The pace of innovation across every industry and every company is astounding today, from natural language processing and data sciences to artificial intelligence and virtual reality. How exactly these mega trends are going to affect our industry, and hotel specifically, remains to be seen, but we do know that tomorrow will look very different from today.
The world is a lot flatter as a result of consumers’ undying thirst for adventure. Combine that enthusiasm for travel with more disposable income, more information about the wealth of culture and experiences that await them and a smart phone with which to book a trip, display a boarding pass or check into a hotel room, and you have an almost combustible recipe for growth and innovation.
We’re fascinated by this, and work daily to understand, harness and apply the technology that will provide the best consumer travel experience and create the best business opportunities for hoteliers. In turn, consumer experience should dictate and drive hotels offerings, so hoteliers can give their guests relevant, timely and tech-forward experiences.
It is not a question of whether the travel industry grows, but rather how emerging technologies and platforms will shape that growth, from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to chat bots and completely self-managed mobile check-ins. This is critical, and something that we are already building for and strategizing around.
Since travel is visual and experiential by nature, augmented and virtual reality are a natural fit. Layering historical knowledge into travel destinations and landmarks, or bringing travel experiences to those who can’t travel, maps to the very nature of travel – curiosity and personal growth. Imagine if a hotel started offering guided local walking tours or 360-degree virtual hotel and room walkthroughs, as part of their app experience.