If your family is anything like mine, Christmas will have been a period in which you welcomed a host of shiny new technological gadgets and gizmos into your home.

Whether it’s a virtual reality headset or smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo that listens to you and answers your questions, technology is fast becoming all-pervasive in our lives. Even my seven-year-old got a kids’ smartwatch and used it to ring me at work as I wrote this column!

Such is the speed of change, there’s almost no point trying to predict whether this will be the year when innovations like wearables or ‘smart speakers’ become truly mainstream.

What’s certain is that these things will become commonplace very soon, so it’s vital that travel isn’t left behind – and whether you’re a corporate giant or a sole trader, you must ensure you’re ready for what’s coming.

That’s why the announcement this week from Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises about its new ‘Ocean Medallion’ technology is so significant.

Travel is often accused of not being innovative enough, so it’s a real coup that a top industry exec has been asked to give the first-ever keynote by a holiday firm at the prestigious CES consumer tech show in Las Vegas this week.

Before Christmas, in the same US city, Expedia bosses predicted at its annual partners conference that emerging voice search technology is poised to have as big an impact on the world as the iPhone.

There was a time when predictions of this sort would strike fear into the hearts of Travel Weekly readers. But I think technology is now seen not as a threat but as an opportunity. The trick is to understand how it can improve your business and how your customers will use it.