Why should travel and hospitality companies adopt what consumers like?
Latest technology trends in the travel industry to watch out for
We cannot emphasize more that there is no way forward than businesses acting, thinking, and feeling like their consumers. What does this mean and how do we translate this concept in business?
To put it in simple words, it means that business need to embrace what consumers want. From a technology perspective, they need to adopt what their consumers are using. Hence, to be at the forefront of business, consumer first is the mantra!
So, we can clearly make a statement here that, now just adopting technology is not enough, the new success recipe is adopting “consumer technology”. The main idea is to realize that the current expectations gap between consumer and business technology needs to be virtually non-existent. And enterprises need to work in this direction. In fact, modern and forward looking hospitality and travel organizations are catching up fast with this new idea.
Continuous testing and experimenting is the need of the hour. Furthermore, implementing a successful experiment is the trick to stay relevant for today’s well learned consumer. Each experiment costs not just time & resources, but also opportunity costs, still businesses always need to stay updated about current trends within the consumer circle and should start adopting them.
We all must fully imbibe the latest consumer technology trends in our daily operations, not just for effectively attending to our guests, but also to surprise and delight them to convert our loyal guests into advocates. This is what would constitute a long term approach for revenue maximization.
Fortunately, we are living in an electrifying period. Every move is noticed and every small move generates long lasting impressions in the minds of consumers. So, here in this article, I am sharing some most innovative ideas about the use of technology in travel and hospitality.
- Robots everywhere: Robots are fast becoming a bellwether no doubt about that! However, there are two categories of bots in business: buddy bots and chore bots. The buddy bots are quite exciting and amusing, and their acceptability among guests has advanced quickly over the past few years. Hospitality industry, particularly is using these buddy bots for things like greeting guests on the main door when they enter and while they check-in in the hotel, assist them with luggage, help them with room features, etc. Even for taking pictures of an event or function in the hotel. You will never want someone’s home videos to look better than your property marketing videos. Right? So, no more excuses — the guests have sophisticated equipment, so you have to step it up too. Primarily, these robots are employed to entertain and act as an additional character in your hotel. Whereas the task-based bots are primarily used for chores like room service in hotels, to check on Wi-Fi signals and other technical issues like water leakage, etc., and to assist staff in their daily chores. These robots are planted for a set duty & purpose. The task these robots perform are few fixed functions, usually routine tasks that frees up human staff for more value adding activities, say asking a guest for their feedback rather than delivering toiletries in the room.
Though it is still quite a dive to envisage robots everywhere, especially in hospitality, where human touch is as important. However, as robotic technology evolves and empower them to do more than just a routine set of tasks, this investment will fetch far better results in travel and hospitality also.
- From smart phones to smart luggage: Wow! The new smart luggage follows its owner. It is equipped with sensors and know where it’s possessor is at all times. It just follows along with its owner, like a little responsive travel storage companion. Travel and hospitality industry are getting bullish on this type of technology to cater to the more personal and often unstated desires of the customers. For travel, Smartwatches or wearable devices acting as a mini screen, performing functions such as boarding pass reminders, get updates, reservation information, QR codes, and all of the pertinent information that fuel’s a traveler’s trip, for example, Lufthansa bag tracker, is making flying with luggage quicker, extra laidback and more protected.
- Smart Homes to Smart Rooms: Tech Savvy consumers are progressively accustomed to connected home technologies. When these same consumers are hotel guests this expectation expands to hotel rooms also. They want a similar experience like room automation systems in their hotel rooms. Hotels are now left with no choice but to upgrade themselves if they want to cater to this kind of guest profile.
- Voice Assistants: Another example is Voice Activated Devices. Hotels need to step-up in this domain also. According to the recent research done by Forbes, voice search is one of the top most travel trends of 2018. With people swiftly adapting to this innovative technology, this might turn out to be a gigantic money maker for the companies in the travel industries. Not very far in the future, guests will be asking for voice-activated services for ordering room service, by talking to Alexa, Google or Siri, etc. So, do not forget to contemplate these trends when planning your next hotel technology upgrade. I am sure you will not like to be left behind and disappoint the very guest you serve.
- Virtual Reality will rock: There are some great opportunities for VR in travel & hospitality. Nothing can match it for giving your guests a sense of what a trip, hotel or experience would be like. Media Influencers such as lifestyle and travel bloggers and vloggers with massive following are being roped in to promote hotels, resorts or hospitality services. These influencers help distribute the marketing content online and also magnify the brand influence.
Dubai tourism recently partnered with a few youtubers to document their experience and share it on their social media channels highlighting the “must-visit” places and also do’s and don’ts. Instagram pages like Beautiful Destinations with 1+ million followers feature breathtaking pictures of exotic places, and luxurious hotels.
A staggering 74% of travelers got their travelling ideas from social media. Another report from Consumer Technology Association’s 2018 trends showed that 63% of consumers were willing to use virtual reality to explore holiday destinations to make a decision. That’s a news for the industry to adopt is at the earliest!
- Retail & Internet of Things: AI, Robots and Internet of Things all are coming together to bring a more personalized experience for consumers. Things like facial detection at the hotel door and autonomous taxi will definitely delight consumers and save them from the dreaded question “have you stayed with us earlier”. Even at airports, using this kind of technology, privileged guests will be able to enjoy exclusive perks and discounts. We have already experienced biometrics-in-motion making an entry into a boarding pass, eliminating the need to pull out your phone or Id at the gate.
- Mobility is the new future: Travel is all about movement, and the industry must reflect how mobility plays an important role into its core value proposition. Autonomous cars, helicopters, and small inexpensive airplanes are a threat to the airline and car rental business. A threat serious enough to affect business model shifts, such as low-cost carriers, drastically shifting airline economics. The way consumers are using Alexa, Siri etc. show that ultimately technology-driven car brands could exercise a strong loyalty and preference over the consumer’s choice. Car rentals, tour operators, airports, and hotels, will soon have mobility solutions with small digital footprints and an oomph factor that can help travelers get around all kinds of places.
- AI will replace everything: Artificial intelligence will be behind everything. Rather than just be limited to functioning of robots. AI is and will in future also bring larger and bigger impact than ever before. Let’s not ignore that with its machine learning competencies, the intelligence keeps improving over time.
For travel companies and hotels, AI leads to better data understanding, especially for business & operational decisions like pricing, distribution and staffing, etc. For airlines, it will bring efficient maintenance scheduling and preventative warnings which will significantly reduce maintenance-related disruptions. Similarly, for airports, this will bring in efficiency in human staff management like more automated ground crews, less collisions on the ground, and a more sound ground operation resulting in smoother operations.
AI will happily do the things for us that we find boring and mundane, even chores that are too complex or dangerous for humans. AI will certainly augment the quality of life across all areas. Though this is debatable, some jobs will be lost, certainly a new class of jobs will be created, not to forget it will offer plenty of opportunities where employees will be freed up to take care of customers more considerately.
With these technological advancements and trends, we are bound to be one step closer to our tech savvy and always on the go consumers.
Like all things tech, for debate sake: Is this a future we want, and are we going to let the technology run us — or are we going to deploy it smartly to improve life? The decision will lie with us.
This post was authored by Apurva Chamaria. If you want to sponsor or contribute an article please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Revenue Officer, RateGain