I traveled to Shanghai after a long time. This trip was quite different from my last one. The innovations in Hospitality and Tourism industry left me with an experience I will savor for years. It is likely to be replaced by something even better in times to come as innovation has become the byword for the industry.
In 2014 there were 1.1 billion global travelers. The number of tourists traveling nationally as well as internationally is increasing each year. As the Hospitality and Tourism industry is growing so is its concentration on the comfort of the guests.
Research conducted on the demands and psychology of guests has brought in several new trends. However these innovations have to be introduced keeping in mind the target segment. Some consumers want benefit from new innovations. Others look for social uniqueness or novelty. A few would be moved by a greener environment and still others by pure entertainment never experienced before.
Thus, there are many innovations at different levels of the industry that Hospitality and Tourism is introducing to pull in more and more tourists.
Technology is being used to offer a seamless experience to the guests. Phone-as-key-cards, mobile self-check-in and kiosks for self check-in do away with the formalities and wait of check in and check out on front desk.
Technology has been used for many other innovations. Virtual flight assistants seen in Dubai International airport, robots in many hotels of Japan, augmented reality tours in places of tourist interests like the Museum of London are all means to improve the travel experience of the tourists.
New Ways of Enquiry and Booking:
Hospitality and Tourism industry has witnessed much change in ways of enquiry and booking. Guidebooks are outdated. Information from websites and crowd sourcing is the in thing. Peek and AnyRoad are some apps meant for this purpose.
Bookings can be made online and there are also apps like Hotel Tonight for the same. It enables the users to find inexpensive hotel rooms even at the last minute. Facilities are available in around 17 nations of the world, approximately 250 destinations and expanding each day.
For the peace of mind of the travelers, smart luggage is being designed. A suitcase invented by Bluesmart allows you to track your luggage using an app in your smart phone. Some airports in the world like that of Las Vegas McCarran Terminal 3 have begun to attach a radio frequency chip for identification on suitcases so that the luggage does not get misplaced.
These range from availability of Wi-Fi and charging facility in the plane to boarding passes on phone and automated check in and clearance. Smart watch boarding passes are also one of the new innovations in Iberia. However, it is the blend of human and technology that is the ideal norm in Hospitality and Tourism industry.
A new trend is the concept of sharing. Renting out spare rooms or unoccupied homes to those traveling constitutes the basis. Airbnb responsible for this innovation has a value of approximately 25 billion dollars, has catered to around 30 million guests but does not own a single hotel. This makes easy and cheaper accommodation available for many who have the wanderlust but not the money. Many others are also trying to cash on this trend in Hospitality and Tourism industry.
Emphasis is on using and sharing. Visitors want to click snaps and share on social media. This has been used for marketing. ‘Snap your Stay’ by Hotel Tonight encourages people to click snaps of their stay and share them. They receive credits in return. Schemes like ‘gift a room’ are gaining popularity. Guest images, their tweets and reviews are uploaded for promotions.
Green and Well:
Focus on wellness and health, have brought in innovations like energizing lighting, air purification, and shower water with vitamins. Hotels are providing workout gear in rooms and personal yoga spaces. To conserve energy and create a favorable impression on consumers, some hotels have installed a system of lights and air conditioners switching off automatically as soon as the guests move out of the room.
There are countless such innovations. Ice hotel in Sweden, Antelope Park in Africa are some creative innovations to attract visitors. All these innovations are visible to consumers. There are innovations for customer relationship management and registering customer intelligence details too. These are invisible to the consumers but have changed the Hospitality and Tourism industry by providing a superlative experience to the guests.