Hyperconnectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality or robotics, key elements in the transformation of the tourism sector. What will the hotels of the future look like? Can we have personalized experiences adapted to our tastes?
It was the year 1986 when Madonna released the album True Blue, in which, among other hits that have reached our days, was La isla bonita, a song in which the so-called queen of pop said that of “Tropical the island breeze / All of nature wild and free / This is where I long to be”.
Thirty-one years later we do not know if Isla bonita is still a paradise of nature, or if it remains at the top of the preferences of a Madonna now trapped in Portuguese melancholy, but what does seem clear is that the ways to access and enjoy this and other dream destinations is changing radically fundamentally thanks to technology.
And is that technology is transforming the tourism sector in such a way that companies must not only adapt, but anticipate the interests of users if they do not want to be left behind.
Hyperconnectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality or robotics are pillars of an unstoppable transformation that has as fundamental purposes to offer users greater simplicity in processes and personalization of experiences that exceeds any traditional travel catalog.
Offer the customer all the connected information
Experts from GRUPO IBEROSTAR, Telefónica, as well as the startups BeonPrice, Avuxi and Booklyng, discussed this interesting topic a few days ago at an event held at the Wayra academy in Barcelona, in which, in addition to other ideas, the importance of connecting all the information: employees, rooms, rental cars, destinations… And is that the amount of information offered by a customer when he is in a hotel or a destination is overwhelming, so register, analyze and use it correctly will be key to be able to understand what the consumer wants and be able to offer it.
Another fundamental challenge facing the transformation of this sector is the need to facilitate the processing and choice of destinations for customers. The bureaucratic procedures that do not add anything to the experience must be minimized with the help of artificial intelligence and the automation of processes, or directly suppressed, in the same way that virtual reality will play a major role in the selection process, as it will offer an immersive full and with the prior in the hotel or the destination.
Since we mention robots, in an industry so vibrant that constantly reinvents itself, companies must also be attentive and alert to any innovation in this field to integrate it into their offer according to their interests and their business model. Obviously, this will stimulate competition and professionalization, and although there will be models with 100% automated processes –there are already some experiences of hotels managed by robots exclusively, like The Yotel in New York and the Henn-na in Nagasaki (Japan)– , according to experts these will remain as a niche, since human work seems as fundamental and essential because nothing can replace a smile of welcome.
Companies will also enhance interaction with the customer in order to dialogue, know what they want and offer it to them. Thus, the industry must adapt its offer and personalize the experience to the maximum according to what they want to sell and what the consumer is demanding: the same hotel can offer totally different experiences depending on the tastes of each client. The hotel will stop selling rooms to directly offer personalized experiences to everyone based on what you want to do (meet people, go shopping, discover the city…) and make it easy by acting as your advisor and prescriber in terms of the number of nights you need or where you should go to get it.
The travel industry will become a single industry of non-segmented experiences that will merge the expertise of the traditional travel agency with the best offer of products and services in a single point of sale.
In short, consumers of the future will travel without worries, without formalities that take them out of their experience or make them waste time, and without having to look for information about where to go, when to go, what to do, etc., because they will already offer it adapted and personalizedin addition, to your tastes and needs.
Note: GRUPO IBEROSTAR and Wayra, the startup accelerator of Telefónica Open Future_, have joined forces to identify and promote talent, innovation and entrepreneurship within the tourism sector. To do this, they have opened through the Telefónica platform Open Future_ a call to support and reward with up to 140,000 euros the projects of up to two startups. All the information to participate in this call is available here.