Philip C. Wolf has been a travel technology evangelist for over two decades, betting on the power of Internet and how it will change the travel industry. In a recent interview, Wolf joins the dots on the mega tech trends impacting the travel business. Harnessing the power of the social media in an always-connected global marketplace is the next big challenge facing travel companies, says Wolf. According to Wolf, a major milestone was Travel2.0 where one-way communication was replaced with two-way communication. Conversations took over and customers became equal stake-holders with other industry suppliers. Customers could share ideas, blog, post, tweet and do all these things. In fact, the current social media revolution is a by-product of the Travel2.0 concept. Rather than producers of websites just pushing content one way, customers were having conversations with them. Now, a new milestone is that customers are connected 24x7 through multiple devices. This has never happened before. Last-minute travel has taken an entirely new meaning. A lot of this has to do with collaborative consumption. People are connected real time; you know where they are, and different parties can talk about different services and products, and all these happen real-time. Collaborative consumption is a powerful phenomenon. This is what companies such as Groupon and Zipcar are all about. Zipcar lets you hire cars by the hour instead of the day. They do not have offices in cities but they allow customers to find the car nearest to them through geo-located services. These technical tools are changing the various pieces of the travel industry. Going forward, the travel, tourism and hospitality industry will become a real-time global market place. So all parts of the travel value chain—be it business or leisure travellers—and all types of suppliers—air, hotel, car, cruise—will all be live and active globally 24x7. And technology will allow a lot of searching, shopping, and comparing in a globally networked market place. The future is a real-time, connected global marketplace. And this will be device and channel agnostic, of course. Get the full story at Business Outlook India