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How hospitality can thrive in the digital age
If you’ve ever used Google Maps to find your way to a restaurant hidden deep in the alcoves of Florence, or turned your 3G on to hail an Uber in downtown Mumbai, you’ll understand how crucial technology is to the world of travel and hospitality. Increasingly, the smartphone is the means through which we negotiate the world around us. If you don’t believe me, ask any urbanite for directions and see what happens.
Technology is permeating our lives more than ever, with half of the world’s population expected to be using mobile devices to access the internet by 2020, according to GSMA Intelligence. This represents a huge opportunity for travel and hospitality companies who are willing to innovate, and within this there are two watch words for brands eager to create great experiences and gain new customers: convenient and compelling.
The mindset of the global traveller has changed. Rather than being rooted in place when they travel, more people want to be flexible with their plans, with 42% of travellers worldwide now using smartphones to plan or book their trips on the fly, according to Tripadvisor.
A new raft of services is coming to the market which cater to the convenience-led consumer. Recognising the upsurge in people's use of instant chat services, Dutch airline KLM partnered with Facebook’s Messenger app to provide purchase confirmation, flight status updates and digital boarding passes through a chat thread on the app. Users can also interact with KLM’s customer service team on Messenger. If nothing else, this move shows that the most convenient solution is often the simplest.