealth of experience and a proud, innovative heritage, but also knows how important it is to keep up with technological advances to better serve its customers. It already offers virtual reality tours in selected stores, where they can fly over Manhattan and visit resorts with a headset.
The future is closer than you think. That old favourite, the postcard, will finally be consigned to history over the next few years – already, fewer than half of us send them** - and we will bid farewell to sunburn and cash concerns, with technology set to solve travellers’ problems before they even realised they had them.
“E-currency, health monitors for insurance, and smart luggage all have huge potential to create even more convenience and friction-less travel,” continues Marco. “Tourists will increasingly find they can check in automatically with ibeacons, find out information with augmented reality glasses or contact lenses, and opt in to document and monitor their whole holiday, keeping them healthy, safe and never lost! And, of course, all the while sharing their experiences with friends back home – even in real time if they wish.
Nothing will ever beat the sensation of sand between the toes or a warm sun on the face. However, technology will most certainly open up a realm of new opportunities for how and where that is experienced.
“We still believe that holidays are and will remain all about experiences,” concludes Marco. “What we will see in the future is real life and virtual technologies coming together to create a new level of experience, one that will be more personal, more meaningful and more memorable than ever before.”
Notes to Editors:
Infographics, interviews and virtual reality headsets are available upon request.
*To read the whole prediction and summary from Paul Redmond visit here
**Postcard data from survey of 2,000 UK adults in Jan 2015, by OnePoll for Thomas Cook
About Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer, Thomas Cook
Marco Ryan is the Chief Digital Officer for Thomas Cook Group plc. Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the Top 10 most influential digital marketers for 2014, he is an expert on digital transformation and digital marketing, a guest lecturer to several business schools in UK and Asia, and a regular speaker at conferences and seminars. His book ‘The Digital Onion - A Digital transformation handbook for non-digital managers’ is about to be published.
He has lived and worked in the USA, Europe, North Africa and Asia, working with or advising some of the largest multi-nationals on digital transformation, marketing performance and analytics. Brands Marco has helped include Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Ferrari, BSkyB, Vodafone, Premier Farnell and Aviva.
He has lived through 2 revolutions, two air-crashes and been on far too many long-haul flights to be proud of. Marco flies vintage biplanes and is an accomplished semi-professional travel photographer with many leading travel companies, magazines, airlines and corporates amongst his clients. He regularly exhibits his images.
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Under Embargo 00:01 3rd April 2015