2020 may have been the year of banned travel, but it was also a year of learning that the freedom to travel around the world or even locally, could be taken away in the blink of an eye. But the biggest industry in the world – the tourism industry – is constantly evolving with the times and 2021 is totally going to be its year, because of the undeniable and powerful human desire to travel, which remains undimmed despite the pandemic.
Emerging technologies, which are a crucial part of the travel and tourism industry, have now come to the forefront and are being deeply analysed for their efficacy when it comes to battling the challenges brought on by the pandemic. From virtual travel to smart hotel rooms, here are some of the top technological trends that experts have predicted will shape the future of the travel industry.
1. Contactless Communication
The term ‘contactless’ has been the word of the year, thanks to the health restrictions laid down due to the pandemic. Where personal businesses such as hospitality are concerned, keeping in touch with guests via contactless communication has been a great challenge. However, new and advanced technology assists in safe engagement between hotels and their guests. It is vital for those in the hospitality business to know that connectivity and communication at this time is more important than ever. Travellers are burdened with additional questions and worries, and they look to their favourite hotel to direct and comfort them at all times. This is why digital communication is and will continue to be the best solution to a range of problems, varying from internal operations optimization and productivity to smooth knowledge sharing and a genuine display of concern for visitors.
2. Smart Rooms, Smart Controls
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things are just some of the revolutionary innovations that have taken charge of hotel rooms to ensure contactless experiences. All is now accessible from your smart devices – from your room key to personal entertainment during your staycation. With voice recognition technology, you can get contactless room service or book a spa session with a single click on your smartphone. In 2021, opulence, luxury, and outstanding room experiences – all will go digital.
3. Recognition Technology
Because of its ability to eliminate friction from transactions and make interactions seamless, recognition technology is a standout in this list of key tech trends. Fingerprint recognition, face recognition, retina scanning, and other biometric markers are also part of the technology. Some hotels are already using this technology to allow for fingerprint-based room access and semi-contactless check-outs. However, there is hope that in the future, this technology would enable customers to pay for meals in hotel restaurants simply by leaving the place.
4. Self-Check-in and Self-Service
If there’s one thing that the long periods of isolation and quarantine have taught us, it is to be self-sufficient. When it comes to travel, self-service might sound impersonal, but it’s the need of the hour and quite frankly, no one would really mind the distance, because any chance of avoiding physical contact is a win in these times. Hotels across the globe are following strict hygiene and sanitation guidelines and while it is not entirely avoidable, self-check-in or self-service in hotels is gaining immense popularity.
5. Virtual Reality
Finally, the trend that caused a storm among travellers around the world during peak pandemic – virtual tourism. Even though it’s been around for a while, the pandemic totally pushed live virtual tours to the travel frontline. Virtual reality has emerged as a stronger or more powerful way of arousing wanderlust in travellers. It is an evolving technology in a variety of fields, but it plays a particularly important role in the tourism industry. After all, it helps travellers to visit far-flung destinations from the comfort of their own home, and it may be the determining factor in whether or not they complete a reservation. Customers can take virtual tours of everything – from hotels and restaurants to iconic landmarks, national parks, and even personal events. The high level and ease of interactivity and immersion will also help virtual travellers gain a competitive edge over rivals who aren’t yet taking advantage of these forms of technology.
Moreover, with smartphone apps like Proxgy, which uses smart helmets equipped with 360-degree camera technology, live virtual travel has become easier and more accessible than ever!