Technology transforming travel

As travellers evolve into explorers with the help of technology, the holidaymakers too need a metamorphosis so that they are still sought by these new-age tourists. Hence, it’s work time for tech experts as hoteliers are looking towards complete automation and innovation in their services.

Over the years, we have watched travel evolve from being a souvenir-based experience to a memory-based exploration of a place, with holidaymakers of all ages looking for something authentic to be a part of even at a tour destination. Central to this evolution is the increasing influence of technology in the tourism and hospitality industry. Starting from the way tickets and accommodation is booked to hotels and attractions operate and interact with their guests to the ways in which guests share their experiences with other travellers, everything is ultimately driven by technology.
Digital media platforms and apps have enabled consumers to be better informed about any and every destination in advance, book a more personalised trip and start their journey at any time of their convenience; while hotels have more tools at hand to get and stay in touch with their guests even prior to check-in, throughout their stay and even after they have left. Simultaneously, there has been the birth of experiential travellers — visitors who want to experience a place as a resident, not a guest — this has led to the rise of two phenomena.

First, travellers are looking for accommodations other than the typical type — hotels and resorts — at the holiday stop, hence, there is the rise of home-sharing platforms. Second, while travelling, travellers now want to explore beyond the traditional tourist hotspots of a destination and experience the local culture and cuisine.

For us, the technology providers, this trend is exciting and game-changing, because it is now us who are going to shape the experience of hotels and holidays of the future. We get to challenge, innovate and disrupt the landscape because we see travel from a different perspective, having looked deeper at the layers that make a great country, city or town what it is — beyond traditional tourism.

Through technology, travellers can connect with any person or place even before they start planning their holiday and get to know about everything that authentically belongs to their desired destination, thus enabling them to experience the real thing and have an everlasting memory of the place when they visit it.
Moreover, through technology, those in hospitality can seamlessly connect with their potential, current and future customers and stay connected for the entire duration of their travel, regardless of where the customers are touring.
In the Middle East, and around the world, the trend is the same — hoteliers are investing in latest technology at a rapid rate. And although that means different things to different hotels, all hoteliers are seeing the benefit of the impact that technology is having on their bottom line and choosing to see it as an investment, not a cost.
The current phase is a great time for the technology providers to be in the hospitality industry because it means that hoteliers are recognising and measuring their return on investment in technology as they know that technology is helping them to increase guest
satisfaction and consequently, increase their revenue.
As travellers and travel experiences evolve, so will technology and our ability to better target, attract and promote to the travellers any city at any time and give them lasting memories to take back home.

The author is Jean-Pierre (JP) Aramouni, Managing Director for Expansion and the Middle East, Tink Labs

(The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)

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