Travel Meets Technology – The Mobility Revolution
The tourism industry is booming, to the point where in 2017 it was worth an astonishing $8.27 trillion USD worldwide. Tour companies, hotel and accommodation companies, airline companies, and more have found their stride in this global world, but as with any influx, companies need to adapt accordingly. Using the right technology is essential to give yourself a leg up and to provide exceptional customer service. If you need to take out a cash advance or get business loans to cover this new tech, do it. Your business will thrive and become more efficient than ever.
1. The Potential of the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things has huge potential. In essence, it refers to the connected devices that we all share. It’s potential lies in how a customer’s phone can be used to enhance their own personal experience. In the travel and tourism industry, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to:
- Allow customers control of their hotel room’s features through their phone
- Improve the travel experience
- Offer updates and location-specific tips based on their location
- Allow energy savings
- Allow you to know when there is an issue instantly
For example, let’s follow a guest. With the IoT, you will be able to connect with your guest from the moment they land. If you are a full-service hotel, you can send them text notifications of where their driver will be. Once they check in, they will be able to use their device to control the lighting, temperature, and extra features in your hotel. When they leave, temperature, lights, and the television alike can all automatically turn off and save you money. When they are out and about, they can accept location specific tips and advice to enhance their walking tours, and so on.
The IoT potential is vast. By 2020, it is estimated by HIS that there will be 30.7 billion connected devices. The industry itself is already huge, with IDC estimating its worth will reach $1.29 trillion by 2020.
2. Biometric Technology
Make the traveler’s experience seamless with biometric technology. A great example of how this can be put into effect includes fingerprint recognition to unlock hotel doors. You will be able to reduce the amount of lost hotel room keys (in the event a guest does not consent to using their fingerprint) and improve the experience for your guests.
3. The Potential of VR and AR
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are growing, with their combined device market alone worth $1.8 billion. Some useful applications of this tech in the travel and tourism industry include:
For Disabled Persons
Tap into a relatively new market by creating VR and AR experiences for your disabled guests. This way they can enjoy parts of the tour that they may not be able to reach physically. By adding this, you can easily attract those who have a variety of disabilities and their families while still offering traditional tours and amenities to the rest of your guests.
The initial investment of great VR or AR technologies will likely require you to take out a commercial loan, but marketed and used correctly can bring in a massive influx of guests.
With VR and/or AR you will be able to:
- Offer guests real-views of your rooms and common areas
- Give them a unique advertising experience for tours
- Provide them with augmented walking tours to enhance their experience
4. The Future of Robotic Help
Robots are very prevalent in some countries, like Japan. They can be used to monitor for issues, can be used to seamlessly clean rooms, and so on. These robots can be incredibly expensive, so it is best only to use them if they provide you with an actual competitive edge over your competition.
5. The Reality of AI and Machine Learning
A more accessible and immediately valuable tool is AI or machine learning. At the moment, AI and machine learning are one and the same. Benefits of AI for the travel and tourism industry include:
For Customer Service
AI can offer:
- An AI chatbot used to improve customer service and provide 24/7 support
- Personalization in marketing and services
For Reporting and Automating Tasks
AI can also help improve your business from the back end of operations. Some examples of how it can help include:
- Automate several admin tasks
- Generate reports to improve efficiency
- Offer suggestions for improvements
6. Big Data
When it comes to successfully implementing AI into both customer service and your own operations, you will need to use Big Data. Big Data is a new concept, available mostly due to the sheer amount of information available digitally today.
Big Data and AI combined can be used to extract trends before the human eye can spot them. There is a lot that can be learned from sheer data, but the human mind cannot process this data on its own. With Big Data and AI technology, you will be able to glean important information and use it to improve your marketing and services.
With Big Data and AI, you will be able to collect information (with their permission and knowledge) and use it to provide personalization. For example, if a guest that has stayed with you has requested a specific room type, is staying with children, or used certain tours, you will be able to automatically offer a custom deal to them in the future that is suited to their family and interests.
Big Data and AI will also help by improving the efficiency in your company. AI alone can do things like sending automated refill requests when your linens are low, but Big Data can be used to determine what the ideal number of linens is per year to save for bulk purchases. Airlines use Big Data to estimate the number of seats it can overbook, for example, to maximize profits.
The world is going to use these technologies to improve itself. By adding any of the technologies to your travel and tourism company, you can improve efficiency, marketing, and customer service.
Ian is a student of Business at the Honors College at the University of Alabama.
Contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
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