IoT (Internet of Things) technology can help to ease traveller concerns regarding personal health and wellbeing, whilst allowing travel and tourism companies to collect a wealth of data for a range of internal and external benefits.
A more Covid-secure experience for travellers
Covid-19 has decimated travel and tourism, one of the main reasons for the sector being so slow in its recovery is ongoing health and safety fears among consumers and reinforced by governments. According to GlobalData*, 85% of consumers were still either ‘extremely’, ‘quite’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about their health due to the pandemic.
IoT technology can help to ease traveller concerns regarding health and wellbeing. For example, wearable tech devices at airports and other transport terminals can allow travellers to practise correct social distancing procedures and keep to other health and safety compliance guidelines, which stems the spread of the virus and keeps travellers feeling safe.
Connected applications can also 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 minimizes the risk of virus contraction during a city break. Connected applications can also ease apprehensions in privately owned areas. For example, Hilton’s ‘Connected Room’ technology allows guests to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally have to do manually in a guest room. 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.
Internal and external benefits for companies
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 analyze if employees are spread evenly across a theme park, for example, reducing the chance of certain employees being overworked which may improve organizational commitment. This internal benefit also creates an external advantage as customers will receiver quicker service. Additionally, IoT can help companies to increase their energy efficiency and combat climate change by monitoring and optimizing temperature, lighting, and overall energy consumption.
Externally, IoT can help to create personalized experiences for customers in two main ways: by enabling travellers to control more appliances or services through a centralized device, such as a tablet or mobile application; or by companies storing data gathered from IoT enabled devices to create targeted personalized marketing campaigns or by remembering their preferences for return visits.
With 82%** of travel and tourism executives expecting efficiency improvements in the coming years when utilizing 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.
*GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey
** GlobalData Emerging Technology Trends Survey 2020