The travel and hospitality sectors are in the midst of a massive technological transformation that will affect how you book travel and stay at hotels moving forward. Tech savvy customers will come to expect the convenience that artificial intelligence brings. This vision is what I like to call ‘high-tech automation with high-touch personalization and customization.’
Here are three mega-trends leading the way toward realizing this vision:
Artificial Intelligence Will Personalize Your Travel Booking Experience
Online travel agencies (i.e. Expedia, Booking, or my company HotelPlanner) are working toward becoming smarter, more seamless and more personalized and customized than ever before. Access to increasing amounts of data is transforming the customer experience for online booking, allowing for smarter search functionality and better tailored results for each unique customer.
As for the top customer concerns of price and flexibility, the solutions brought by AI can lead to enhanced hotel inventory connectivity to deliver better price accuracy and more real-time options to fit any budget.
For example, the hotel booking engines of the future will already know you want a hotel with a good gym or pool, that’s pet friendly or eco-friendly, or has some other amenity, feature, or price point that’s important to you.
Voice-Enabled Services Will Grow With the Rise of the ‘Internet of Things’
AI-driven advancements in natural language recognition are making voice search the industry’s next big trend. Voice activation will continue to expand with the rise of the Internet of Things and smart homes, smart cars and smart offices.
For example, at the height of the pandemic, my company launched what we believe is the next generation of call center customer service: a 24/7 global gig-economy based call center connected to customers through AI-enabled VOIP. This voice-enabled technology allows us to connect the right customer with the right agent to provide personalized service, and to convert more sales of course.
And now you can even use Alexa to make a hotel reservation. (Give it a try and please email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Big Data & Predictive Analytics Will Know You Better Than You Know Yourself
Data is king, but only if you know how to interpret the data in real-time for ‘actionable intelligence’ as they say in the military. Travel technology firms and hotels will employ predictive data analytics and advanced machine learning solutions to anticipate and then deliver more bespoke services based on each customers’ unique needs and wants.
For example, at hotels this might include contactless check-ins, Alexa devices in your hotel room, or perhaps the hotel gym’s personal trainer offers you a free session since the hotel already knows that health & fitness is important to you.
For online travel agencies, they will focus on a more personalized user experience to engender your customer trust and loyalty. So when you go to search for a hotel, the site already knows exactly the type of hotel you want based on previous bookings or your unique digital footprint.
These are just a few examples of how technology is rapidly evolving to meet the current and future needs of travelers who are now expecting a more tech-savvy and personalized experience.
Written by John Price, Co-Found and CIO, HotelPlanner