Travel Tech

A future in which robotics is part of everyday life is increasingly on the horizon. This is something that has been predicted by science-fiction for many years, but it's close to becoming a humdrum reality for people all over the world. This robotic revolution can be defined by many things, but perhaps the most notable aspect of it is the personalisation that it will offer people on a daily basis.

HITEC Pushes Personalised Robotics Hotel Agenda

Recently, robots appeared prominently at the HITEC technology event in Austin, Texas. Savioke’s delivery robots were a particularly notable appearance, with the Relay robot able to perform something of a robobutler service. This product is described as the next generation of delivery robots, representing a follow-on from the earlier production the SaviOne. It is imagined that robots such as those produced by Savioke will have the potential to take over repetitive tasks in hotels in the foreseeable future.

Central to this revolution in robotics is personalisation. Hotels are increasingly pushing for a personalised experience for every individual guest, and the ability to deliver goods promptly and in this new efficient manner can help deliver this particular theme. It was notable at the HITEC event that brands were beginning to understand the power of personalisation, and focus on a truly customised hotel experience that delivers the whims and desires of individual guests.

This was reflected in numerous exhibits at the event, which included next generation PMS and more direct channels of communication. Companies such as UIevolution were central to this trend, with the brand demonstrating its software to personalise the in-room experience for hotels. This has previously been tested on cruise ships, and involves software that enables guests to personalise their TV viewing experience. The company has already linked up with DirecTV to deliver this in hotels.

Checkmate also shared a demonstration model of a dashboard for hotels that builds a complete profile of every guest, and enables the hotel to respond directly to any customer service issues via SMS or email. This profile is surprisingly sophisticated, and includes previous stay information, social profiles and a raft of other information. Checkmate can enable customer service to be truly personalised, delivering touches that make a stay in a hotel particularly memorable.

Aviation Industry Follows Personalisation Trend

Elsewhere, the aviation industry has also demonstrated that it is assessing the best way to keep passengers happy. This is, of course, particularly important on an aircraft, where a relatively docile passenger is definitely to be encouraged!

This year’s SITA Air Transport IT Summit (ATIS) explored technology that enables airlines and airports to connect directly with passengers as individual people. And again, this can be achieved by collecting the billions of data crumbs that passengers both advertently and inadvertently leave behind with every cookie that they place on the Internet.

Customer-facing aviation technology is becoming increasingly smart, and even in some cases capable of true learning. It has the potential to recall the details of every single passenger preference, and adjust the experience of airline travel on a trip-by-trip basis. Data management systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the intelligent learning algorithms that are now included within them can help deliver a personal care experience on airlines that makes a mockery of the huge numbers of airline passengers.

SITA featured numerous such smart aviation technology exhibits, and their new Horizon Connected Passenger system which enables airlines to track and recall passengers’ profiles, habits, and likes. This makes it easy for any airline in real-time to offer relevant offers for services and products that particularly match the travelling profile of the passenger in question.

This reflects the fact that passengers not only desire, but increasingly expect a personalised and tailored experience, similar the sort of experiences that are being delivered by major retailers. It is taken for granted that when we log on to an online retailer such as Amazon today, there will be all manner of personalised information provided by the retailer, which benefits both consumer and retailer alike.

SITA Airline IT Trends Survey assert that as many as 82 percent of airlines are now investing in technology solutions that will enable them to personalise the airline experience. SITA asserts that it is important for airlines to evolve the existing mentality from one focused on databases, based on a raft of disconnected silos, to a smarter integrated processing of data. Again, algorithms will play a major role in this process, as airlines are able to build up and then react to an accurate portrait of every single passenger, enabling them to better to accurately predict demand and respond to it.

In order to demonstrate this, the SITA Horizon Customer Value algorithm reviews a passenger’s portrait, calculates the value (s)he represents to an airline in loyalty and potential ancillary sales, and recommends appropriate product options. This enables an airline not only to maximise revenue, but also to benefit from a more holistic understanding of its patrons.

The Value of Personalisation

Personalisation can be particularly valuable for industries such as hotels and airlines. In the case of the former, consumers are increasingly looking for a genuine experience, rather than simply a place to stay. In the case of airlines, flying can often be a stressful or tedious experience depending on the perspective of the passenger, and anything that can be done to lubricate this process for customers must be encouraged.

However, all tourist-related industries, companies and brands, along with destinations, can benefit from understanding the concept of personalisation. Increasingly, it is not sufficient to provide a uniform customer experience, even if it is an excellent one. Delivering a personalised experience must be considered a necessity for businesses across the travel industry, and this concept will increasingly define the entire niche.


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