With the year starting, we thought it would be a good idea to take our time, do some research, talk with clients and discover what 5 technology trends will shape tourism this year.
Tourism is one of the most affected industries by the COVID-19, and that is one of the big reasons why the whole industry will try and bring some innovations to attract more tourists in 2021. Some have already started, and some will be upgrading their services over the year.
But it is not only the industry that will be changing – it is also the habits of tourists. All these measures will affect our decision when choosing destinations and accommodation. That is why businesses that rely on tourism need to prepare and be ready for these changes. So without further ado, let’s jump right into some of the technological advances and trends that will shape the tourism industry this year.
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)
Because of the current situation, millions and millions of workers in tourism are facing the threat of having to close their businesses or getting laid off. For some of them, Virtual Reality is exactly what could save them. VR is becoming more and more important in everyday life. In the last year, we saw a growth in its use since VR allows you to experience far away locations from the comfort of your home.
What problems does VR solve?
If you are a travel agent, and want to showcase the destinations you promote, VR can be of great help. Inspire your customers to travel by showing them the best of the country and creating a simulated experience that will make them want to visit that place in person as well.
If you own a hotel, or rent any type of accommodation, then you should think of VR as a try-before-you-buy method. It should be a way to show your potential customers what they can expect from the location, hype them up and make them want to see it in real life. Great use of VR can be showing a teaser of your accommodation, location, and facilities you offer.
If you work in an airline business, there are already great examples of how others use VR for entertainment in their lounges and on flights. It makes passengers’ wait much more exciting as they can, for example, watch a movie and feel like they are in a theatre.
There are so many different ways VR can be used and we’re sure that its usage will skyrocket in the following years. So our advice would be to hop on this trend while it is still in its early beginnings.
The first time that self check-in became available was at the airport in New Jersey in 1995. Over the years, more and more businesses made self check-in available. However, the true boom is happening right now since it is advisable to avoid direct contact. This not only ensures that people keep distance, but it is often much faster than having a human check every single document or ticket.
If self check-in gains enough steam, in the near future we won’t have to wait in huge lines to get to the airplane or wait to get checked into hotel rooms. Even though it is a bit impersonal, we agree that it is the best way to keep distance and avoid having huge crowds in the same room.
It is also giving your guests a choice. Some would much rather be accommodated by staff, while some like to avoid them. It is also giving them more time in the day to check-in – they can check-in into their apartment at 6 PM, or at 2 AM or any other time if you decide to have that kind of policy. By having self check-in, you will be able to speed up the process, and give more flexibility which tourists always appreciate.
Robots are not a thing of the sci-fi world anymore… and that’s even true for the travel industry. They take many forms – from a chatbot integrated with a website to a real-looking robot that carries your bags to your room. They are constantly improving and who knows what the future awaits for them. In the travel industry, we see a lot of places where robots can be used.
The ones used the most, and that can now be found almost everywhere, are chatbots. They can be a great help for your business. You should think of them as 24/7 workers who can help the people you hired to focus on more important tasks rather than the one that is often repetitive, such as answering the questions all travelers have at some point of their trip. The most popular usage for chatbots is putting them on the company’s website or their Facebook page – and if your business is still not taking advantage of it, what are you waiting for?
By having Chatbots, you create 24/7 customer support, encourage direct bookings, and can tailor the recommendation for your possible customer.
ROBOTS THAT MAKE SOCIAL DISTANCING EASIER
If there has even been a time when it is better to bring physical contact to a minimum, it is now. Investing in more autonomous robots might not be an option for many small businesses yet, however, they can be a great tool to improve your customer satisfaction. From a robot that carries your personal belongings to your room, to a robot concierge or a robot assistant for airports and travel agencies.
Usage of robots can be found inside the rooms as well. Some hotels now have air-conditioning that analyses your body temperature and adjusts the temperature accordingly. With the room, you also get a tablet to adjust whatever you feel like adjusting. This is giving your guests an opportunity to personalize their experience that they will definitely remember, as it will be the thing that sets you apart from the competition.
Augmented Reality (AR)
We covered VR, but we need to mention AR as well. The main difference between the two is that AR doesn’t replace the real-world environment as VR does. It is typically experienced through smartphones or tablets, so it is more accessible to a larger group of people. The simplest way to explain it would probably be to mention that Pokemon GO is an AR game.
Last year, AR became more wide-spread, and we believe it will grow even bigger over the next year.
How can AR help your business?
It is helping and bringing you tourists that don’t understand your language, as smartphones with AR can help them translate everything within your facility and more. It can also help your guests navigate through the city by combining cameras and apps like Google Maps.There is no limit as to where it can be used.
Now that you know what it is, let’s jump right back into it.
The tourism industry collects a huge amount of data, and while its users may vary, it can give them an insight into how they think and what their purchasing habits are. This can make the customer experience so much better once you know what they like or don’t like.
It can be a great tool to maximize your revenue. So by using internal data like occupancy in the past and current booking, and combining it with external data such as information about local events and holidays, you will be able to predict the demand more efficiently and will be able to act accordingly.
Spotting your strengths and weaknesses can also be made easier with big data. Again, by combining the feedback you gained internally and by following the interaction of your customers online, you can easily understand what needs to be improved, and what needs to be kept the same.
Marketing your business to the right customer can also be done with the effective use of big data. Allowing you to deliver more targeted messages to the customer in the right location and at the right time.
If you are interested in a real-life example of its use in tourism, follow this link and find out how the Marriott hotels utilize big data.
So what should you do next?
When you work in a service industry such as tourism, you need to make sure you are delivering the best possible customer experience you can. While you might be able to do that even without including these technological advancements, thinking about including some definitely won’t hurt. And besides, if you came this far in this blog post, it means that you might already be considering it. The future is full of different technologies that will be able to make our jobs easier so we can all focus on more important things such as how we can maximize the revenue.
And while the times are hard now for the travel industry, we need to remind ourselves that better times are coming, and with that in mind, we need to consider how to improve the business and take it to the next level.
If you want to find out about design trends in 2021, we prepared this blog for you.
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