For those in the travel industry, one of the most important and powerful emerging technology trends, which needs to be understood and explored, is the Internet of Things, or IoT for short. It has the potential to fundamentally changing how many tourism companies operate, improve their revenue management, and enhance the customer experience.
The Internet of Things is used to refer to everyday physical devices, appliances and other ‘things’ that have been fitted with internet connectivity, making them capable of sending and receiving data. This effectively turns them into ‘smart’ objects, capable of ‘talking to’ or interacting with one another. The technology allows devices to be controlled or monitored remotely, and to perform actions automatically. Examples might range from smart energy meters, through to internet-connected vehicles and driverless cars.
How Can the Travel Industry Benefit From the IoT?
While many industries can benefit from IoT technology, the travel and tourism sector is particularly well-placed to reap the rewards, because the Internet of Things can enable further automation and greater customer experience. It can also streamline day-to-day tasks that go into running a hotel or travel company.
One of the most widespread uses of IoT technology within the travel industry so far has been to enable a greater degree of personalisation within hotels, and on flights, and this is primarily provided by enabling customers to control more appliances or services through a centralised device, such as a tablet or even their own phone. By implementing internet-enabled heating, lighting and television, customers can turn them on and off from one place.
Another great use for the Internet of Things involves streamlining as much of the customer experience as possible, across all areas of the travel industry. In airports, this may mean sending information to passengers’ smartphones, alerting them when their baggage is nearby and allowing them to locate it faster. In hotels, the check-in process can be made seamless, with hotels sending electronic key cards to guests’ phones which, when used, automatically check them in without them ever having to stop at the front desk.
Companies operating in the travel industry can also use the Internet of Things to send location-specific information to customers and to gather valuable data too. By combining smartphone capabilities or other sensors, messages can be sent to tourists at the point they are most relevant, based on where they are.