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Travel Terms every Travel Business Needs to Know

Whether you believe it or not, it’s a new decade, and new year predictions have been made; emerging trends have been reported, and the travel industry is set for continued innovation in technology and offerings that put travellers first.

As a travel business, now is the time to brush up on some of the trending terms, understand why they’re important and what they mean for you, as well as for travellers.

Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa

In this article, Dr Nomvuselelo Songelwa, CEO Jurni provides a rundown of the important travel terminology you need to know in 2020:

1 Data storytelling

All data has a story to tell. But if you’re just collecting travel data in a spreadsheet in order to produce a few stats, you’ve got little more than some plot notes and you’re definitely falling short of any sort of compelling story.

Data holds massive potential to identify cost savings and product gaps, uncover trends and behaviours, and make evidence-backed forecasts for the future. It can help create a more clear, holistic picture of the often fragmented travel and tourism landscape.

This is what Jurni is undertaking with its unbiased, consolidated and comprehensive approach to tourism data management. As a pioneer in data storytelling, a data bard if you will, Jurni will use data to empower both the private and public spheres of the industry to make informed decisions.

By sharing and pooling data, stakeholders can craft more impactful strategies and policies while optimising resource allocation, ultimately benefiting the sector as a whole.


Once the stuff of sci-fi novels, biometrics is an increasingly common tool that is applied widely across sectors for authentication and security purposes. Including fingerprint, facial recognition, retina scanning and other recognition technology, the field of biometrics represents an exciting new potential for the travel industry.

Biometric technology is inherently data-rich and is quickly emerging as yet another channel through which the industry can collect and use data to improve the individual travel experience.

By putting in place touchpoints that identify a traveller, their behaviours and preferences, it becomes easier to seamlessly deliver personalised options, services and incentives.

Biometrics is also revolutionising security on a broad scale. The technology is already sweeping through airports and cutting queues from check-in to boarding. And meanwhile, the payment process for travel bookings has never been more safe and friction-free than with biometric authorisation.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is another data-driven tool that is rapidly changing the travel industry.

Hungry for big data, AI can perform complex tasks, make decisions and predict future outcomes with little or no human intervention.

AI is a great solution for stakeholders in the travel industry to save time and money while reducing the potential of human error in some processes.

AI-powered chatbots have proven a great success in the areas of customer service and an estimated 40% of large businesses are already using this intuitive tech. The more an individual engages with a chatbot, the more intelligent it becomes, tailoring ever-more relevant responses and options. And they’re available around the clock!


We all want the VIP treatment and one-of-a-kind experiences. But only now, through these new tech-forward capabilities like biometrics and artificial intelligence, has personalisation come to be expected by all travellers.

What these and other predictive technologies have done, is use historic data to derive patterns of behaviour in order to present products, services, and communications that are specifically tailored to individual needs, preferences and personality.

Personalisation is nothing new – but it has been made more accessible, affordable, and accurate and it is a vital tool for the tourism industry to maintain relevance across an increasingly multi-generational and diverse consumer base.


Bleisure (business and leisure) travel is firmly rooted in the millennial playbook as an opportune way to pursue that work/life balance that is so valued by this demographic. But bleisure is for everyone with its ‘have your cake and eat it’ appeal – whether it’s tacking on an extra week to explore an area and unwind, or simply filling a free afternoon by discovering the city beyond the office walls.

Bleisure travellers rely on flexibility, convenience, and a bit of creativity. They’re on the hunt for ways to optimise their time and transform an otherwise work-dominated itinerary into a fun and refreshing experience.

With booking platforms at travellers’ fingertips, a wealth of information about any given destination available online or via chatbot, and the surge of the sharing economy, tech innovation is making bleisure more accessible than ever before.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism comprises not only environmental aspects but touches on cultural, social and economic aspects as well. It’s emerged as a response to the consequences of overtourism and is driven by greater consciousness on the part of the industry and travellers alike.

Travellers are increasingly aware of the impact they leave behind and many have moved beyond the often-cited adage, ‘leave no trace,’ in pursuit of the loftier, ‘leave it better than you found it.’ This plays out in trends such as ecotourism, wildlife or conservation tourism, and supporting local community-run projects and businesses. 

With strategies and policies that promote sustainable tourism growth, the industry can play a significant role in inclusive job creation and promotion of local cultures and products.

Emotional marketing

We’re back to storytelling with emotional marketing. Emotional marketing weaves brand narratives to which the audience feels a personal connection. In this age of dipping brand loyalty, it’s a great strategy for forging meaningful relationships with customers.

And what about those of us ruled by logic? No problem. Emotional marketing isn’t about outwitting your logic, it’s a channel for a brand to share its values, purpose and passion. And it must be authentic. Consumers can sniff out disingenuine messaging and just as quickly shift to a brand that aligns more with their own values, purpose and passion.

So how can travel and tourism companies ensure that their emotional marketing campaigns build brand love and resonate with travellers? We come to the all-important theme of, ‘know your user.’

User Experience

User experience is the expression of user-centricity – a concept that should be a priority for all travel companies and tech platforms. And it’s more than just personalisation, it’s an empathy machine that considers how the user feels at every touchpoint whether it’s a product, system or service.

It requires robust research and design, effective and comprehensive content, and a focused strategy. And let us not forget the data! User experience is driven by an iterative process of deep analysis, testing, and validating of lots of quantitative and qualitative data.

By nature, one individual’s user experience will differ from someone else’s, but when it comes to travel and tourism, there are some key UX themes that emerge such as intuitive forms, quality search results, transparent booking, and elements of entertainment. And well-placed, inspiring visuals never hurt either!

Relying on user insights based on real-world evidence, rather than assumptions, means travel companies can maintain greater relevance and agility as we enter a new decade… or the last year of this decade, your choice!

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