Tourists and travelers expect more than ever before today. After getting shaken up by the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality industry operations are scrambling to incorporate the newest technologies and invest in the latest trends, so they can appeal to their customer base and continue thriving in an economically uncertain environment.
Are you aware of the latest technology trends that hospitality industry businesses should be following? Which trends have the potential to reach your target audience and boost your revenue?
The Biggest Technology Trends
These are some of the most crucial technology trends and new requirements in the hospitality industry:
- Data at the heart of everything. Big data lies at the center of pretty much everything. Hospitality industry firms are making more concentrated efforts to gather as much data on their customers as possible: tracking their every move at every stage of the journey. That’s because data is your only reliable, objective asset for determining the desires and needs of your customers. The more data you have, and the better you understand and utilize it, the more effective you’ll be at developing new products, marketing your business, providing customer service, and all the rest of it.
- Gamification. Gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to products, services, or processes that have already existed. It’s a way to make the target much more interactive and engaging, and sometimes even more fun for the users who interact with it. For example, the European airline Lufthansa recently unveiled its Lufthansa Surprise, an interactive game-like experience that provides travelers with personalized recommendations on where they should go. After submitting responses to a handful of questions, users get the “surprise” of a new destination they ought to visit because it might well appeal to them.
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Travel and tourism rely on people leaving their home and going somewhere, but that hasn’t prevented the hospitality industry from incorporating elements of virtual reality and augmented reality into their services. VR and AR experiences give people a taste of what they might experience in real life, by giving them a realistic and immersive sneak preview of their potential wanderings to come.
- Personalization (and personalized video). People are tired of mass-marketed, generic messages, which is why more hospitality firms are focusing on personalization. For example, with Viewed, hospitality industry businesses can create personalized videos for their customers, relying on existing data to create the perfect interactive material for a single individual. This, combined with embedded video in email, can help you recover abandoned reservation carts, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately make a better impression with a broader array of people.
- Contactless tech at every step. Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more concerned about hygiene and cleanliness than in the past. That’s one reason so many businesses are now incorporating contactless tech at every step of the travel experience. Customers feel more comfortable and safe when they don’t have to touch surfaces and appliances in heavily trafficked areas.
- Chatbots and automated concierges. Automation saves time and money, and usually makes things quicker and more convenient for customers. More hospitality businesses are incorporating chatbots and automated concierges for those reasons. After the initial hurdle of setting these up, you may begin to benefit from their deployment.
- In-room smart-home technology (and IoT). Most of us are familiar with smart-home technology, which employs the Internet of Things (IoT) to make our lives simpler and give us more control over our environments. To capture these benefits in a hospitality environment, more hotels and tourism businesses are incorporating in-room IoT for guests.
- Hyper-localization. Hospitality businesses are getting more personal – and that also means getting more local. Thanks to location tracking, businesses can offer customers more specific recommendations, guidelines, and directions based on their current location – even as they travel throughout the city. Highly localized marketing and advertising are more relevant to audiences in the moment, and therefore more satisfying.
Staying Up to Date
Dynamics in the hospitality industry are constantly evolving. If you want your business to remain competitive, it’s crucial for your operations to evolve as well.
How can you stay up to date and informed about all the latest developments? And how can you get – or maintain – an edge over your competition?
These are some of the best strategies:
- Subscribe to influential industry publications. Look for hospitality publications that focus on hospitality-specific news, such as the latest global metrics on the hotel and restaurant industries and close looks at upcoming technologies (such as Hospitality Net or Lodging Magazine). Read these publications regularly for the latest information.
- Watch your competitors. Keep a close eye on your current competitors. Don’t overlook them when they unveil a new technology or a new method of serving customers. Whenever you notice something new that seems to be working, think about whether to adopt it for yourself or how to one-up the competition with something even better.
- Practice your own innovations. Don’t wait for your competitors to roll out new tools and services; practice innovation to create new technologies and new means of service on your own. It’s all right if some of these don’t work the way you intended; as long as you’re willing to scrap the ideas that don’t produce and maintain the ones that do, you’ll optimize your business for better performance.
- Ask your customers what they want to see. It’s easy to fall into guesswork about what your customers crave, and rely on intuition and customer familiarity as your guides. But you’ll obtain more reliable and measurable results if you ask customers what they want directly. Use surveys and interviews to capture the information and use it to fuel your next strategic moves.
- Stay agile. Always keep your business as flexible and adaptable as possible. If you’re willing to change and evolve with the times, you’re more apt to stay in a better competitive position.
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