There are always new technologies for travel emerging. Those technologies help travel industry to increase its efficiency in operation and effectiveness on marketing and promotion. Let us have a look.
1. Internet of Things (IoT)
This technology connects everyday devices through internet, and it enable inflow and outflow of data to and from devices. It helps hotel guests to control lighting, air conditioning, curtain and heater outside hotel and thus hotel guests can feel comfortable once he is back to hotel room. Another example of application of IoT is that sensor can be installed in suitcase and traveller can trace and find his luggage in the airport. This is pretty much like the function “Find my iPhone “.
Further reading : “How the Internet of Things can benefit the travel industry”
2. Computed tomography (CT)
The new computed tomography system developed by Smiths Detection, Inc will be introduced by The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at US airports. It allows the security officers to digitally rotate images to check what is inside traveller’s carry on suitcase or bags without open them. Therefore, passengers are able to keep their laptops in carry-on luggage and in future, the same will apply to liquids, gels and aerosols. It largely improves overall effectiveness at airport security checkpoints across the US due to the new technology.
3. Recognition Technology
It is an advance technology to help hotels, airport immigrations and airlines to recognize hotel guests and aircraft passengers. It includes fingerprint and facial recognition, retina scanning and other several biometric identifiers. In the hotel, guests can carry out check in and check out through facial recognition and access to room by fingerprints. In the future, it may be enhanced the technology so that customers can pay for meals on account in the hotel restaurant by just leaving and passing through the restaurants. For example, Marriott China has started facial recognition check-in at some hotels.
On the other, many countries start to implement facial and fingerprint recognition at immigration so that reduce number of officers and processing time of passports examination and boarding.
Further reading : 4 Ways Facial Recognition Can Be Used in the Travel Industry
4. Virtual Reality (VR)
It allows hotels, tourist centre and travel agency digitally transport customers to a specific place virtually. Hotels can showcase lobby, rooms, swimming pool, fitness and recreation area and restaurants to potential customers to make them book the hotel. On the other, tourist centre and travel agency are able to take customers to tourist attractions and scenic points virtually in order to attract them to join tours.
According to Lonely Planet, Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center in USA uses Virtual Reality devices to introduce the hiking routes, facilities and scene of the National Parks to tourist. The 360 virtual tour gives tourists deepen knowledge of the Park and arise their interest.
Interactive virtual maps have become popular due VR technology. Popular travel books and guides publisher such as Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller and Luxe City Guides have introduced digital maps that are more interactive and visually rich than printed guides. Moreover, they can also collect data from travellers through digital guides and maps.
Further reading : “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry“
5. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is the blending of interactive digital elements into our real-world environments and one of the famous examples is Pokemon Go game. The major advantage of Augmented Reality is that it is cheaper than VR since users can use only smartphone or tablet device to access to the internet for virtual tour.
By using AR, tourism industry is able to enhance the customer experience by providing customers valuable information and interactive entertainment. After installing the AR apps, details of local attractions can be displayed once a customer points them on their mobiles, which enable a real time information given to customers.
Further reading : “How Augmented Reality is Revolutionising the Travel Industry“
Putting artificially intelligent robots at hotels and airports are becoming popular. Robots are able to replace part of the manpower for enquires, check-in and check. Hilton hotel chain already put robots at information point for hotel guests to acquire information. Other example is The Intercontinental Wonderland Shanghai that the hotel put robot at hotel lobby to greet hotel guests, as reported by China Daily.
In some airports in USA, they use robots to detect concealed weapons. Some suitcase manufacturers use robotics to create luggage cases that intelligently follow you. On the other, some travel agents do pre-screen by robot so that waiting times of customers can be dramatically reduced.
Further reading : “Robots in the Travel Industry: 8 Real-World Examples“
All the new technology enables hospitality and travel industry enhance efficient and service standard. However, in the end, hospitality and travel industry are to create memorable experience and thus technology should never replace face to face service. Industry professionals need to find the balance and it is quite a challenge to them. As the famous life-style and travel magazine Monocle put it “In these digital times, loneliness – where it comes from and how to solve it – is a key issue for countries” and so as the professionals in tourism industry, I think.