Tourism is continually evolving socio-economic phenomenon and is actively contributing to the growth of the economy. Tourism sector entails a wide range of industrial sectors that collaboratively accelerate the tourism endeavours (Jaelani, 2017). In this assay, the accommodation sector is specifically taken into account for analysing the influence of the evolving technological interventions especially applications, artificial intelligence and social platforms. This essay maintains a key theme of the positive implication of the collaboration of technology and accommodation sector and also proposes the pitfalls that subsequently arise as a result of the overuse of the same. The major objective of the essay is to assess the viability of the trend and its influence in the tourism sphere principally the accommodation sector.
Tourism is being influenced by a varied range of factors that majorly incorporates the changing taste of the consumers (Olya & Al-ansi, 2018). In an increasingly competitive environment, the expectations of the consumer have also elevated. A trend is a shift in the direction which occurs as a result of the alteration in the needs of the customers (Huo & Wang, 2020). The demand for personalized experiences in the hospitality industry has brought a key change. They are nowadays not interested in the quick sell but rather look for long-term relationships. With the growing consensus about corporate social responsibility, customers are becoming more interested in the eco-tourism and are also impacting their purchasing intensions (Sigala, 2017).
This is impacting the tourism in terms of the transportation choices, due to the awareness regarding the sustainability and environment concerns, customers prefer the electricity-driven vehicles over the ones running on fuel. Technology is another key factor that is rapidly influencing the tourism and accommodation industry. Via technology, most of the consumers already review the location and read the reviews before actually visiting the place or the hotel. Also, most of the bookings nowadays occur via online booking websites. Machine learning technology has deeply penetrated in the industry and is revolutionizing the way the tourism industry operates (Sigala, 2017).
The accommodation industry is a key sub-sector that falls under the tourism industry. It is a type of service industry that food and drink service, theme parks, lodging and camping (Saito & Romão, 2018). Types of accommodation in this industry incorporate affiliated hotels which are a cluster of hotels that operate under the same brand. Other types of accommodation facilities incorporate Back of House (BOH), contract rooms, allotment, Average Room Rate (ARR), Run of House, Front of House (FOH), overbooking and inventory. Technology is increasingly impacting this industry and has improved the operations since the 1990s (Saito & Romão, 2018). The technology majorly improved the operations of this industry in terms of online booking and access. Comprehensive regeneration of facilities and services in the accommodation sector of Australia has become possible as a result of the improved technological advancements.
Artificial intelligence signifies the employment of the intelligent behaviours of computers. It is deployed for the key tasks in the accommodation industry (Ivanov, Webster & Seyyedi, 2018). Its primary benefit of employment in the accommodation industry is the fact that it has fastened the traditional human operations. It assists in delivering a superior experience to the customers by eliminating human errors and saving time. One of the key advantages of Artificial Intelligence is that it assists in responding to the queries of the customers in minimal time.
A ‘Connie’ named robot as developed by Hilton Hotels for guiding the customers about the tourist destinations (Lee, Kwag & Ko, 2020). It is a fine piece of Artificial Intelligence as it can learn from human speech. Artificial Intelligence is known to provide customer-centred services in the hospitality sector. Chatbots and messaging are some other plus points of the Artificial Intelligence which have made direct messaging and responding to the requests of the customers quite easier. In future, it can be further used to create the robots for delivering the in-room guest experience. Sensors can be attached in the windows that can automatically with the dawn switch the lights on as an alarm.
For streamlining the operations at the physical venues, the accommodation industry is now relied on mobile applications. Customers make use of the applications before actually booking the hotels and accommodation facilities so as to gain an insight into the location, food and ambience.
For gaining competitive advantage, hotels and resorts are increasingly making use of applications such as POS systems to align their operations. Some of the key POS systems employed within the industry are TouchBistro, AccuPOS and Revel Systems (Nurbadi et al. 2019).
An application acts as a dialogue between the accommodation facilities and the customers and hence facilitates the continuous flow of communication. This trend has made hospitality more mobile and fast and has made it easier for the customers to find the best deals running within the industry. In future, the apps can be customized in such a way that it will allow the customers to not only get details about the rooms but will also provide the details regarding travelling, best packages and visitation sites.
Social Media Platforms
Nowadays people are actively engaging in social media. The most common social media platform is Facebook. In the year 2019, it was observed that on an average visitation of once in four weeks, a total of 17.1 million Australians were recorded (Jones, Robinson, Barrie, Francis & Lee, 2016). This clearly signifies the popularity of social media platforms. Hence, it has influenced the hotel and accommodation facilities to consider it as a major source of marketing. Most of the customers today use social media search engines as a way of planning their trips.
This is the reason that social media platforms become have become a key way of promotions. It has transformed the accommodation facilities to rely more on the visual content of social media for promotions. TripAdvisor and Instagram are some of the other platforms where the marketing is done considering the popularity and ease in access to the customers. Social media can further impact the accommodation in terms of marketing; it can be employed by the industry to build discussion forums where live videos can be demonstrated to the customers.
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
In the last few years, AR has emerged as a potential technological advancement that has influenced the marketing tactic in this industry. It has made the accommodation industry market by selling the physical environment by enhancing it. AR plays a key role in motivating the consumers’ decisions regarding staying (Nayyar, Mahapatra & Suseendran, 2018). Travel motivation encapsulates the intrinsic reasons that are responsible for motivating a customer to travel (Vidon & Rickly, 2018). Travel motivation is subsequently influenced by AR as it encourages the customer to visit a place viewing the soothing images. VR, however, replaces the real environment with the virtual one and poses a striking impact on the customers. In future it can be employed so that the details that the customers tend to ask are resolved by the implementation of VR and AR, this is so because they provide fine details to the customers prior to their visitation (Nayyar, Mahapatra & Suseendran, 2018).
This term refers to the loss of jobs that occurs as a result of technological intervention. Authors Ivanov, Webster & Seyyedi (2018) have criticised the increased intercession of Artificial Intelligence in the accommodation. The sole reason is the loss of job prospects for people. It also results in the financial volatility of the worker and majorly hits the low-wage workers. It can be inferred from the criticism that though the jobs are being swept away, it is also bringing the new job opportunities that involve designing the Artificial Intelligence systems. The labours can be provided with the technical skills training so that they can effectively coordinate in the machinery-related zone. However, it cannot be ignored that for the low-wage workers, this technology has replaced numerous opportunities.
Security and Privacy Threats
With most of the operations occurring via online medium, it has become imperatively necessary that the security of the online data and transactions is maintained. In many operations of booking via applications, the third party are involved, in such cases the risk further elevates. This risk can be however mitigated if the strict regulations are adhered to. Making payments by an online booking system that is integrated with the booking engine or PMS must be done. This ensures that the digital authorization is more secure (Lin & Liao, 2017). Digital wallets can be further used to ensure safe transactions. Robust encryption is another tactic for the same.
Issues in Data Management
By assimilating the bundles of data of the guests, managing and sorting the relevant data often becomes a tough task and a pitiable glitch can result in the failure of the complete system. As the data increases, the accountability of the back office management inflates exponentially. Authorization for data access is a major concern in data management (Lin & Liao, 2017).
Criticism in the context of data management is a valid issue and can be resolved by the inauguration of an edge-leading technology (Lin & Liao, 2017).
Tourism sector encompasses a broad range of industrial sectors that collaboratively stimulate tourism activities. In this assay, the accommodation sector is specifically analysed in the context of technology. The key aspects related to technology; impacting the accommodation industry involves Artificial Intelligence, AR and VR, social media platforms and applications. It can be inferred from the essay that with the positive impact they are also accompanied with the negative implication which can be eradicated by the incorporation of edge-leading technology in data management and encryption in the data security. The essay has effectually brought forward the interaction of the accommodation industry with technological advancements.
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