The rise of tech-augmented hospitality
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
According to Amadeus’ Drivers of Change in Hospitality report, tech-augmented hospitality will be a major driver of travel trends. This is crucial for the future, as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says there will be a whopping 8.2 billion air travelers worldwide by 2037.
Next-generation hospitality services will need to keep in mind that many travelers are expecting experiential, personalized, and seamless experiences at all steps of their journeys. Hospitality companies need to invest in technology solutions to meet the evolving needs of travelers and hotel guests of the future.
One tech-based service that could play a significant role is attribute-based booking. This is helped by collecting more information on why people are traveling, how they wish to travel, and what they want every day.
For example, hotels who want to innovate to accommodate guests can begin with eliminating traditional room types. Instead, they can use technology to augment the stay and experience with customization and personalization. Technology can allow guests to select rooms based on preferred amenities and configurations and remove the friction from traditional limitations like room type (e.g., single, double, etc.).
Emerging technologies like attribute-based booking and predictive analytics will therefore be imperative in gauging what the guest wants even before they check in. Tech-augmented services that can enable this customization will not only allow guests to book by trip purpose and room features but also open up incremental revenue growth for hotels.
Naturally, there are challenges to be overcome, particularly in the way the hospitality industry thinks about its assets, and how it is aligned with guests’ purpose. Another, and perhaps a bigger challenge, is that hotels need to ensure that they can deliver what they promise.
Changing to the attribute-based model would mean massive changes in the booking paradigm itself. Another challenge is to revisit the concept of loyalty itself. The traditional loyalty system will not be of much interest to the new generation of guests, 75% of whom consider having a unique experience to be essential for their vacation.
Larger hospitality brands have to work with these new technologies to establish a lasting connection with guests. Tech-augmented services can help extrapolate emotionally sensitive data, which will enable the staff to offer better services and amazing experiences, just like a luxury and boutique brand would.
The digital footprint of guests will allow hospitality brands to interpret relevant options for each traveler intelligently. This is true for hotels as well as for other players in the sector like airlines, tour operators, and even car rental agencies.
Going forward, industry experts foresee partnerships with companies like Amazon who have the ability and bandwidth to bring together different experiences and merge them for an individual customer.
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