Technology will be part of the ‘new normal’ says tourism expert

GlobalData’s Ralph Hollister says hotel chains should start looking into robotics post-COVID-19

Technology will help in making things such as social distancing much easier
Technology will help in making things such as social distancing much easier

As national infection rates start to decrease across the globe, hotel companies are starting to look to what the industry may look like when demand eventually returns to pre-pandemic levels. The hotel industry may experience some of the most permanent changes within the tourism sector, being led through advanced technology.

The increased use of no-touch technology in a range of operations for hotels may become permanent. The use of automation in the industry has been growing swiftly in recent years, but many more touchless options will be introduced due to COVID-19. Options may be introduced such as contactless fingerprints instead of room keys, or the use of iris and face recognition when checking in to a hotel.

The increased use of service robots to limit the frequency of human contact in a hotel may also be implemented by larger chains. The application of service robots in the hotel industry is on the rise and has been for several years. With the added factor of a need to reassure potential guests that their stays will safe through minimal social contact and human interaction, service robots may now be seen by guests and operators as less of a gimmick and more as a necessity.

During the lockdown period it is likely that major hotel chains have been planning for ways to ensure their recovery period is as short as possible, it is extremely likely that the usage of robotics and other forms of advanced technology has come up in conversation.

Although the initial expense will be costly, introducing forms of advanced technology that will limit the frequency of human contact in hotels will act as a key unique selling point. This strategy will also be likely to build positive sentiment around a company’s image, as they will be seen as acting proactively in order to ensure guest safety.

Ralph Hollister is an analyst in the travel and tourism division at GlobalData. He specialises in the creation of thematic reports, mainly in relation to major technology themes in the tourism industry. Additionally, he produces PR insight in regards to breaking stories in travel & tourism and outlines key trends in travel, especially in niche/emerging forms of tourism.

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