Travel And Hospitality Technology Trends

Hoteliers and travel people at various organizations invariably would have different priorities and requirements in terms of management systems buying considerations. There are several expectations that the travel and hospitality industry across the board have in common. The expectations center, first of all on the need to boost operational efficiencies across all aspects of an organization. As operators aim to finalize 2016 business strategies, it is necessary to determine which technologies would help drive business as well as yield the biggest ROI.

CONSIDERATIONS IN USING TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGIES

Probably the most important consideration is the degree to which core hotel functions could be thoroughly automated or at least streamlined considerably. At a minimum, most hoteliers must expect any software solution or technology under consideration to facilitate housekeeping assignment, control group room block allocations, automate room and tax posting and continued administration of guest messages, wait lists and a whole lot more.

There are a lot of systems that provide concierge modules for storing local destination information, although the internet in general made this irrelevant at the low end and the high end is being served increasingly by point solutions for things such as ticketing for events and dining reservations.

TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE SHAPING THE TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

It is hard to remember the last time one booked a plane ticket with a travel agent. Nevertheless, technology did not stop changing travel with online booking. From drone photography to virtual-reality tours, new technology continues to reshape the way people move around, play and stay when on vacation. Check out some of the trends in the travel and hospitality industry this year and beyond.
  1. Cloud passports
    Australians have access already to biometric passports which store personal information, enabling them to travel without effort to chosen countries and clear immigration fast through a SmartGate. However, the country wants to take it a step further with virtual passports with cloud-stored data. The same as an e-passport, cloud passport contains personal information such as digital photo, biometric data and other identification. It would not only eliminate the need of carrying a physical passport but could also cut down the number of stolen or missing passports.

  2. Mobile first
    This comes as no surprise as people now make travel plans on their mobile phones. Smart phones are driving the industry’s roadmap. Users are increasingly beginning their searches on their mobile phones and finalizing them on the device with a form of mobile payment or on a desktop. Mobile users trend toward ‘spontaneous’ travel and ‘on-demand’ scenarios such as booking a flight a few days out or doing hotel reservation only after arrival at an airport.

  3. Drone photography
    Virtual travel is nothing different from navigating all over the world through Google Maps and Google Earth. With so many drones in the hands of consumers, it is not surprising to start setting them while on vacation. Drones could provide an awesome aerial shot that no regular smart phone or camera could capture. To ensure success, consider getting a palm-sized quad-copter and practice controlling it. This could help navigate the real thing.

  4. Personalized travel
    Big data analytics could help the travel industry to personalize the service for every person. For instance, a hotel could store and analyze the preferences of a frequent guest, whether it is via a website or application and implement them for future stays.

  5. Alternative accommodations
    Hotels are of course not going away, but sharing economy or access companies, like Airbnb are getting to be popular lodging alternatives. So much so that travel websites such as Kayak are integrating them to the search results. There is a growing interest in alternative accommodations.

  6. Virtual reality travel
    The concept of virtual travel is gaining more popularity. VR not only lets armchair travelers explore faraway places, but instill wanderlust to book actual travel as well. It’s not possible to travel without talking to anyone. Virtual tours could help make better travel decisions, not only the feeling of being somewhere else. Virtual travel is not different from navigating the globe with Google Maps and Google Earth, but offers a more immersive experience too.

  7. Virtual travel agent
    Rather than hunting for the best hotel prices and airfare, what if someone did it for you? Hipmunk is a system that automatically finds and provides a list of options through email.

  8. Faster Wi-Fi
    With more people carrying several devices, hotels that stream Netflix and airlines that provide personal device entertainment in lieu of seat-back systems expect to see better, faster Wi-Fi both in the air and on the ground. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hotels that continue to charge for wireless, although some have already provided it for free if one joins their rewards programs.

  9. Automation
    Even though the travel and hospitality industries are about one-one-one guest services, now there are more self-service choices. It is not just about hotels staffed almost entirely by robots. From check-ins to housekeeping requests and check-ins, hotel chains such as Starwood, Marriot and Hilton are creating applications that essentially allow one to stay at a hotel with no need to interact with staff. The same goes for airports and airlines wherein one could even now tag his or her own luggage aside from doing almost anything on the phone, including rebooking. 

Such personalized, tech-driven hotel stays could be more crucial for the hospitality as well as the travel industry in many years to come.

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