Travel and a good customer experience go hand in hand.
However, how do you ensure you’re offering the very best and keeping your customers happy time and time again?
1. The Rise of the Smart Space
Hotels are now beginning to realize that guests want to have seamless control of their rooms. Smart Rooms are now becoming more and more common.
These hotel rooms allow the guest to control various functions within the room through smart voice recognition.
With some simple commands settings such as temperature and light levels can be adjusted. It’s all about convenience.
Many consumers have purchased Alexa, Amazon’s voice recognition AI system. Now there is Alexa for Hospitality. It’s already being used by the Marriott Group.
This system uses smart speakers in hotel rooms to allow guests to ask questions, get information and turn other devices in the room on and off.
Some companies even go as far as offering patrons portable power banks, so they can ensure their phones and devices are kept charged no matter where they go.
2. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
Artificial intelligence continues to evolve. What was science fiction is now science fact – computers and machines are now able to mimic human beings and perform many of the tasks that were once hands-on and required direct human intervention.
The result is greater automation and autonomy for machines – and that can have enormous benefits for those involved in the tourism industry.
Chatbots are becoming increasingly common. These artificial intelligence ambassadors can interact with customers no matter the time of day or night. They can take bookings, and provide other valuable customer service-orientated services.
They are especially useful to hotels, airlines, and travel agents. The advantage of chatbots is that they speed up response times – no matter the time of day or night the customer gets the answers they need – and they get them quickly.
3. The advantages of Personalization Marketing
The theory behind Personalization marketing is in essence simple -it is the science of delivering much more targeted marketing and promotional content to the prospect.
Big data means that information on that prospect can be collected and processed incredibly efficiently – and automated digital algorithms can leverage that data to target specific users, depending on their unique interests and their browsing habits.
It is in essence demographic analysis on steroids. The result is that promotional content is tailor-made for the individual. Within the travel industry, this can make the difference between successful marketing and a so-so result.
For example, the user may have looked at a particular accommodation option, say a hotel website. They will then see an advert for that specific hotel on social media feeds.
It can also mean that targeting can take place depending on demographic information such as geographical location.
A cab company may target those using a specific airport or within certain geographical boundaries.
4. The Promise of VR
The evolution of virtual reality has occurred at breakneck speed. It is now possible to purchase an exceptional VR headset over the counter for use with a computer or gaming console.
The fact that VR is now mainstream presents those in the travel industry with an opportunity. VR can transport the user to a virtual environment – and the possibilities for marketing are almost endless.
Imagine if you will a consumer who wants to view a hotel in a way that allows them to immerse themselves in the offering prior to making the booking.
Other travel service providers allow the client to experience the attractions of a particular destination, before making their travel decision. There are also virtual maps, 360-degree resort experiences, VR hotel tours, or VR cruise ship exploration. The possibilities are almost endless.
5. The Wonders of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality could be said to be ‘VR Adjacent’, but it’s a bit more accessible than VR in that it does not require any equipment other than a smart device such as a mobile phone.
Augmented Reality overlays the real world with other content when the world (or destination/attraction) is viewed through the screen of the device. In essence, it enhances reality.
This allows those in the travel industry to supply the customer with additional information in an easily accessible way, enhancing the customer experience in a seamless way.
For instance, pointing the smart device at a landmark will overlay that landmark with information about it.
Point it at a water park entry sign and find out the opening times and attractions, or point the device at a dining spot and find out what other customers think of the service and menu – and find out more about the daily specials.
6. IoT – The Internet of Things
Almost every smart device or computer is now interconnected via the Internet (or other sorts of networks). This is what is known as “The Internet of Things”. This has disrupted the tourism and travel industry. This revolution allows businesses to enhance the customer experience.
The Internet of Things allows those businesses to add convenience and enhance comfort – and can even alert the business to the need for servicing technology or other service delivery items before costly maintenance is required.
Within the hotel, environment devices can today detect and respond to changing conditions in real-time. The ramifications are staggering.
Light levels can be adjusted without human intervention in order to enhance the guest experience, and temperature likewise.
Management has access to changing conditions in real-time, they can view the status of devices, ensuring timeous repairs and virtually eliminating downtime, while at the same time the IoT can enhance location-based services.
7. The age of the Robot
Robotics could be said to have come of age. Al industries are now faced with the decision of whether to cut down on human employees in favor of robotics.
Robots can dramatically improve customer service levels. The tourism industry stands to benefit through the introduction of robots serving diverse functions – from security to manning welcome desks and carrying luggage, and serving at the bar. The possibilities are almost endless.
For instance, in Japan, the Henn-Na Hotel is staffed entirely by robots. Check-in is handled by a robot, and robot porters handle luggage. At airports, robots can add a level of security by detecting threats and contraband.
They can perform bomb disposal duties. Some forward-thinking companies have even designed robotic luggage – no more carrying suitcases.