New technologies streamlining the customer experience

Technological innovations are streamlining processes in nearly all industries, and tourism is not an exception to this trend. The main technologies affecting the tourism industry are the following:

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. AI is progressively being integrated within the tourism industry processes, namely to help in personalizing the experience of finding and booking tours and related services. Further, it is also useful for identifying likely needs of customers and fine-tuning the environment in order to meet their preferences and requirements in certain businesses such as smart hotels. AI can also help for self-driving vehicles and virtual guides for travelers. According to booking.com 46% of global travelers state that they will use an app that facilitates exploring and booking activities in real time, and 44% say they plan to use an app that lets them pre-plan activities, so to have the answers in one place. This will give rise to AI apps offering suggestions about places to visit, things to do and places to stay based on the information gathered about your past trips, stated preferences and key contextual factors such as weather conditions and popularity.

Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the tourism industry in the article “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Travel Industry”.

RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY. This technology is progressively being introduced within the travelers’ experience, namely for frequent travelers in the automatic gates of some borders where the devices can read both the Passport or ID card and the traveler’s face through facial recognition technology in order to check that they match. Further voice recognition technology is becoming popular as a control method in smart hotel rooms.

Find more detailed information about recognition technology in the tourism industry in the articles “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Tourism Industry?” and “4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry”.

INTERNET OF THINGS. IoT devices are connected to each other and can be controlled through the internet. This includes heating system, air conditioning, entertainment systems, etc. As with the explained other technologies, this affects the customer experience namely in smart hotel rooms, where not only these devices but also bookings and other services can be controlled through a mobile app. For instance, in the case of tourist apartments, it is possible to open the apartment door remotely through an app, without the receptionist having to wait until late if the clients check-in beyond the normal schedule. This is therefore useful for both the hospitality business manager and the client, so long as it is convenient to control remotely many devices and services that are key to the customer experience.

Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the tourism industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Tourism Industry”.

VIRTUAL REALITY. Virtual reality has already been present in the tourism and entertainment industry since many years, but its presence is expected to increase. Some applications involve some physical elements like movable seats or controllers – namely in amusement parks – whereas other just recreate atmospheres and environments from old ages, or archeological sites that are too fragile to be visited by tourists.

Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry”.

AUGMENTED REALITY. As explained in previous articles, AR is also integrating within the tourism experiences, showing information about the sites being visited through mobile apps. This may consist of restaurant menus or specialities, events taking place in venues, historical details about sites, etc. More commonly, museums use AR to let visitors view some of the exposed objects as they once were as a virtual overlay. Another common use of AR are virtual maps showing virtual signage over the real images taken by the smartphone camera.

Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry”.

PERSONALIZATION THROUGH DATA. Thanks to big data, businesses know more about consumers than ever before, namely about their habits, interests, and preferences. And they use this knowledge to offer us what they think we are more likely to be interested in, developing a micro-marketing strategy that identifies correspondence between consumers and market segments or niches and tailors communications and deals in accordance with the interests of the target segments. As a result of this we are very likely to receive information about deals closely related to our recent online searches and purchases. In our travel experience, this helps information and service providers offer us the kind of information and deals we are more likely to be interested in, thus enhancing the overall experience.

CYBERWORLDS. Beyond the mentioned VR and AR, Cyberworlds provide a new medium blending technology with immersive experiences that appeal especially to Generation Z (aged 10-24). Some examples such as the Museum of Ice Cream in NYC and San Francisco, Candytopia, the Future of Sports and the Museum of Selfies illustrate quite well what Cyberworlds are all about. Further, Rough Guides is about to publish a guide book to Virtual Worlds, to promote the so-called “Gaming tourism”, consisting of visitors playing to explore or exploring the destination through games, instead of playing to win.

ROBOTS, CHATBOTS AND AUTOMATION. Some hotel chains are starting to introduce robots to carry out some customer service duties, namely in the reception or food & beverage services, as it is regarded to be not only cost-effective but also to provide the customer with a cutting edge experience, among other advantages. Apart from robots, many travelers tend to book their trips and related services with the support of internet chatbots with tailored AI which is able to handle queries and provide customers with the needed information, at least when human operators are not available. This is certainly a cost-effective solution, although many customers tend to dislike it.

Find more detailed information about how to use robots in the tourism industry in the article “Robots in the Tourism Industry: 8 Real-World Examples”.

BIOMETRICS AND BIOHACKING. In the future we will be changing ID documents and travel cards for hyper-efficient biometric check-in devices installed not only in airports but also in many other locations. Literally using our body as the only way to identify ourselves in border transit controls and check-in processes is to make our experience much more efficient and satisfactory, avoiding the hassle of bringing such ID and travel cards, not to say the risk of losing them. We have already witnessed the iPhoneX bringing facial recognition to the mainstream in 2017, and Mastercard introducing fingerprint and selfie payments in 2019. Apart from the cash-free alternatives explained in a previous article of this series, these technologies are to increase the security standards and progressively eliminate the use of paper in the industry. At present, 77% of airports are researching or planning to integrate biometrics by 2021, and 84% of airlines are planning to increase their budget for AI programs by 2021.

Sources: www.bigeventstravel.com, www.booking.com, www.refvine.com, Globetrender

experience

Technological innovations are streamlining processes in nearly all industries, and tourism is not an exception to this trend. The main technologies affecting the tourism industry are the following:

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. AI is progressively being integrated within the tourism industry processes, namely to help in personalizing the experience of finding and booking tours and related services. Further, it is also useful for identifying likely needs of customers and fine-tuning the environment in order to meet their preferences and requirements in certain businesses such as smart hotels. AI can also help for self-driving vehicles and virtual guides for travelers. According to booking.com 46% of global travelers state that they will use an app that facilitates exploring and booking activities in real time, and 44% say they plan to use an app that lets them pre-plan activities, so to have the answers in one place. This will give rise to AI apps offering suggestions about places to visit, things to do and places to stay based on the information gathered about your past trips, stated preferences and key contextual factors such as weather conditions and popularity.

Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the tourism industry in the article “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Travel Industry”.

RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY. This technology is progressively being introduced within the travelers’ experience, namely for frequent travelers in the automatic gates of some borders where the devices can read both the Passport or ID card and the traveler’s face through facial recognition technology in order to check that they match. Further voice recognition technology is becoming popular as a control method in smart hotel rooms.

Find more detailed information about recognition technology in the tourism industry in the articles “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Tourism Industry?” and “4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry”.

INTERNET OF THINGS. IoT devices are connected to each other and can be controlled through the internet. This includes heating system, air conditioning, entertainment systems, etc. As with the explained other technologies, this affects the customer experience namely in smart hotel rooms, where not only these devices but also bookings and other services can be controlled through a mobile app. For instance, in the case of tourist apartments, it is possible to open the apartment door remotely through an app, without the receptionist having to wait until late if the clients check-in beyond the normal schedule. This is therefore useful for both the hospitality business manager and the client, so long as it is convenient to control remotely many devices and services that are key to the customer experience.

Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the tourism industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Tourism Industry”.

VIRTUAL REALITY. Virtual reality has already been present in the tourism and entertainment industry since many years, but its presence is expected to increase. Some applications involve some physical elements like movable seats or controllers – namely in amusement parks – whereas other just recreate atmospheres and environments from old ages, or archeological sites that are too fragile to be visited by tourists.

Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry”.

AUGMENTED REALITY. As explained in previous articles, AR is also integrating within the tourism experiences, showing information about the sites being visited through mobile apps. This may consist of restaurant menus or specialities, events taking place in venues, historical details about sites, etc. More commonly, museums use AR to let visitors view some of the exposed objects as they once were as a virtual overlay. Another common use of AR are virtual maps showing virtual signage over the real images taken by the smartphone camera.

Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry”.

PERSONALIZATION THROUGH DATA. Thanks to big data, businesses know more about consumers than ever before, namely about their habits, interests, and preferences. And they use this knowledge to offer us what they think we are more likely to be interested in, developing a micro-marketing strategy that identifies correspondence between consumers and market segments or niches and tailors communications and deals in accordance with the interests of the target segments. As a result of this we are very likely to receive information about deals closely related to our recent online searches and purchases. In our travel experience, this helps information and service providers offer us the kind of information and deals we are more likely to be interested in, thus enhancing the overall experience.

CYBERWORLDS. Beyond the mentioned VR and AR, Cyberworlds provide a new medium blending technology with immersive experiences that appeal especially to Generation Z (aged 10-24). Some examples such as the Museum of Ice Cream in NYC and San Francisco, Candytopia, the Future of Sports and the Museum of Selfies illustrate quite well what Cyberworlds are all about. Further, Rough Guides is about to publish a guide book to Virtual Worlds, to promote the so-called “Gaming tourism”, consisting of visitors playing to explore or exploring the destination through games, instead of playing to win.

ROBOTS, CHATBOTS AND AUTOMATION. Some hotel chains are starting to introduce robots to carry out some customer service duties, namely in the reception or food & beverage services, as it is regarded to be not only cost-effective but also to provide the customer with a cutting edge experience, among other advantages. Apart from robots, many travelers tend to book their trips and related services with the support of internet chatbots with tailored AI which is able to handle queries and provide customers with the needed information, at least when human operators are not available. This is certainly a cost-effective solution, although many customers tend to dislike it.

Find more detailed information about how to use robots in the tourism industry in the article “Robots in the Tourism Industry: 8 Real-World Examples”.

BIOMETRICS AND BIOHACKING. In the future we will be changing ID documents and travel cards for hyper-efficient biometric check-in devices installed not only in airports but also in many other locations. Literally using our body as the only way to identify ourselves in border transit controls and check-in processes is to make our experience much more efficient and satisfactory, avoiding the hassle of bringing such ID and travel cards, not to say the risk of losing them. We have already witnessed the iPhoneX bringing facial recognition to the mainstream in 2017, and Mastercard introducing fingerprint and selfie payments in 2019. Apart from the cash-free alternatives explained in a previous article of this series, these technologies are to increase the security standards and progressively eliminate the use of paper in the industry. At present, 77% of airports are researching or planning to integrate biometrics by 2021, and 84% of airlines are planning to increase their budget for AI programs by 2021.

Sources: www.bigeventstravel.com, www.booking.com, www.refvine.com, Globetrender

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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