The global pandemic put both leisure and business travel on hold almost instantly. With travel and hospitality showing signs of slow recovery, different views are emerging as to what the future of travel holds and what impact this will have on a hotel’s tech stack.
A key learning from the global crisis is that technology can facilitate business in more and better ways than we may have thought possible. Whether tech-savvy or not, we have all had to adjust our ways of working and embrace the use of (more) technology as it replaced travel, live networking and in-person meetings and events, in both our professional and personal lives.
From remote working, digital collaboration and online business meetings to virtual events and conferences, technology has dominated the way we work, collaborate and communicate, and it seems unlikely that we will collectively unsubscribe from our Zoom and Teams accounts anytime soon or even when this pandemic is behind us. This doesn’t, however, mean that business travel won’t return to its pre-pandemic volumes, we may just see a different type of traveller.
Now that remote and hybrid work has been more widely tried and tested during the pandemic, businesses are increasingly open to the concepts of bleisure travel and digital nomads, both of which were sharply on the rise pre-Covid. With an expected spike in these types of travellers, hotels will need to step-up their tech stack to accommodate their needs, which are driven by mobility and technology.
Whether travellers decide to travel less but longer, bring their families on work trips, or adopt a lifestyle that’s location independent, they will have a shared need and that’s a reliable and seamless technology experience.
With consumers’ rising tech expectations, there is an opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves through their tech offering; whether that’s by enabling mobile guest and local destination services, making smart workspaces available, introducing scalable high-speed Wi-Fi packages, or by having virtual assistants on hand.
Enhancing a hotel’s digital guest experience will be key in ensuring the bleisure traveller and digital nomad have the right technical infrastructure and services they need to work from anywhere; to access their content in the cloud, make video calls from anywhere in the hotel, and stream their business and personal content in their rooms, all through a touchless and seamless environment.
Besides increased hygiene and cleaning protocols, providing technology that supports the work and lifestyle of bleisure travellers and digital nomads alike might just be the competitive tipping point in a hotel’s recovery journey.