Businesses need to constantly and consistently reinvent themselves, this it is fair to say is a post-Covid ‘must’ rather than a ‘perhaps we should’ type of thinking. The consumer is changing due to impacts on their lives and behaviours both inside and outside of their control which in fairness makes it rather difficult for many to reasonably keep up.
Technology, as we have seen and have written of on numerous occasions before, is one of the main areas where Hospitality has progressed in leaps and bounds but this too continues to change and so, we too need to continue to change with it.
So what should businesses continue to consider and how is the consumer continuing to change?
- Gamification of travel planning
According to interesting research and the understandable post-pandemic need for travel and spontaneity, hospitality companies can leverage gamification using design and interplaying mechanics like challenges, quests, puzzles and chance rewards into the travel planning, taking it from a chore to a fun task.
European airline Lufthansa introduced Lufthansa Surprise, which allows each traveller to choose from nine themed categories, like nature, cities or partying. Upon picking top choices from seven to twelve European cities, the destination is only revealed after booking.
According to those in the know, using gamification for online advertising is a proven way to boost customer loyalty, brand awareness, user-generated content, online engagement and ultimately revenue.
- Going contactless
According to the Stayntouch/NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality Report, the adoption of contactless technology like self-check-in, in-room technology, mobile keys and digital payments, increased by 66 percent during the pandemic and is expected to continue to rise throughout 2022.
Hygiene isn’t the only reason hospitality companies are rushing to remove human contact from their service as with current labour shortages, contactless is helping alleviate staff pressures.
- Virtual reality tours
Trip Advisor is sometimes a helpful tool for potential guests to access information about a hotel or experience they are considering booking but with the need for experience being at the heart, this often falls short. Some companies are taking things further by using VR (virtual reality), thereby giving potential guests first-person digital tours of their hotel space or experience. An example is Atlantis Dubai who offer a virtual tour highlighting the hotel’s main features through visual immersion. According to a study in Tourism Management by Science Direct on the role of mental imagery, VR prompts future travelers to daydream about experiencing offerings before they arrive which they held, help lead to better brand loyalty.
Travel and hospitality is all about the experience, about being immersed in wonderful places and making life long memories. If technology can help support this purpose then perhaps it is worth embracing?