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Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the use of Travel Technology but does this technology hamper privacy of the customers?

The covid-19 pandemic opened doors to digitization and technical advancement at a large scale. The lockdown that was imposed all over the globe has forced the industries to work from home and curb the infection rate till a cure is found. One of the sectors that took heavy impact of the Covid-19 outbreak was the travel sector. Banning of flights, hotel bookings, trains, and local buses lead to a major drawback of the travel industry. People took to homes due to the fear of getting infected in an unknown travel destination that could completely go against them. Moreover, different quarantine regulations applied by various countries and areas within the country too hampered this industry. Now-a-days, a new normal is emerging in the travel sector and that is travel technology.   

What is travel technology?

The name itself briefs about the idea of merging two entities- travel and technology together. This concept may not be new because several online travelling sites such as MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, and Oyo hotels were still functioning before the coronavirus pandemic broke out. However, travel technology concept emerged widely during the Covid-19 crises for maintaining customer safety.  

Travel technology means managing travel inventory online for tour operators, travel agents, solo travellers, and anyone who wish to travel. This technology also manages customer experiences and provides them with all the data that is needed for travelling. The data shared with the clients are tour details, accommodation, prices, and customer testimonials or reviews about the place and travel agency.

Travel technology is a part of hospitality or tourism technology that allows travel businesses to conduct online bookings, boost customer support, and take feedbacks from the people. One of the travel technologies called as technoheaven provides travel CRM (customer relationship management), tour operator software, travel agency software, and blockchain hotel booking. All these factors play a vital role in maintaining safety and security during travels.

Can travel technology uphold privacy of the traveller?

Every individual seeks privacy in terms of personal life, work, or even travel for that matter. However, our travel destinations do not remain private due to constant social media uploads along with the location tag. This location tag indicates our exact position on the map; thus alerting the burglars about an empty home. Cyber criminals are always on a lookout for a potential house raid and are always keeping a track on social media about people living in the neighborhood. Thus, it is highly recommended that one maintains security while uploading photos and debar any stranger from viewing it.

Another factor that matters during travels is the internet connectivity. Many people use free Wi-Fi of railways or airports during travels. These public Wi-Fi networks can be dangerous as there is no guarantee of security and can lead to phishingmalware activities, and sniffing. It is recommended not to check bank account details or social media platforms while using the public Wi-Fi; thus ensuring safety. Moreover, keep your entire devices password protected in order to avoid data breach, identity theft, attaining contact information, and passwords.

Fraudsters and scammers are sitting at every point for hijacking personal details and financial information. Last minute travel bookings can attract hoards of such scammers that build convincing travel websites. These websites offer fake deals to customers and trick them to reserve travel packages. The online transactions are a way to lure the customers into a trap and acquire information. This situation can be avoided by going directly to the official website of the travel agency that may start with HTTPS URL or call the travel agent. Furthermore, bookings can be confirmed via calls or SMS notifications.

In order to restrain the infection rate of the coronavirus disease, several countries have launched apps for tracking and contact tracing such as Arogya Setu app, Belizetravelport and many more. These apps demand location and Bluetooth sharing for monitoring health. Furthermore, location gives out our position to the authorities; thus helping them in tracing our contact with people while travelling. This can be a major concern if these applications are breached and hacked by the cyber criminals and they can leak sensitive data about our travels.

How to Minimize Risks Associated with Travel Technology?

Here are some tips on how one can avoid from being bullied while travelling:

  • Use blockchain technology to avert data breach.
  • Business travels must have travel policies for the employees as majority of information is leaked during such travels itself.
  • Privacy filters for laptops, mobiles, and any other electronic devices in the form of PIN or passwords.
  • Turn off location when not in use.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi and utilize phone data or a dongle for internet connectivity.
  • Delete search history and cookies from the phone and browse for flights, buses, trains, and hotels in private mode.
  • Use authenticated sites for travel bookings and hotel reservations.