How digital technology has changed the hospitality industry

The past 20 years have seen profound changes in the economic sector. With the rise of new technologies, the old world based on a physical model has given way to new fully dematerialized models. Particularly exposed, the hotel sector has to face a set of societal, economic and technological evolutions.

Online Booking

Nowadays, booking through online travel agencies via their apps or websites has become a standard,  Especially in the last minute segment and also because of the frequent usage of the smartphones, letting the hospitality brands opened up to a larger market and increasing tremendously the e-commerce sales. Users can make online reservations, compare prices more easily and ask for personal requests within three mouse clicks. However, this also results in a greater competition among the industry.

Top 10 most popular booking websites


With Ctrip’s dominance now threatened by Alibaba’s Fliggy and Meituan-Dianping’s Meituan Travel, the Chinese OTA market is once again starting to look much more dynamic—to the benefit of both consumers and the tourism companies that wish to serve them.

It became imperative for brand wishing to stay ahead of the curve to optimize user experience on both mobile and desktop.

Social interactions

Since 2008, social media has invaded the tourist web. These 2.0 tools can take many different forms: collaborative blog, wiki, social networks, microblogging, virtual worlds, photo and video sharing sites, and more.

Social networks of e-tourism

Social media has upset the behavior of consumers in terms of the preparation and purchase of their trip, we went through a logic of sharing experiences with other consumer-travelers, through sites assessments, reviews, comments on social networks or most recently by sharing information through microblogging.

TripAdvisor is the go-to platform for online reviews for holidays, restaurants and leisure facilities, with 630million reviews and opinions, and counting.


The online reviews can build or destroy brands, especially those in the customer service industry like hospitality. they are the most trusted source of information for consumers after word-of-mouth recommendation, Hotels brand must be careful and manage their online reputation or risk losing out to the competition.

E-tourism social networks
E-tourism social networks


Personal data has become the number one resource for businesses. A lot of information is hidden in this data, and it can help hoteliers bring a “personal touch” to each guest’s stay.

Imagine that a hotel knows that their client is fond of exercise, or has food intolerance (or preference). He will be able to offer his host for example, free access to the gym, or to welcome him with a personalized basket for his consumption.

And if the host could control the temperature and lighting of his room via his own phone? Can you program your songs?

Technology can play a huge role in the level of comfort and ease of staying in hotels in the near future … and many hotels are already leading the charge.

Whilst technology continues to develop, retaining customer focus will always make good business sense for brands in the hospitality and leisure industry.

Technology is helping to optimize online experiences for consumers, pushing the frontiers of speed, convenience and ease, and ultimately helping brands to deliver a quality service.

The role of technology is no longer in doubt when it comes to the future of the hospitality sector, but there is something that technology can never really replace: the human relationship.

Today, human interactions are less and less common, but when they do, they are of much greater value. Hoteliers can not afford to forget this human interaction.

And maybe this human interaction will no longer be in 40 or 50 years.




  1. This article truly emphasized how the hospitality industry has been transformed by the digital technology and the online booking feature. Nowadays ,everyone is doing everything online and the traveling industry does not escape from that trend.

    I am not surprized by the position of Tripadvisor and in the top traveling booking websites since I personally use them pretty often. However I am completely amazed to see a website that I have never seen before in the top 10 = Jalan.
    How impressive it is to see such a result for a website that is focused on a niche: Japanese market.

    I believe that this article is very instructive and clearly show the correlation between the hospitality trends and the digital technology impact on our today’s world.


    • Thanks for you comment Simon. Yes it is impressive indeed to see a company focused only in booking hotels in japan being in the top 10 OTA list. Although from what i heard, this is also because they are diversified and have many others business channels.


  2. Thank you Nicola for give us a glimpse about the future travel. It’s really thrilling to see how convenient the travel can be through the help of the latest technology.


    • Thanks charlotte for your comment. May i add that the millennials’ behavior and habits is the main reason the changes and the digitalization of the industry.


  3. Thank you, Nicola for this great article.

    Is clear that our general life preferences are becoming more focused on technology as the world around us continues to grow more digital and looks like also hospitality industry becomes more and more transformed by these digital technologies too.


    • However, the key to smarter hotel operations is implementing the right technologies that meet guests’ expectations and hoteliers’ needs to get to know these travellers better. By Improving guest experience and discovering new sources of revenue, will become more accessible than ever before, the analyses of data, which is brought by the technology.

      The successful properties will be the ones that invest in collecting and analysing it in an actionable fashion.


    • Thanks for your comment Adrian, you’re right, the collection of personal data is the key ressource for the hotel industry to personalize their service according to their customer and to stay competitive especially for the millennials market who are not only searching for a hotel, but an experience as well.


  4. Amazing article Nicola, thank you for sharing this great set of information.

    I strongly agree with your point of the digitalization of the whole traditional process of reservations through call. This has given a lot of boost to the hotel industry by making everything available for the customers by a click of a button.


    • Momoe, thanks for your comment, the digitalization has obviously transformed the whole industry, but as i mentioned in the article, hotel brands have to be very careful of the fierce competition that it had caused.


  5. Thanks Nicola for sharing all of this good news for us, hoteliers, and show how our industry is finally stepping up, and actualizing to a XXI´s century business, and accepting that hospitality is not set in stone, and adapt the new technologies to improve customer service.


    • Thanks Pablo for your comments, indeed the industry is switching pretty fast to adapt itself especially to the millennials, although some companies still need to learn from the one who adapted well.


  6. Nowadays, there are several websites that compare the prices of OTAs and they are become more and more popular. Those websites are Kayat, Hotelscombined, Trivago and Skycanner and people directly go to those website to check the prices quoted from different OTA first. I think, in future, those website will have big influence on booking decision of travellers.


  7. Thank you for the great article Nicola, I strongly agree with the information provided in your article where with the help of a travel booking website today is very easy to find a hotel that fits our criteria when traveling, especially in finding the hotel or airfare in the last minutes. This happens very often in our daily lives, here we can see how big the influence of technology for the hospitality and leisure industry.


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