The rise of digital has given rise to a new kind of traveler who is adept at all available online and mobile tools and uses them to jump across all industry-defined silos. These new travelers don’t need tons of handholding, they shun human interaction, and know their way around everywhere they go.

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If the hospitality – the actual human to human interaction – part of the travel industry becomes less and less important, how does the industry define itself? How does it understand the needs of its customers and fulfill them?

This presents the global hospitality industry a paradox: the human part of the service economy may become less and less important with the rise of the independent, digital traveler forging his or her own way. But big data and personalization offer a way for travel companies to offer that invisible pillar of support. It also allows the travel industry an opportunity to balance the inevitable expectation of personalization while simultaneously enhancing the need to remain independent. The risk: predictive services – using data trails – may have potential risks in making too much of personalized interactions.

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, Egencia.

Photo Credit: David Marcu http://www.dmarcu.com/