New Revenue Solutions for the “Next Normal” in Hospitality: Riccardo Campione
Hospitality does not disappoint when creating innovative and exciting out-of-this-world travel and contact-free virtual options for returning and new clients writes Campione.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding protocols have forced the Hospitality industry to rethink about how we do everything. Even now, as we face new waves of virus cases around the world, Hospitality must analyze how we and our guests book and travel. It remains essential to rethink and pivot to provide new solutions and find new opportunities, especially in terms of introducing new revenue solutions and generating renewed stimulus within the customer journey. With an informed and empathetic perspective, Hospitality must also consider also how best mitigate transmission risks and address mobility restrictions, while still offering guests excellent service and a (touch-free) personal touch. As expected, Hospitality does not disappoint when creating innovative and exciting out-of-this-world travel and contact-free virtual options for returning and new clients...
The sky is no longer the limit for travel destinations. Hotels.com's new intergalactic campaign, One Small Step for Hotels calls guests to envision a zero-gravity, intergalactic hotel experience. I agree with Hotels.com, “The year 2020 is a certified dumpster fire.” For this reason the booking platform has literally looked to the stars for inspiration, aiming to be the first online travel site to offer Earthlings future space hotel bookings. Why not? Potential space offerings range from a Space Suit Robe and Moon Boot Slippers to a Meteor Minibar stocked with astronomical snacks and a space deck pool with 360-degree views of the Milky Way. To launch the space bookings, Hotel.com is currently inviting future guests with one of the eight planets in their legal first, middle or last names (think Venus Williams) to be among its first 20 galactic travelers and receive a $250 Hotels.com gift card to be used toward a future hotel stay in space (or on Earth). While Hotels.com helps guests not only to daydream, the booking platform also identifies how Hospitality can rethink, pivot and provide compelling solutions about how we can travel.
Sproute, a Mobility category winner of the 2020 Innovation by Design Awards, posits travel as a way “to experience” the world, not just speed through it. Developed by Julius Ingemann Breitenstein during his recent residency at the Berlin’s Move Lab, the new beta navigation app aims to diversify how people travel by offering a set of “characters” that guide travelers to their destinations in different, efficient and “frictionless” ways. Available to iPhone users in London, Copenhagen and Berlin, Sproute’s characters Sightseer, Nightlight and Commuter help users reach their chosen destinations at their chosen pace via an algorithm. When users travel, they can use Sproute’s journey overview to better understand their trip (the information varies with each character guide) and opt for different routes if they wish. As we emerge from the pandemic, Sproute offers tourists and residents opportunities to (re)discover their cities without a crushing financial expense. A mobility tech startup like Sproute could also provide interesting IoB (Internet of Behaviors is about using data to change behaviors. With an increase in technologies that gather the “digital dust” of daily life — data that spans the digital and physical worlds — that information can be used to influence behaviors through feedback loop – Gartner) partnership and marketing possibilities.
Given the dynamic COVID-19-related health, hygiene, mobility and occupancy protocols, group and private walking tours have decreased. But that doesn’t mean our guests’ interests have waned. For this reason, Hospitality can remain connected by offering guests virtual alternatives that prove safe, personalized, informative and cost-effective. Guests can still enjoy exploring new parts of the world, but at their convenience -anytime, anywhere- with innovative Augmented Reality apps. Sherpa Tours App, for example, currently offers over 150 tours in over 80 cities in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa with its AR Avatar tour guides. Downloadable on iPhone and Android, Sherpa Tour’s AR app continually adds new one to three hour walking tours exploring the world’s great cities and travel destinations with experienced tour guides and MA/PhD-level experts. Travel restrictions be damned: Sherpa Tours can be enjoyed virtually now, and/or later, on location.
For travelers looking to streamline travel planning and trip booking, visits.ai, an AI-powered travel assistant, may solve potential frustration with its part booking platform, part travel guide. With its promise of no hidden fees, visits.ai’s recommendation algorithm seeks to decrease the time spent planning and researching trips by offering suggestions and finding deals customized to each traveller’s interests and preferences. Travelers enter their destinations and preferences (i.e. ideal accommodations, vacation itinerary) and then visits.ai filters flights, accommodations and activities that match each traveler’s profile and budget to provide an itinerary. After the trip is booked, visits.ai provides reminders, packing tips, smart travel recommendations and social networking opportunities until each traveler is safely back home.
What is probably one the most important innovations during the pandemic? Contactless payment technology. Last year Taipei’s leading contactless smartcard system EasyCard collaborated with Pokémon to create the Poké Ball metro pass. Reintroduced last month, Poké Ball is easily reloadable for use on subways, buses and other public transport services in Taipei, and can also be used to make payments at participating convenience stores, department stores, supermarkets, taxis and other retailers. Functional, compact and well-stylized, the Poké Ball continues to make local travel more efficient and hygienic during the pandemic.
These are just a few ways that Hospitality has rethought the customer journey and how to connect our global community during the pandemic, despite hygiene, social distancing and mobility restrictions. By providing imaginative, contactless, virtual and digitized options, Hospitality around the world can continue to serve and elevate our community while also stimulating revenue by rethinking the way we book, travel and pay.
Around The World