From smart check-ins to luggage-trackers, Internet of Things (IoT) is helping the global travel industry make all the right changes. Whether it’s airlines or hotels, everyone seems to have embraced this technology with a wide grin.
Wondering why? Because IoT offers a bag full of advantages; let’s discover them through this blog.
But What is IoT?
Before we move on to explore IoT’s benefits for the travel sector, let’s first understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) actually is.
IoT refers to a network of devices that are internet-enabled and interconnected. Such devices can not just collect but also share the information among each other without your interference. Furthermore, they are capable of performing tasks automatically. You can also access and control them regardless of your geographical location.
While smart speakers, television sets, wearables, and home appliances are examples of consumer-centric IoT devices; the commercial examples would be smart security systems, energy meters, as well as traffic monitoring systems.
By 2025, the world would witness almost about 39 billion IoT devices in use, as per Statista findings. That itself is fascinating!
Now Let’s See How can IoT Impact on the Travel Sector?
With such powerful technology, IoT offers rapid and seamless information-sharing capabilities as well as automation. For the travel sector, that leads to an exciting transformation in the way it operates and serves its customers, no matter if they operate locally or have global operations.
As a result, there is more personalization for travelers while for the companies, this technology helps streamline everyday tasks. Let’s look at all these benefits in detail.
Top 7 Ways in Which IoT can Benefit the Travel Industry
#1. Simplifying tasks through automation
Remember the time when daily tasks, such as helping the guests with check-ins and check-outs, bookings, or looking over the regular hotel administration procedures, would take hours? That’s not the case anymore and the credit goes to the Internet of Things.
IoT brings with it automated processes, simplifying and completing all these recurring tasks in minutes. The technology enables smooth planning, as well as the implementation of back-end administrative processes, including tour planning and customer data management, which not just saves the otherwise huge admin costs but also raises employees’ productivity. Letting them focus on more vital tasks that require personal attention.
What’s more is, IoT allows these different travel-related services to be centrally integrated, opening doors to unparalleled customer service. That in turn, improves customer experience, all without compromising the data security.
The key-less entry provided to guests by hotels or flight check-ins via smart devices, like a Fitbit watch or an Amazon Alexa, are simple examples of the automation IoT has brought into the industry.
#2. Enhancing the in-flight experience
What if we tell you that IoT can help notify when a passenger’s heart rate increases to a dangerous level? Yes, it’s possible through IoT sensors.
Airlines are leveraging on the IoT, installing IoT-based sensors on every seat. These sensors can gauge the passengers’ body temperature, stress, hydration, and anxiety levels, along with their heart rate. So, when a medical emergency arises, these sensors can update flight attendants, enabling them to take prompt action and provide the appropriate care just in time.
Additionally, the IoT sensors can also be used to enable the travelers to control the air conditioning and temperature levels of their seats as per their preferences. Moreover, IoT is being utilized to up the in-flight entertainment quotient.
For instance, Australia’s Qantas airline partnered with Samsung Electronics to offer its passengers immersive 3D experience in-flight of their destinations, airlines’ products, or movies through VR headsets. It’s a fun way to keep them engaged.
Integration of such an advancing technology results into a considerably safer, pleasant flying experience, especially during long and non-stop flights.
#3. Streamlining of different operations
Whether it is airports, hotels, car rental companies or travel agencies, all have to handle hundreds of different operations every day. With IoT, they can streamline all the varied processes without any hassles.
Consider the example of airports where they can use IoT sensors on the baggage of travelers. Such sensors can send notifications to the smartphone of the travelers when their luggage is closer by, cutting the confusion around luggage while helping them spot it easily.
At the same time, the use of such sensors and RFID tags also smoothen the customs and security operations, besides helping to prevent instances of losing the luggage, which is quite difficult to manage manually. The technology also minimizes the man-hours needed to complete such tasks.
Even the car rental companies can utilize this technology to track their fleet at any given time and undertake new bookings accordingly. In fact, the transport industry can leverage IoT as well for better management of their operations.
#4. Providing real-time information
Can you imagine getting to an unknown destination successfully without using Google Maps? No, right?! That’s the ease of navigation such real-time maps have offered us in our everyday life. In fact, we even tend to check the traffic and plan our routes accordingly on the app before heading out.
Similarly, the travel sector, too, can provide their customers with seamless real-time information through the Internet of Things.
With IoT-enabled devices and apps, travelers can not only check the status of their flights but also receive real-time information on the luggage and security check-ins as well as entry and exit-point related information. While that saves the travelers’ time, it helps the providers to better manage any last-minute change as it occurs, minus the chaos.
Apart from that, the real-time information can help tourists plan their trips around an unknown city hassle-freely. They can get real-time data about famous tourist spots, landmarks, the best time to visit, how to get there, as well as the nearest available public transport, seamlessly on their handheld device.
Availability of such information greatly smoothens the travel experience.
#5. Making the experience more personalized
The emergence of IoT has taken the customer experience beyond imagination. The technology has made it possible for travel companies, especially hotels and airlines, to treat each of their customers with a thoroughly customized experience.
Well, hotels can provide their guests with an in-room tab on arrival, letting them carry out and control essential tasks, such as switching the lights on and off, setting the temperature of their room, setting a television timer, and scheduling wake-up calls, all through a single place. An IoT-enabled technological device that requires just a tap on the screen.
If not a tablet, these controls can also be offered via IoT-enabled mobile applications which the customers can download on their own smartphones.
What’s more interesting is, such IoT-enabled devices can learn the individual guests’ preferences and maintain their chosen levels automatically.
As a result, the level of customer satisfaction escalates to a new high, leaving them wanting to come back for more.
#6. Improving maintenance activity
Besides improving travelers’ experience, IoT can be used by the travel industry for proactive maintenance of their devices and assets. Confused how? Let’s look at an example.
If a hotel has installed an IoT-enabled lighting system, the staff can get a notification whenever any light bulb begins deteriorating. That leads to a timely repair/replacement, sparing the guests from any inconvenience or unpleasant experience and hotel from poor service offering.
It’s difficult to achieve the same in a traditional set-up where the staff has to wait for someone to complain about a non-working light so that they can get it replaced/repaired.
In addition to that, IoT can also help determine when a part of an aircraft engine needs a service or a replacement and when the plane needs a fuel refill. Now that speaks volumes about how IoT can help airlines save unnecessary costs, delays, and time while considerably strengthening the security of the aircraft.
#7. Putting customer service as a central focus
IoT makes information centrally available as and when required. Whether it is about the guests’ bookings, preferences, or even a sudden change in the set tour schedule, IoT can offer only the most accurate data, at any point in time.
In fact, the technology, when combined with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, can help develop a robust communication channel for the travel industry with seamless information collection and sharing.
Thanks to such technological implementation, the travel sector, including airlines, hotels, and travel companies, become much more efficient when it comes to serving their customers.
This increased efficiency in services builds a positive impression on the customers’ mind, making them loyal to a brand. And as a business, you already know that an increased brand-loyalty can ultimately result in a revenue boost.
IoT has all the potential to enhance and expand the global travel industry from the bottom-up level. It checks all the right boxes – from great user-experience and flexibility to fulfilling the ever-changing customer demands and offering a seamless travel experience. So, it’s a win-win scenario for both the travelers as well as the companies.
However, before proceeding to integrate the technology for your business, take out time to carefully analyze your business requirements. That’s the only way you’d be able to make the most of IoT.
About the Author!
Varsha Solanki is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Space-O Canada, a custom app development company. She has 3 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. She spends her time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest technologies.