Over the past 10 years, the hospitality industry has experienced a surge of growth. U.S. hotel bookings, cruise, ground transportation and restaurants have all benefitted from U.S. consumer demand, and more companies are enacting business travel to help their organizations connect and grow.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, this sector contributed a record $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the global economy in 2018. Growth has included traditional players, as well as travel technology. Digital innovation has helped form new segments that are thriving. Unprecedented growth and digital innovation are expected to remain strong in the future.
Here are 6 innovations that are fast becoming major disruptors in the hospitality and travel industry.
1. Artificial intelligence
Corporates and start-ups are working together to develop a personalized experience for the consumer. Advancing technology can now facilitate a much more unique online experience, enabling hotels to collect and analyze a vast amount of guest data in order to create a tailored experience. The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to the optimization of guests’ digital interactions to be tailored specifically for them.
2. Mobile apps
Mobile technology is a game-changer for the hospitality industry. Hotels and resorts are leveraging the power of mobile platforms for marketing, guest loyalty, advertising, cross-selling, and more. Mobile apps are able to share live and up-to-date information, monitor prices, predict flight delays and give consumers the ability to book in just a few taps. Mobile apps are convenient, easy-to-use and are very popular, especially with millennials.
The travel and hospitality sector is highly segmented. In the near future, blockchain will allow for seamless payments and customer service across various travel companies. Blockchain will simplify payments, which can currently be complicated, especially if making overseas arrangements. Blockchain will streamline the process and make it more transparent, which will increase trust.
4. Natural language processing (NLP)
Due to recent advancement in NLP, language learning and translation tools are becoming more sophisticated. This is a boon for travel and hospitality organizations, who are using it to make translation easier and virtually remove language barriers. Consumers can now use NLP as a travel assistant to improve customer service and concierge services for travelers. NLP is used for chatbots and voice recognition and is able to support real-time recommendations to consumers.
5. Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality is being used to enhance the traveler experience. It is able to superimpose data onto smartphones to recommend local points of interest, like attractions or dining. Hoteliers who leverage this technology will more deeply connect with their guests. AR is being used to provide potential customers with views of rooms and hotel amenities, provide useful information, navigation, guides and translation for the traveler.
6. Machine learning and predictive analytics
The travel and hospitality industry is utilizing data to study and understand how to improve the customer experience. Predictive analytics can display the most cost-effective prices, factoring data such as daily rates, consumers’ booking patterns, weather and more. Machine learning is being used to quickly determine the root cause of fraudulent incidents and then contain and remediate them. AI and machine learning help with proactive diagnostics and mitigation for continuous cyber security improvement.
Technology is changing the travel and hospitality industry. Through developments such as AI, mobile apps, blockchain, AI, NLP, AR, and machine learning, travel businesses are creating authentic experiences for travelers without losing the human connection that is essential in this industry.
Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) offers insight and guidance to travel and hospitality organizations through a dedicated team of specialists. We are able to help businesses minimize risk while bringing value through world-class resources and expertise in the hospitality industry.