Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help to ease traveller concerns regarding personal health and safety, while allowing travel and tourism companies to collect a wealth of data for a range of internal and external benefits, according to GlobalData.
As a result, this technology will have a bigger role to play in post-pandemic travel, noted the data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest thematic report, IoT in Travel & Tourism, stated that wearable tech devices at airports and other transport terminals can allow travellers to adhere to Covid-19 health and safety guidelines including social distancing procedures, thereby helping them to feel safe.
Ralph Hollister, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said: “Connected applications can make tourism flows safer throughout a smart city or destination, by providing real-time warnings about crowding. These warnings can be sent to a traveller’s mobile device through beacon technology, advising them to take an alternative route, which minimises the risk of virus contraction during a city break.”
Connected applications can also ease apprehensions in privately-owned areas, GlobalData said, citing the example of Hilton’s Connected Room technology which allows guests to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally have to do manually in a guestroom. From controlling the temperature and lighting to the TV and window coverings, IoT technology allows guests to reduce the number of times they have to touch surfaces that may be contaminated.
Hollister highlighted that tourism’s slow recovery in the wake of the pandemic is partly due to “ongoing health and safety fears among consumers, which is reinforced by governments”. According to a GlobalData survey, 85 per cent of consumers were still either ‘extremely’, ‘quite’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about their health due to the pandemic.
Internally, operations and business costs can be streamlined with the use of IoT technology. The collection of data from IoT sensors could allow for tourism attractions to analyse if employees are spread evenly across a theme park, for example, reducing the chance of certain employees being overworked which may improve organisational commitment.
This internal benefit also creates an external advantage as customers will receiver quicker service. Additionally, IoT can help companies to improve energy efficiency and combat climate change by monitoring and optimising temperature, lighting, and overall energy consumption.
Externally, IoT can help to create personalised experiences for customers in two main ways. The first is by enabling travellers to control more appliances or services through a centralised device, such as a tablet or mobile application. Secondly, by companies storing data gathered from IoT enabled devices to create targeted personalised marketing campaigns or by remembering their preferences for return visits.
Hollister concluded: “With 82 per cent of travel and tourism executives expecting efficiency improvements in the coming years when utilising IoT technology, combined with the ability the technology holds to make travel experiences more Covid-secure, IoT’s role in tourism is set to grow.”