Andrew Sanders, VP, Travel & Hospitality, DataArt was requested to speak at an educational session at the world's leading hospitality technology show, HITEC. The topic - blockchain - is becoming central in travel discussions and is considered to be a major area of disruptive innovation in 2017-18.
During the workshop, Andrew covered the questions:
Demystifying blockchain: why it was developed, how it works and why it’s important to commerce in general and travel and hospitality in particular
The challenges companies face when implementing blockchain technology; where to start
Pain points eliminated with the blockchain adoption for both travellers and travel companies.
HITEC is the main field where industry experts share their ideas and challenges and make predictions for the industry future evolvement. What’s on our horizon for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Cyber and data security has become a central area of hoteliers’ focus due to the increasing number of data breaches in the sector coupled with the sheer volume of personal information processed and stored by hotels. The threat has appeared at the forefront because of the increased reliance on technology even among the midsize and small hotels.
Digital risk and the necessity to build and keep customers’ trust is at the centre of the discussion of customers’ technology and business leads. The consequences of the data breaches affect the hotels’ and guests’ security as well as harm the reputation of the enterprise and decrease trust. In order to prevent hackers’ attacks, hoteliers address cyber security from a number of angles, including technical, legal, law enforcement, insurance and payment systems.
Companies need to develop their security confidence by:
Planning the breach plan
Updating security technology
The hospitality industry is a highly competitive field, where the most innovative and technology-oriented companies win customer loyalty, highest ratings and reviews. Hotels aim to provide an outstanding experience from booking rooms through to seamless check-ins, comfortable and unforgettable experiences while staying and a simple and efficient checkout process. Below are three technology solutions that help guest interaction and to provide a better on-site experience for travellers.
According to research, social messaging will be used by 2.5 billion global users by 2018. Continued mobile penetration and advances in artificial intelligence technologies provide the perfect context for chatbot growth. Hotels do not underestimate the importance of the trend and are introducing virtual assistants that help guests search and book rooms, make changes, and provide useful interaction. This new form of communication is the glue that ties hotel software, significantly improving internal communication and data accessibility. Technology champions like Hilton, Marriott & Starwood, Hyatt and IHG are investing heavily in these conversational products. Besides, having their own apps, they also have virtual assistants in WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat that provide 24/7 on-demand support.
Mobile technology enters the hospitality market by changing the usual rules starting from the check-ins to managing the room’s amenities. Mobile key, being an alternative access method, greatly increases the guest experience, allows guests to skip front desk lines and access their rooms via a secure, encrypted digital key on their smartphones. Hilton and Marriott, two of the largest U.S. hotel operators target to triple the number of properties that offer keyless entry via mobile devices by the end of 2017. This additional amenity also provides the hotel with more information about its most frequent guests, enabling the potential for customized service and communications.
IoT solutions help render a pleasing personalised experience to the guests. For instance, a wearable device or a smart app on the smartphone could connect to the control systems of the hotel room, so the system ‘knows’ when the guest is arriving and get the room ready (such as setting the temperature, opening or closing the curtains/blinds and putting the TV onto the guest’s favourite channel). Also, intelligent IoT can be used to manage a hotel’s maintenance systems. Water, heat and other resources can be saved with a quick repair when sensors detect a leaking tap or defects in the central heating. Similarly, the system could detect a faulty bulb or electric gadget and trigger notifications for actions needed to repair.