I recently had the opportunity to listen to the PhocusWright travel technology conference. This was a unique format where CEO’s of start-up companies within the travel arena had 5 minutes to present their value to a panel of industry executives. Candidly, most of these new companies were simply more of the same. A “new” social network for travelers. Really? The world needs another social network? Sorry guys, that ship has sailed.
However, there was one that captured my imagination. www.verbalizeit.com is a company that provides language translation over your smartphone. This opens up a whole new world of roaming for travelers who want to experience life off the beaten track in lands far away.
While English speaking locals are quite abundant in most major cities around the world, venturing to the outback reveals that communication can be a real problem. Lack of communication can be the prohibiting factor in experiencing life as the locals. Verbalizeit provides value to the tourist by allowing them communicate using their smartphone as a language translation service.
Image for a minute you were in a small village in Africa or China. You don’t speak the language or know the local land. However, your smartphone provides maps with points of interest, hotel reviews, popular restaurants and your translator. Wow! What a new world. Is it me or do you also expect to hear Captain Kirk tell Scotty to beam him up soon!
With the trend toward unleashed “life adventure travel” I can see smartphone based language translation to fill a real need. New travel technology is changing the landscape. Image that you are no longer tied to a guide or motor coach tour simply because you did not know what to see or how to communicate.
How will the travel industry respond to this new found freedom to roam? My guess is that destination expert travel agents become valuable once again. They will help outline an itinerary with enough flexibility embedded so travelers can also roam on their own, yet the agents are also on call 24/7 to help in case problems arise. New travel technology such as Verbalizeit are going to revolutionize the way we travel to foreign lands. Beam me up Scotty!