The Herman Trend Alert
August 26, 2015
The Travel Technology Revolution
Technology is revolutionizing travel---from booking to getting there to being there. Wise hospitality and travel providers are incorporating leading-edge technologies into every aspect of the passenger/guest/customer process to enhance the customer experience.
Recently, Cision Global Insights (CGI) released a study titled "Integrating Travel Technology Into the Customer Experience". Many of the new technologies require the use of smart- phones and watches.
Information, tickets, and money at hand
Wearable technology is now an option for many. Guests at Disney's theme parks and resorts love their free "MagicBands". These special wrist-worn devices allow guests to open room doors, enter parks, carry their meal plans, and even charge purchases. With more than 70 million US Disney visitors per year, the popularity of MagicBands is encouraging adoption of wearable technology at other travel venues as well.
Road Warriors appreciate saving time
Particularly business travelers like using their smart-phones and watches to navigate their hotel experiences via mobile apps. Imagine the convenience of bypassing front desk key-pickup and going straight to your hotel room, when notified that it is ready. Though Starwood has received the most press, Marriott is close behind in their adoption of this timesaving technology.
iPads offer the Room Service Menu
For a while now, American Airlines' Admirals Club has offered its food-for-purchase menu in selected clubs on iPads. Such in-room amenities including custom iPads had been reserved for top-tier hotel guests, but that is changing. Now, more non-luxury hotels are providing them as well. Hotel chains that offer a tech-savvy experience were highly rated for travel in 2015 by the American Automobile Association (AAA), which publishes an annual list of top-rated hotels and restaurants.
Other key study findings
According to the SOSTA 2014 Holiday Travel Behavior Study, 34 percent of respondents booked travel through a website, versus 13 percent using a mobile app. However, mobile travel apps are used more often during travel than when booking, e.g., travelers like using their smartphones as boarding passes---and the technology is improving all the time. Moreover, business and leisure travelers expect Wi-Fi to be available in transit, and they speak up on social media when Wi-Fi is slow or expensive. In fact, according to TripAdvisor.com's Trip Barometer in March 2015, 74 percent of travelers identified in-room Wi-Fi as influential in their decision process.
What this means for the industry
Travelers, especially in the younger generations, are looking for these technological experiences. Hospitality and travel service providers that do not deliver these and other leading edge technologies will sadly find themselves with lower occupancy rates/load levels and, of course, lower profitability.
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