Businesses in travel are continuously working to improve the way they interact with customers, and I am excited by the adoption of new technology that helps them do this as well as improving the way they operate. Travel companies now engage with customers at every stage of their journey and this is indeed a major change for the good.
That said, there is no substitute for human interaction. This is essential, especially in travel where good experiences count. I want to be made special when I plan and book my holiday. I want someone to reassure me and be available should I need them, I want information and I want that extra special service when I get to my destination. This is the experience, and customer experience must always be on the front of travel and tourism companies’ minds when investing in technology.
Businesses now are investing heavily in new tech that’s designed to improve the customer experience. As we head into 2020, if you haven’t thought about it, now is the time to start. I mean seriously start. The big five to watch out for next year are as follows:
The technology itself includes finger print recognition, facial recognition, retina scanning and various other biometric identifiers.
This is already being used in some hotels to allow access to rooms or for semi-contactless check-outs. In the future, this technology will enable customers to pay for meals in the hotel restaurant simply by walking through the exit.
This has been around for a few years now but it’s one of the most promising trends for the travel industry. It allows them to digitally transport customers to a virtual recreation of a specific place. Hotels can showcase their rooms, reception areas and even local tourist hotspots on their website. Other examples will include interactive virtual maps tours to present your hotel.
OK, so it’s similar to virtual reality, but it involves augmenting a person’s real surroundings, not just replacing them. It is cheaper than VR and users need just a smartphone or tablet with access to the internet.
The tourism industry can greatly enhance the customer experience, provide valuable information or even entertainment. Details about local destinations can be displayed as a customer points their smartphone at them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I don’t mean robots at the check-in desks. AI is being used in other ways too with more travel businesses using chatbots to deliver rapid response times to problems or queries. It is also able to learn from interactions with customers.
Hotels and other companies operating in the tourism industry can use AI to accurately and continuously sort through data, drawing conclusions about trends associated with customer satisfaction, helping with marketing decisions and even intelligently manage inventories.
Big data is a fact of life, you cannot escape it and almost every successful company employs their own data collection techniques. Travel companies use the information they gather to make specific adjustments to their offerings and analyse current business performance and past trends that help manage revenue. When you can predict demand, your pricing and promotional strategy can also be optimised.