GlobalData’s Patent Analytics Database reveals the top three patent themes mentioned by lodging providers so far in 2022, providing insights into what players are investing in and view as key drivers of business growth. Cloud travel takes the top spot, while machine learning remained a key theme, along with mobile payments.

Cloud technology is key area of investment

Cloud technology is a pivotal theme and driving significant changes across the travel sector. As shown by GlobalData, cloud is the most mentioned patent theme among lodging providers totalling 123 mentions in 2022 (as of September 23, 2022), demonstrating its importance. Cloud computing refers to the provision of IT infrastructure, operating software, middleware, and applications hosted within a data centre and accessed by the end user via the internet. The cloud’s most obvious benefits will enable travel providers the opportunity to leverage highly efficient tools and systems, without needing to spend on enhanced processing power, storage, and physical infrastructure. Additionally, companies with a large portfolio of brands have vast data sets to analyze and the use of the cloud can speed efficiency and increase agility.

While the benefits of cloud technologies may seem too good to be true, a majority of respondents (54.7%) believe that cloud computing will live up to all its promises, according to a GlobalData poll*. One such company investing in the cloud is Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. The lodging provider has adopted company’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud-based technology solution. According to AWS, doing so has allowed Wyndham to standardize its platforms, making it easier to innovate and deliver an improved user experience for guests, employees, and franchisees alike. It can be expected that cloud computing will continue to be an area of investment for lodging providers.

Machine learning has many uses

Machine learning has emerged as a key theme with 122 related patents so far in 2022. Concurrently, a GlobalData poll** revealed that 29.6% of respondents, or their companies, will invest in machine learning in the next twelve months.

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that gives computer systems the ability to learn and improve from data without being explicitly programmed. The practical applications of machine learning are many and varied in the travel industry, such as chatbots and offering personalised recommendations based on past purchases, which are highly likely to be converted into sales. Machine learning can also help hotels with demand forecasting, revenue management as well as segmentation. Importantly, this can help serve their customers better and create excellent customer experiences.

The shift to mobile payments

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a shift to mobile payments and will continue to grow in significance for travelers as Generation Hashtag grows in importance. A mobile payment refers to transactions made or received using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile payments are increasingly replacing cash, due to their ease and convenience. According to GlobalData’s Patent Analytics, there have been 78 mobile payment patents by lodging providers so far in 2022. For lodging providers, there is an opportunity to improve customer journeys and deliver a better, more differentiated customer experience. Mobile payments are especially important to particular source markets, such as China, where AliPay and WeChat pay already dominate. Lodging providers that invest in these themes will remain or emerge as industry leaders.

*GlobalData Emerging Technology: Sentiment Analysis Q2 2022 – Ended 25 July 2022, 354 Responses

**GlobalData Poll – Ended 16 April 2021, 476 Responses