Digitalization has taken the tourism and hospitality sector by storm globally in the last few years. Travelers no longer rely on brick-and-mortar travel agents; instead, increased mobility has raised their expectations for a perfect resort that matches their comfort level—on their terms. This is due to digital players like Airbnb, Kayak, and TripAdvisor that are setting benchmarks to deliver the most innovative hospitality and travel experiences.
The level of mobility and contactless operations further increased after COVID-19. Travelers are more inclined towards contactless travel operations such as lodging, check-in/check-out, room booking, tourism, and food services —precisely, to get things done quickly through their smartphones. After 2020, traveling while also avoiding any health hazards has been a top priority of consumers.
To meet the customer expectations and demands, the hospitality industry needs to be on top of its digital game. A whopping 73 % of travelers believe that hospitality and hotel stakeholders would need to accommodate the latest technologies for a safer travel and hospitality experience amid the pandemic.
According to a survey by Statista, executives in the travel and hospitality industry consider adopting new technologies as a business priority for better customer and supplier services. While 84 percent of the respondents claim to already have significant technologies adopted to meet the criteria of the digitalized world.
The hospitality business has eventually become a blend of ever-increasing customer expectations and digital transformation. Stakeholders need to realize the prevalence of the right technology to meet the digital experience trends. Let’s explore the top technological beats that are impacting the hospitality and travel industry big-time.
Internet of Things (IoT) and hyper-personalization
The combination of IoT and mobile is enabling hotel rooms to adopt smart devices and features to partly meet their guest’s expectations.
For example, many Asian hotel chains now also referred to as ‘unmanned’ hotels, are reshaping their business model through the adoption of modern technologies. Smart rooms are becoming the top-tier option to provide contactless customer services via a hotel’s mobile app based on voice assistants (Google Home or Amazon Alexa).
One of the prime IoT devices is a slick tablet installed in every guest room allowing guests to control and customize room services such as controlling air conditioning, windows, lights, media stations, connecting with staff and room service, seeing hotel information, and other infinite options.
This cloud-based technology offers several added benefits besides good Customer Experience (CX) including greater sales and better brand image as a result of quick services, striking UI & UX design, and user-friendly software. Otherwise, poor design and services may give hotel owners upsetting lessons about treating their customers well.
The cohesion of all smart devices under one network can help keep track of customers’ aspirations and expectations — this is what we call hyper-personalization with respect to IoT.
Hotels connected with IoT software and ultra-compact hardware require hospitality management to closely check system quality to avoid any trouble in customer operations and services. This requires a proficient team of software testers and a test management tool to keep the IoT world of devices streamlined and quality-driven.
Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Guests can enjoy a hotel party and visit a museum or a tourist destination through virtual reality (VR) staying in their comfort zone. AR and VR allow travelers to experience the best things virtually. For example, as a tourist, you may be able to visit Paris via a virtual trip that too under half costs.
This practice is not quite common yet, but major hospitality executives offer their guests a chance to relish a sneak-peak of faraway destinations for a virtual travel experience. Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) is one of the businesses offering VR visits to their customers.
Big Data and Analytics
Data has become a cornerstone to excel in the changing CX dynamics in the new era of travel and hospitality. For example, in the case of Airbnb, with data analytics, they were able to determine customers who left due to poor customer support. The app then offered an instant booking facility to allow their guests to make instant reservations. This helped in reducing the density of customers’ complaints and an automated and more reliable booking system as a replacement for the previous and arduous one.
Furthermore, Big Data and IoT are highly interconnected in the hospitality sector; for example, if a traveler visits a resort every year, the IoT data can automatically ask the guest about making a booking this year too. This will save your customers time in booking a room without even scrolling over their phones and making calls to the travel agents. The same practice can be implied on cuisine options and selection, services, in-room facilities, and excursions.
Data does not only improve CX, it enhances the entire business model from bottom to top.
How is Quality Assurance a problem-solver for the hospitality sector?
Despite a pool of business benefits, getting along with the latest technologies may also shock you with a digital disaster or an app crash during peak vacation times.
Multiple digital elements unite together to deliver the expected experience to the staying guest.
All it takes is one software glitch to result in utmost customer disappointment and business failure.
Let’s imagine this situation: it’s raining, your guest arrives, asks for their room key/card, but it was taken by another guest–ALL BECAUSE OF A SOFTWARE GLITCH IN YOUR APP!
These days, travelers rely on traveling and hospitality apps to perform multiple functions such as:
- Room booking
- Remote check-in/check-out
- Restaurant seat reservation with in-app menus
- Chat with the guest hosts (human or bots)
- Guest services (laundry, in-room amenities, etc.)
- Room card functionality
- Hotel map
- Parties and any sort of entertainment activity.
All these operational services require a controlled environment that assures the end-to-end performance of app modules and features.
The answer resides in achieving optimum Quality Assurance (QA) services for a smooth customer experience. Stakeholders usually rely on an outsourced team of software testers to verify and validate the quality of customer services and the rest of the connected technologies helping in delivering multi-faceted functions.
These testers depend on test management tools such as Kualitee for tracking if the app is performing according to what has been desired by the end-user. To be more precise, these test case management tools help the testing team perform the following functions to successfully achieve a pipeline of customer-centric services:
- Make a test plan and save its details, such as devices, OS, etc, such that the information is usable in the test execution.
- Organize the whole test plan into different modules and requirements so that each different module is handled separately. For example, the Room Service-related application and Room Booking applications are separately treated.
- Ensure sufficient test cases are being created against each requirement for accuracy and precision.
- Consistency throughout the customer’s travel cycle; meticulously tracked and managed on an intuitive dashboard.
- Better management of different test case types for performance, functionality, mobility, and usability-related requirements.
- Efficient logging, assigning, and tracking of bugs.
It’s high time for hospitality businesses to deliberately consider conforming to the above technological trends but not without precautions. Make the right moves to transcend in this booming digital era!