How digital transformation can reshape the travel and transportation industry

The travel and transportation sector has been severely affected since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With domestic and international travel halted, airport closures and the tourism sector stunned, the industry has had to come up with new strategies, quickly, to remain operational.  With such an uncertain future, there are doubts as to whether the industry will ever revert to how it used to operate. So, what does the future look like for the industry? New government rules, Covid-19 risks and economic drawbacks, raises the question as to whether this new way of operating is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

The new face of the travel and transport industry

For now, governments and businesses need to collaborate and develop new innovative strategies to get the world moving again. In a report created by the World Road Transport Organisation, they highlighted that governments need to react and help with:

  • Financial support.
  • Insurance premium payment flexibility.
  • Continued relief of taxes and charges so organisations can stay in business and continue their crucial role in driving the recovery.

The World Economic Forum brings together 130+ businesses from more than 22 industry sectors to address the challenges of the global supply chain issues. Their Platform for Advanced Manufacturing and Production, aims to connect senior operations, supply chain executives and top leaders from government, academia, and civil society to analyse the economic impact of Covid-19 on value chains. Addressing the issues on a global scale is crucial in understanding both short and long-term solutions.

The problems caused within the travel and transport industry are enormous when looking at how much money has been lost, ultimately affecting global economies. Julian Ware, Head of Major Project Funding for TFL explains that transit agencies have seen between a 50-80% decline in revenues. So, how can the sector bounce back and regain the financial backbone that has been crippled for well over a year?

Aman Chitkara, Manager for Mobility at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explains that for the industry to thrive and move forward in uncertain and difficult times, it needs to rethink how data is managed and shared. Digital transformation has become one of the most important investments for many businesses, with it being prioritised within their business operations and overall strategy. Consolidating and understanding complex data through intelligent cloud solutions can help businesses make informed decisions, which can enable them to move though the challenging environment the world is still tackling due to Covid-19.

So, it’s clear that data is an important part of how the industry can move forward. But how?

To help understand this, we can turn to an interview conducted by Intelligent Transport with Mike Butler, Head of Strategic Technical Innovation at Nomad Digital, who shared his views on how transport operators can rebuild trust with passengers and how data can innovate the way consumers use transportation.

Butler highlighted that data is essential to enable customers to see how services are performing to help them make informed decisions of their routes. Transport operators need to focus on reducing contact points, highlighting that digital tickets and in-app services are crucial. He further explained that reducing physical contact will be key in order to abide with covid guidelines and passenger safety. This is an important factor of reclaiming the confidence and trust of customers.

Bulter concluded stating “the more information that is shared, the greater the confidence for passengers that they’re going to be safe on board, that services will run on time and be reliable”.

Heathrow airport’s digital transformation

As the travel industry transforms through the pandemic, digital transformation has allowed businesses to make faster and more informative decisions using data. Data transformation is no longer just an add-on or nice to have; data and analytics are driving businesses daily, informing key decisions in real-time. Heathrow Airport is a great example of how data has played a pivotal role within an business. During the pandemic, Heathrow with consolidated their data to better understand it’s cargo terminal, retail partnerships and airport operations as air travel and commerce changes. New data strategies enabled Heathrow to position themselves better within the post-pandemic economy, where uncertain complexities may still be unknown. To find out more about the Heathrow journey, and how we helped the airport harness their digital transformation during the pandemic, take a look at our case study.


Since the pandemic started, the way people and goods around the world has changed dramatically. From commuting to the office, travel protocols for health and safety measures, to how imported goods travel from one destination to another in global supply chains.

The travel and transportation industry is still in a state of uncertainty with the world still reacting to the Covid-19 virus. Although transportation and borders are starting to reopen, governments and businesses still need to innovate and create new strategies to rebuild the sectors strength.

There are many questions surrounding how the new way of transportation will look like, and how digital transformation will continue to shape the future. One thing is for certain, the sector needs to evolve to become more resilient against future disruptions. Now is the time that the sector can recover, plan for the future and use data and resources to shape the new way we see the travel and transportation sector.

Read our previous 2 blogs focused on the travel and tourism industry throughout the pandemic.

How has the travel and transport sector reacted to the Covid-19 crisis? – Read 

How global supply chains changed throughout the pandemic and what’s the new future? – Read