How amazing was it when web check-ins were introduced? Check-in on your way to the airport, and totally skip those long lines at the counter. It was truly a game changer. Over the past few decades, technology has played a major role in improving and enhancing customer experiences across industries, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the travel & hospitality industry.
Here we take a look at some of the most innovative ways in which technology is constantly transforming this sector and making life easier for customers as well as businesses and service providers.
Voice Control & Voice Search
The sharp increase in the use of smart speakers, smartphones, and AI assistants has greatly increased the role of voice search in the travel & hospitality industry. Every day, more and more travel customers are using the voice search feature to find and book airline tickets, hotel rooms, vacation packages, and other travel experiences. This has resulted in businesses designing their websites and apps with voice search in mind to help them capitalize on this trend.
Voice control is also playing a major role in actual travel experiences. Voice-controlled devices can be used to control lighting, heating, and other features within hotel rooms, or to simply obtain any required information without the need to speak to the staff.
Translation apps are also a huge help for people when they travel to a country whose local language they don’t speak.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While AI has been around for a while now, it still has a long way to go in terms of its potential to ease our daily lives. Its most prominent use in the travel & hospitality industry has been in the field of customer service. Hotels are using automated chatbots as a new way to interact with their guests digitally, which allows their staff to devote time to other tasks. This also greatly enhances the overall travel experience as it eliminates language differences, enabling clear communication with travelers from anywhere in the world.
Even just around 5 years ago, people were often put off by the prospect of interacting with software rather than an actual human, but all that is quickly changing. As AI becomes smarter and more customizable, it is set to easily outperform its human counterparts as well.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Hailed as a “major transformative factor in the personalization of the customer experience over the next few years”, one of the most exciting & innovative emerging technology trends in the travel & hospitality industry is the Internet of Things (IoT), which involves internet-based inter-connectivity between everyday devices, allowing them to both send and receive data.
While this is literally cutting-edge technology that is still in its early stages, it is already being used in several ways. For example, hotel guests are given an app that allows them to remotely interact with the room’s thermostat or control the television in the room. Another application is the use of smart suitcases which have devices that allow users to track where their suitcase is at any time, using their smartphones, to avoid the hassle of lost baggage at the airport or at other public places.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality differs slightly from virtual reality, in that it involves augmenting a person’s actual surroundings, rather than actually altering them. One of the major advantages of this technology trend is that it is cheaper than VR, where users require only a smartphone or tablet with access to the internet.
Through stunning graphic overlays, businesses in the tourism & hospitality industry can greatly enhance customer experience, providing them with valuable information or even just pure entertainment. For example, apps can allow for photographs and videos to be augmented with filters and special effects. Details about local destinations and hotspots can be displayed on the device when a customer points their smartphone at them, providing necessary information at the exact time that it is most required and relevant.
As with some other technologies in the list, Big Data has been in use for a while now, but its abilities and functionalities are growing every day. For example, businesses analyze their database to look at factors such as the amount spent, the nature of the trip, the country of origin, and cross-reference all this information with public data sources to create the most appropriate customer profile, which allows them to achieve a higher success rate in their marketing campaigns.
Small but precise tweaks in information can make the difference between a guest thinking that all hotels or airlines are largely the same, to one or two names standing out and creating a lasting impression on a potential customer. Similarly, one property can be perceived as the preferred place to stay, which in turn leads to it being recommended to others.
The travel & hospitality industry is an interesting and exciting space for digital innovation, with tremendous scope for constantly evolving technology solutions, thanks to the sheer number of variables that factor into it.
At Web Synergies, we specialize in designing customized, value-rich digital solutions for clients across various industries and regions, depending on their unique needs and preferences. Our team of technology experts are trained and experienced in taking the customer-centric approach when it comes to creating cutting-edge technology solutions.