Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in the Hospitality and Travel Industry in 2021
Digital transformation has become a fundamental need for businesses to continually thrive in this era of cut-throat competition. Therefore, all the industries are investing heavily to strengthen their digital transformation initiatives. The spending is expected to touch $7.4 trillion over the years 2020 to 2023 as companies build on existing strategies and investments.
Yet, everything only makes sense when one can constantly respond to the ever-changing demands of consumers and deliver unique experiences.
The pricing power is also no more controlled by the revenue managers, it has swiftly shifted to the consumers. Hence, hospitality leaders have no choice but to stay on toes by doing early planning for unexpected downturns.
5 Key factors:
1. Big Data & Cloud Computing
Data is the ace player of today’s digital transformation. Companies capture and store massive amounts of data which could be leveraged to make more informed decisions about customers, competitor scouting, targeted marketing, improved customer experience, and increased revenues.
Personalized UX — Gone are the days when one thing worked for all; this is the avocado generation that is dominating the consumer base in the hospitality industry now. Personalizing packages and offers based on customer preferences has become an easy-peasy task due to the evolution of innovative technologies like big data and cloud computing. Internal data such as past occupancy rates, room revenue and current bookings can be combined with external data such as information about local events, flights and school holidays, in order to accurately predict and anticipate demand. As a result, the prices of the services offered could be altered in a much more efficient way; increasing them during peak season in order to maximise the revenue generated.
2. Mobile Integration –According to stats, the number of smartphone users is projected to reach 2.87 billion by 2020 with more than 3/4 shoppers using mobile devices along with physical shopping. Brands who have realised this are on a roll.
Mobile apps are here to take personalization to a whole new level. They could be used for sending out personalized e-mails & messages to keep consumers engaged and informed about the latest offers and industry trends. One can plan an entire trip — from booking to bedtime and home again — without ever talking to a live human. Personalization is here to stay and is expected to grow four-folds in the near future.
Reputation Management — We are in an age where around 65% of customers will check online reviews before making any booking or purchase; thus, making reputation management one of the most important digital trends of all.
Make your audience feel heard, respond to their reviews on review platforms or apps and acknowledge whenever there’s a genuine complaint. Take stringent actions to address their complaints to avoid similar reviews in the future. Keep your listings on online review platforms up-to-date, include reviews on your own website and see your business booming.
For instance, a branded hotel app allows for two-way communication between guests and the property: guests can access any hotel service and other information whilst the hotel can use the application to get in touch with guests at the right moment, sending important notifications, updates, offers, and alerts.
3. AI & Chatbots — Customer service is the backbone of the hospitality industry, with organisations often living and dying based on the customer experience they provide. AI solutions along with machine learning algorithms can analyse & simplify big data to pinpoint the most accurate estimates across various important industry and risk management metrics, allowing businesses to significantly enhance their decision-making capabilities.
The simplest yet most effective example of how AI is gaining traction in the hospitality industry is the rapidly increasing usage of chatbots, primarily because of its ability to perform traditional human functions 24*7. This helps business owners save significant money, eliminate human error and deliver superior service.
For instance, at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, you can even text a robot named Rose at any time, 24/7, and she’ll find a way to fill your request on the nail.
4. IoT — Technology has become an indispensable part of human lives today and is accessible at all levels to an individual. Customers seek seamless experience shifts between their home, car, airplane, and chosen hospitality amenities. They expect to extract maximum value for what they paid; a demanding target in the age of market disruptors like Airbnb. Therefore, the level of technology adoption at each instance should be more advanced than what customers are already using. Enabled by the combination of IoT and mobile, hotel rooms are already adopting smart features to partially or fully address the expectations of their end customers.
Let’s consider hotels as the case in point; smart rooms, beacons, tablets, daylight-harnessing are some of the best examples of IoT devices that are being used by various top-notch hotels. Beacon: a tiny, designed, location-based sensor is placed anywhere in a hotel or the external environment. Using smartphone’s Bluetooth, hotel guests can easily connect to it and start receiving real-time messages and push-notifications regarding hotel facilities. Beacons provide a profitable way to market, up-sell a variety of services and increase the ROI, while smoothening the hotel guest cycle process.
Example, Fontainebleau Miami uses its beacon data and property management systems to generate early guest check-in and late-stay personalized promotional offers. To ensure this data is secure, hotels also create comprehensive privacy policies and give guests the right to delete the data history while check-out.
5. Virtual Reality — The hospitality and travel market is embracing VR with open arms; the coolest trend in immersive and interactive visualization technology. VR can be used to increase the value of a particular service by providing product differentiation knowledge to its consumers. This involves highlighting the unique characteristics that are valued by the customers. When utilized effectively, product differentiation creates a competitive edge as customers view your product as superior.
In the hotel business, VR can be employed to provide consumers a realistic visualization of rooms and event spaces. For couples, VR provides them the opportunity to view potential ballroom wedding setup, prior to making a major decision of their lifetime. Meanwhile, the technology can also be used to provide virtual experiences of local attractions, or as a means of entertainment within hotels.
Conclusively, the technology trends have a huge impact on the Hospitality and Travel industry which cannot be ignored. The proper implementation of these technologies can help a business grow remarkably and get a competitive edge. These trends ensure an enhanced customer experience, improved brand reputation and increased revenue generation.