Technology Trends Reshaping The Hospitality Industry

By Ankur Bhatia, Cto At Hostmaker

Ankur Bhatia, Cto At HostmakerThe global Hospitality market is set to cross $600 billion in 2019. Service providers are actively innovating and distinguishing themselves to meet the changing needs of travellers in order to make their travel more comfortable, personal and memorable.

Technology has reshaped access to accommodation, choice and type of stay and is also having a significant influence on how travellers are choosing to spend their time.

The shift is notable in the following key areas:

• From a planned booking to a last-minute booking via a mobile-app

• From a hotel room to urban home

• From products to experiences

A deeper dive into the growth of the hospitality industry highlights various technology trends to watch out for in 2019:

Personalization through AI and Big-data

With the growth and increasing diversity in accommodation supply travellers will spend more time on Sites/Apps that show more curated and personalized choices. Booking engines will harvest more data about the customer and provide results that are attuned with the customer's tastes. Complex machine-learning algorithms running on big data will enable booking engines to provide search results that are more aligned with travellers interests.

“Technology has reshaped access to accommodation, choice and type of stay and is also having a significant influence on how travellers are choosing to spend their time”

I believe AI will be increasingly used to provide customer-support via chatbots. This will enable bookingengines and hospitality service providers to give a personalized response and real-time assistance to inquires. I see the adoption of chatbots to be more widespread from large booking-engines handling a large volume of guest-inquiries to boutique hotels providing a 24/7 virtual concierge service.

Big-data and Machine Learning algorithms are already being used in pricing rooms & properties. At Hostmaker, we have our own proprietary pricing algorithm that processes large data daily and we are able to generate 30% higher yield when compared to the market.

Guest-App Travellers will demand access to information on their phone digitally rather than having to speak with someone. The hospitality industry will move more towards selfservice not because it's operationally cheaper, but because travellers will prefer accessing services through thoughtfully designed mobile-apps. Instead of having to go through the meet-&-greet concierge for checking-in, the adoption of self-check-in will become more of a norm.

Accessibility through the mobile app will be enhanced further by providing keyless-access to their room or home. Metal keys are already not used in hotels, but a digital key will replace even magnetic stripe cards via the guest-app that can unlock your door via Bluetooth, NFC or OTP.

Guest-Apps

will play an important role in verifying the identity of the traveller. With facial-recognition being adopted by challenger banks, hospitality will also utilize the technology to carry out essential ID-checks in a lessintrusive way. Furthermore, repeat visits by the traveller will be seamless as all verifications are done and accessible securely via mobile-app to different branches and chains.

IoT and Voice Assistants

Smart appliances which can automatically set themselves to the travellers preference will be installed. Travellers will be able to pre-configure the room/home temperature or have the lighting meeting their mood when they enter.

Voice assistants will become more prominent and this will replace the traditional remote-control for TV/ Air-contioner. These assistants will also provide a wide range of services like booking a treatment at the spa or reservation at the hotel restaurant.

Innovation in voice recognition and service-delivery through them has just kicked off. SDK's provided by voice-assistant makers is being played with by techstartups who are trying to disrupt the hospitality-in-stay experience.

Blockchain and Loyalty Currency

With marketplaces like Airbnb or booking.com gaining in popularity, their knowledge about the traveller becomes more valuable. These marketplaces will leverage blockchain to bring transparency and honesty which in turn will enable users to gain trust on the platform as the data cannot be manipulated.

Loyalty schemes will carry on growing but may evolve to a crypto-currency that can be traded more easily. Through blockchain, travellers will no longer have to wait for points to be validated and added to their account. Use of blockchain and Crypto will reduce fraud and running costs.

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