There’s more than one way to approach luxury travel nnovation
A key to successful innovation — within any industry — is staying ahead of the game. This is especially true right now in hospitality
A key to being successful in innovation — within any industry — is staying ahead of the game. This is especially true right now of the luxury travel industry, which has been “disrupted,” so to speak by the advent of Airbnb and other websites that let users book their spaces and homes thereby creating an alternative to traditional hotels.
In recent years, the largest hotel chains and brands in the world have had to work harder than ever before in order to keep up with the pace of innovative disruptions that are effecting the hospitality industry throughout the globe, and while no clear consensus has emerged as to how these companies can do that, one thing has become clear about innovation: there is more than one way to be successful.
Some hotel companies have handled innovation by using technology to personalize hotel and resort experiences for the guests that book them, while others, including the famous Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, have worked to create a culture shift that empowers their employees to deliver the best possible services they can to their guests. Meanwhile, brands such as W Hotels, JW Marriot and The Luxury Collection, have turned to the dining and retail sectors, which typically drive new commerce innovations, to find inspiration for their own work.
There’s no question among experts that luxury travel on the whole has undergone an evolution. Where it was once bed rocked by formality and traditional touches such as white-glove service, the industry must now become more vibrant, capable of embracing low-key luxury touches that make guests feel as if their experiences within hospitality properties are personal, rather than stiff. Another thing that is certain is that the need to be innovative will not be changing any time soon. Disruptions are going to become so frequent that they will be the norm, and for hospitality owners and operators, keeping pace with these innovations will become a daily and crucial part of their jobs.
Hotels, however, do not have the best track record in terms of being early adapters to technology. Before Airbnb, they were unprepared for the advent of online booking engines. This has all had an overall effect of creating an industry that is more fragmented than it has ever been, with many guests displaying less brand loyalty than they have in the past.
One new technology that is poised to play a part in the hospitality industry moving forward is artificial intelligence and robots, with experts predicting that it will have a steady emergence rather than a sudden and seismic shift. Things like behavioral analytics will play a large part in this, with hotel operators one day using AI to anticipate the needs of certain guests.
Let’s take a look at a few innovative projects currently underway:
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