IoT to level up Middle East's travel industry
The UAE is known as one of the world’s most luxurious travel destinations, with world-class hotels, exceptional hospitality and advanced technology delivering memorable experiences. Now, this industry service standard is about to be taken up another notch with the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT).
As per data published ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2020, the investment in IoT is expected to increase by 22% in the next 3 years. This includes artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) as well as IoT, which is in turn empowered by these technologies.
With these tech advances and their implementation, the Middle East’s travel and hospitality market could outpace that of the world by 17 percent by 2022, with annual sales expected to cross $100 billion, according to Colliers International.
“Technology, and the use of technology, is increasingly part of everyday life. Travel, tourism and hospitality are at the very forefront of tech innovation with many organisations investing huge sums of money to gain competitive advantage, while improving the customer journey and overall experience.Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said in a statement
So where will these technologies be implemented and how will they level up the hospitality experience?
There are direct and indirect ways in which IoT will empower the industry to deliver a more seamless experience when it comes to personalising travel experiences, improving service quality, and making energy consumption as well as maintenance more efficient.
For example, using travellers’ mobile location details, they can be easily tracked for safety, provided customised solutions, communications and travel suggestions, as well as recommendations for food or cultural hotspots given their interests. Imagine a traveller who is interested in theatres more than outdoor events and has dietary restrictions; IoT and AI can suggest better food joints and plays for them.
Not only can a standalone mobile application provide this, but also hotels and airlines who want to give their customers a more valuable experience in the city.
At GITEX 2019, we saw an innovation prototype of smart immigration gates that did not need passports or other documents to allow entry, the face scan of a person was enough for the system to know who the person is, and their visa and travel status.
These technologies, while still need development, have the power to reduce the unnecessary wait time at airports and speed up travel.
However, these are not just for customers, but also businesses. For instance, IoT enabled devices can alert hotels and service providers of lights or air-conditioners not working optimally, helping them keep their premises serviced at all times, instead of angering customers over delayed check-ins, room changes and overall unpleasant experiences. Moreover, they can also support maximising energy efficiency, noting when a room is in use and when it isn’t.
These technologies can also enable back-end booking systems and management software to connect and talk to customers’ mobiles, sending information in an easy and timely manner.
Startups and industry leaders are plugging into this industry in the MENA region, especially the UAE. Plug and Play ADGM already has their tourism accelerator in Abu Dhabi, who in their most recent cohort admitted Road.Travel that is a “trip planning and dynamic packaging platform (white-label) for airlines, hotels, rental cars, travel agencies, tour operators, automotive & MaaS companies. It creates and personalises complex trips in minutes and adapts trips to user's budget on the fly,” as per the statement.
The next level of travel is coming to the Middle East, that is set to raise the level of expectations of travellers. Are you excited?