Are you a travel lover? A travel vlogger? A globetrotter? Or, just a simple person who loves vacationing with family or friends, to take a break from routine life? What’s so common with you all? Well, a chorus could be – “How to beat the pandemic blues!” The very chorus that resonates the whole world today. Not even the President of United States is immune to this devil virus, CORONA virus. No doubt, everyone is wishing him a sooner recovery but how to recover from the massive losses incurred so far globally, in terms of life and property!? Fingers crossed!
The pandemic due to COVID-19 has caused major disruptions in the global economy. Another recession, economy slowdown, rapid rise in unemployment, and what not! There’s been an abrupt halt in international travel, severely impacting the tourism industry. Greater chunks of government revenue, foreign exchange earnings, employment source, depend on tourism sector. Travel & tourism, being a vital lifeline for revenues worldwide, ironically, battling for survival! The industry is struggling to cope up the repercussions but as you all know, there is a silver lining to every dark cloud in the sky. The significant catch is the change in customer behavior that amounts to the overall revamping process of industry. Technology plays a pivotal role here, again.
Social distancing has become a new normal today and people are religiously following the DOs and DONTs under the Corona advisory. People are reluctant to travel and their perception of holidaying and recreation has totally upended, a complete halt. When humans fall, machines arise. The Travel & Tourism industry is shifting focus to recovery and deploying robots everywhere – airport, hotel, restaurants, tourist places, etc. The motto is minimizing human-to-human contact and bolstering people’s confidence. But how?
The Robotics technology is propelling self-service methods, travel-agents use them for pre-screening process, text-based chatbots & robotic assistants in front desk are serving the needs of travelers thus reducing queue sizes. Right from acting as a concierge, to greeting guests and providing information from time to time, robots are seen all around in hotels, restaurants, airports.
For instance, if you happen to visit New Sheraton, Los Angeles, robots will enthrall you with their unique service. Wayfinder, the friendly robot will guide you to find out direction, say, steakhouse, swimming pool, room, wherever you want to go. The Luggage robot/Tug robot will carry your luggage duly locked for security reason, you just have to use a 4-digit code to unlock and get it to your room! Rom Service robot will bring food to your room, a genuine room service, and you can even give tips to them!
So, where did you get chance to break the protocol of social distancing? Robotics technology is all set to revive tourism the world over.
Have you planned your next trip? Because now you can experience locations on your itinerary right from your home using Virtual Reality tools. You can have an immersive experience by virtually travelling your hotels, restaurants, landmarks, and even the sightseeing activities! These 360 tours or VR tours you can experience via your smartphones or web browsers using In-Consumer gears. This way, you can plan your vacation, trips using technology without any human intervention. You are indeed using virtual tools to experience the real world!
Virtual & Contactless Payments
In the wake of pandemic, you’d definitely vouch for the contactless payment where you don’t need to carry cash, debit card or a credit card, rather your smart mobile phone is smart enough to do the payments for your travel. Yes, you are carrying a Mobile wallet with you. MPOS, P2P are a few digital payment modes that give you an entire seamless experience. No more frets!
Internet- of- Things (IoT)
The unprecedented constraints on aviation due to pandemic has led to a complete chaos in the travel & tourism sector. However, airlines are resuming operations while keeping safety measures intact. The Internet-of-Things technology has emerged as an exciting savior which calls for interconnecting daily devices via internet. IOT based HVAC systems combat airborne transmission of viruses in the airport thus protecting you from any probable infection.
Do you know how Abu-Dhabi International Airport is using motion based elevators where you can just wave your hand to point your destination floor? That makes you pretty safe because distance between you and your fellow passenger is being maintained.
Way-finding apps such as WISEFLY will alert you if you come close to any other person nearby, thus, helping you maintain social distance.
The robot Wayfinder that served you a while ago in New Sheraton, Los Angeles (courtesy the Robotics Technology paragraph above), did follow an IoT technology sensor based doors to lead you to your room.
Again, in Dubai International Airport, ‘Smart Tunnel’ uses facial recognition as an identification tool. You get a single digital ID which can determine your unique identity, travel – detail & biometrics. Thus, you don’t have to carry physical documents, only one biometric travel token through all touch-points is what you require! Touchless technology is here to stay!
AI & Big Data
Connie is the AI-powered robot deployed by Hilton hotels. It uses Artificial Intelligence & Speech Recognition to speak to tourists seeking information. Then you have SAM, your intelligent travel – chatbot, guiding you every minute predicting weather or traffics or any sightseeing opportunities you should not miss! Thus, no need of a tourist guide.
Big Data & Predictive Analysis technology is helping the industry analyzing current business performance, viz. hotel business using Big Data for revenue management purpose to anticipate future demand levels.
According to a recent BCG- Consumer Sentiment Survey report (respondents from USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Italy, China) 54 per cent said they would prioritize social distancing as a major precaution while going on trips. Even United Nations’ World Tourism Organization has recently released a set of global guidelines to resume tourism and emphasized the role of technology as a major transforming tool for the industry. Thus, prioritizing people’s sentiments, the industry has to adopt technology as a major reviving weapon to resurrect itself, as well as restore tourists’ confidence to restart their journey to destinations that they had once dreamt of, before the global crisis started.
If you are a startup or company engaged into travel industry who would like to understand how to capitalize technology, Speak to us today!