Expert’s Voice: Technology trends in travel – the face of hospitality tech in 2021
Laura Badiu, marketing manager at TrustYou, talks us through the innovations that could gain popularity in 2021 as consumers adjust to the reality of travelling amid a pandemic.
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster of a year. In travel and hospitality, so many things have changed and transformed in such a short span of time. While oftentimes, change can be a good thing, it can be harder to accept when imposed by negative circumstances like the Covid19 pandemic.
Technology and trends are constantly evolving, and this year in particular, many tech solutions became not just popular but vital for hotel businesses all around the world. Building on the current state and needs of the travel and hospitality business, we can already predict a number of tech trends that impact the course of the industry, as well as hotel operations and the guest experience. Let’s dive deeper into the top technology trends in travel for 2021 and the reasons why they will undoubtedly rise in importance and popularity.
‘Contactless’ has been the buzzword in the last few months, due to the Covid19 health restrictions and social-distancing rules. Within such a personal business as hospitality, it has been challenging to keep in touch with guests while keeping communicating contactless. However, new and innovative technology supports the safe engagement between hotels and guests.
A direct-messaging solution represents the best way of engaging with guests throughout their journey, especially while they are onsite. It also helps to keep communication open and personal, while keeping the recommended distance and enforcing stringent safety rules.
It’s crucial for hoteliers to understand that the need for communication is higher than ever before. Travellers have extra questions and concerns on their shoulders and they look up to their hotel of choice to guide them and reassure them constantly. This is why digital communication is and will continue to be the best solution to a multitude of challenges, ranging from the optimisation and efficiency of internal operations to the seamless exchange of information and the genuine showcase of care towards guests.
Self-check-in and self-service
It might sound slightly impersonal at first, but this year and the one to come are all about the self – self-check-in, self-service and self-sufficient. Once again, given the Covid19 measures and the social-distancing rules, any chance of avoiding physical contact is a win, especially while being away from home.
Hotels and accommodations from around the world are following serious and stringent hygiene and sanitation rules – however, face-to-face interaction is still a liability in the pandemic context. And while it cannot be avoided completely, technology that supports hotel self-check-in or self-service is constantly increasing in popularity.
In 2021, it’s important to enable as many independent operations as possible, in order to avoid safety risks and, maybe even more importantly, save internal resources as hotel staffing is at an all-time low. However, make sure to display and communicate clear and easy instructions on how to go through self-check-in or how to use certain services and always offer additional assistance, if needed.
Integrated, immediate solutions
In light of the ongoing pandemic, efficiency in everyday hotel operations is more poignant than ever. With on-and-off lockdowns, short-time work, and budget cuts, it might be hard to operate the complex tech stack in an efficient and time-effective manner and with the best results. This is why 2021 is expected to reinforce the success of integrated, immediate solutions.
While every hotel software serves a purpose on its own, it is only when more systems are synchronised and linked that they are able to deliver a clear overview and the best results. Whether we are talking about the maintenance systems, the guest engagement ones, or the feedback or revenue analysis, the connection remains important.
Take for example the TrustYou feedback platform, which integrates multiple solutions under one umbrella and enables hoteliers to gather reviews, analyse feedback, respond to it, engage with guests, market their strengths, and make smart decisions and investments – all from one place. The seamless integration of different solutions ensures that any problem is addressed and fixed in a timely manner and guests benefit from the best possible experience, even during challenging times.
It’s been around for quite a while now, but it’s not raising any eyebrows anymore.
This year, the value of virtual reality raised a discussion once again within the travel and hospitality industry. Given how many vacation plans have been put on hold due to the Covid crisis, travellers, as well as hoteliers, are inevitably missing out. Travel restrictions or simply the fear of leaving the safe space we have at home are making us look at vacation plans with caution; but the wanderlust, however, is still there – maybe even more than before.
This is where VR can come in and become an integral part of a hotel’s marketing strategy. There has never been a better and more effective way of awaking that wanderlust in travellers than virtual reality. Hotels can provide a teaser of the accommodation, the rooms, the location, the beautiful beaches or pool areas, the breathtaking views, anything that can be visually striking for potential guests and could drive them to book the hotel once they resume their normal travel plans.
Why not even go the extra mile and showcase the new hygiene and safety measures taken by the hotel? Let travellers see the effort that you put in and the care that you have for their safety and wellbeing.
It remains to be seen what 2021 will bring to the table and while we are all regarding the new year with caution, technology always brings a plus of excitement. Where there are problems, there are solutions, and we are excited to see what’s in store for travel and hospitality, despite the hardships. Our industry is resilient and so are we. Here’s to a better new year!
This is an edited version of an article that appeared on the TrustYou blog.
Marketing manager at TrustYou
Laura is a journalist who currently works as the marketing manager of TrustYou. There she develops topics based on hospitality with a focus on reputation management.