In the author's opinion, how has the travel and hospitality landscape evolved over the years?
• Tremendous change. Before COVID-19, with the emergence of Airbnb, hotel brand loyalty is no longer the trend when selecting accommodation stay, especially for the younger generations.
• Since the outbreak of COVID-19, severe economic impact than any financial crisis or outbreaks faced prior. Travel industries business, such as airlines, hotels, places of attraction, travel agents, suffers a big blow as international travel border closed. Hotels are forced to closed down, employees are losing jobs and income. Prioritize domestic tourists.
What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?
• When countries faced lockdown, online ordering apps become popular among many f&b businesses to be seen and in hope to capture sales to sustain
• When contactless become a new norm, contactless payments are in great demand and forced both merchants and customers to adopt them. Avoid handling cash protects both customers and staff. Improve the settlement speed at cashier counters.
• QR code scanning and online transactions are in demand too. Digitalisation and use of technology replace almost all the printed materials used to have in a hotel or f&b operator (compendium, menu, map, etc)
• Virtual reality tourism - one can be viewed through the mainstream web to allow a person to experience a tour to interiors of a place, tourist attractions from their comfort of home.
• The digitalization process in the travel industry has become the MUST-APPLY and O2O (Online to Offline) practices will be accepted by consumers after the pandemic.
What according to the author are some of the challenges plaguing the Travel and Hospitality landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
• Safety and hygiene policies become vital. Hotels need to work on every standard measure to persuade the place is safe for customers.
Hotels need to work on every standard measure to persuade the place is safe for customers
With the SOP like social distancing, hotels need to change the seating layout differently than previous.
• A lot of uncertainty and various travel restrictions to curb the variants to spread.
• Cashflow management
• Review contract obligations with business partners due to the uncertainty of business impacted by pandemic
• Consider on SaaS (Software as a Service) investment – Help the hotels in below matters (e.g.: Zoom meeting)
o Creating smoother operations.
o Empowering the businesses.
o Identifying and reducing churn.
o Data-driven decisions.
o Automate in-house processes.
o Faster recruiting processes.
o Mobile-first businesses.
Which are a few technological trends influencing Travel and Hospitality today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?
• Robots Concierge, Facial recognition, and AI
• Online heck-in form. Online Ordering. Contactless Payments are for the convenience of guests.
• Marketing personalization and automation– lets hotels accurately track and analyze guest behavior to personalize the guest experience during their search and book online journey. Example: Hotels can send personalized marketing messages tailored to each individual guest during their stay.
• Chatbot - the use of machine learning help to attend guest inquiry in the shortest way 24/7
• Fine-tuning the new norm of customer experience from the start of web interface as they book their trips until the fulfilment of trips needs to be as pleasant as possible
• VR Experience – VR booking process can allow customers to explore virtual hotel rooms, experience local sights, and book a room seamlessly.
Does the author have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the travel and hospitality space?
Go digital. Make use of IoT devices/technologies adapt with marketing, automation, and personalization. Work on dynamic rates strategy. Prioritize guests’ experience, safety, and hygiene.