Many things changed since mobile technology emerged. Information reach its target in torrential speed. Faster than ever. Human interactions are affected in so many ways. One of which is similar to what train once did to human culture; it affects greatly the way people travel.
Train was the first mass transportation and it used to be the fastest. People spent hours traveling from Point A to Point B instead of days. For the first time in history, human was forced to race with the clang of machines. It’s also because of train that human learned the importance of punctuality. Time has become a limited, valuable resource ever since. Not only that. Some people gathered around in 1884 to address this drastic change and situation, and that’s how time zones were born.
Mobile technology revolutionizes traveling in a slightly different manner. Although it doesn’t actually bring you to your destination, it connects you with your destination with ease. Sometimes, what it does is more than that. Not only it helps you going to your destination, but it “brings” the place to you, for you to learn everything about before actually visiting it.
What Does It Mean For Travelers
Travelers, whether it’s for business, holiday, pilgrimage or just the sheer fun of it, are growing in numbers as a response to such easiness. “Not all those who wander are lost”, said J.R.R Tolkien, The Real Lord of Lord of The Rings. Thanks to growing accuracy of Google Map, this is true. Sometimes, they just drunk.
Seriously. Every essential step for your travel can be done through the installed apps in your smartphone. From picking a destination, choosing where to stay and what to do, buying tickets and making itinerary and even learning one or two phrases of the language of the place you plan to visit. It’s there, one scroll and one click away from one another. But you know this already.
Travel-related apps and online travel agencies are abundant and the numbers keep increasing. If there’s certain reason why you don’t travel in this mobile-crazed era, it’s definitely not these guys.
Traveling in mobile age also represents higher dependency to technology. Nightmare is no longer waking up with a heavy hangover in an unfamiliar place, thousand miles from home, instead it’s waking up with a heavy hangover in an unfamiliar place, thousand miles from home and your smartphone is nowhere to be seen.
Traveling in mobile tech era can’t distance itself from the sharing economy. Even though sharing-economy is not exclusive to the emergence of mobile technology, it brings the so-called alternative economy to a whole new level. Not only people share files now, they’re able to share their abode too and score a substantial income flow from it!
For instance, online travel agency as, yours truly Bedforest enables you, travelers, to stay worry-free when it comes to choosing where to stay while visiting Indonesia.
“Rent out your place. Make money. Participate in charity.” That’s what Bedforest in a nutshell for hosts-would-be. With the emergence of whole flocks of travelers as mentioned above, it’s just unwise not to jump right in.
It’s worth to note that travelers nowadays are different breeds from those of previous generations. We’re talking about the so-called Generation Y or the millenials. They’re well-versed in mobile technology and what it offers. Traveling is no longer a hobby or something they do once a year. It’s a lifestyle. They’re constantly on the move. Especially true in the case of digital nomads: those who are unbound to any desk and chair or cubicle just to earn income.
If big data companies think that how, where and when people travel worth monitoring, then it must be good enough a reason for everyone to start paying attention. The good thing is, everyone can tap into this valuable information to track and trace the newest patterns and trends on how, where and when people travel, and then act accordingly, simply by querying Google.
What Does It Mean to the Hosts Would Be?
Whole new market. That’s what you’ll get. With sharing economy, you don’t have to own a hotel or resort to jump in tourism industry. Accommodation is no longer the commodity here, at least on its own, unlike how it’s been in tourism industry in past decades. It’s how unique the experience you can offer to your guests that counts.
As mentioned before, you don’t even need to rent out your whole place. A room is suffice as a capital to bank on this new sharing-economy. What you need is simply a clean, comfortable place and a will to be, or to learn to be, a good host. Co-Marketing is a good strategy too. No matter how perfect your place is, it doesn’t matter if no one can find it on internet.
Sharing Economy. Will it last?
As in any other situation where changes happened, the established, the status quo, the old vanguards, or whatever you may call it, will try anything to stop or slow them down. We’ve seen it before. It happened all over the course of history. However, more often than not, changes are inevitable. David Kong, the President and CEO of Best Western International, as representative of hotel industry, tried to address the rise of sharing economy in this engaging open letter. As sincere as it is, is it enough to even slowdown the growth of sharing (space) economy? Even Kong admits, it’s here to stay.
People who own smartphone are numbered around 2 billion now. One-third to half of which are millenials who are keen to take the world from the previous generations. Those who were born in early 80s are on top of their game right now, supported by 10-15 years worth of saving to spend in places they’ve never been before, and they soon will be followed by the younger members of these large, diverse group.
Sharing economy is here to stay. That much is clear. At least for the next 10-20 years. Although Kong and his cohorts believe that sharing economy is no threat or competitor to their business, with Internet of Things on the horizon, both parties need to keep up to avoid “faith” similar to that of the train: airplane.
Back to Traveling Part, Shall We?
In a nutshell, what mobile technology does to travelers is saving a lot of their time and money. It’s always about efficiency. Manually creating a travel plan can be a headache even without all the setbacks, lost luggage and
exploding crying babies. An app can do what you can do in that department faster and more accurate. Like the old new saying unique to mobile age, there’s an app for everything.
The whole things are built around efficiency. Hosts at online travel agencies are mostly people who aren’t home at a specific time for a specific duration or has a spare room or two, and try to substitute those absence and those emptiness with tenants, albeit temporary ones. If you could ask a friend or family to live on that space on your behalf without them paying you, getting paid to do the same to some eager guests is just, what? Too good to be true?
So, what does it means to travel in mobile age?
In one long sentence, traveling in mobile age is a sure strategy to get killer photos for your Instagram and material for your blog; to capture exotic delicacies you about to enjoy to post on Path, earn right to humblebrag to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers; and your chances to try tons of traveling apps in Apple Store and Google Play you don’t need otherwise.
Either all of that or it’s part of your effort to bring power and love to your life, just like Rumi said. To take you to a journey to yourself, and come up as a wiser, better and more experienced you.
It’s your choice.