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Digital trends in the travel industry
In the digital age, technology is revolutionizing what until today has always been considered usual practice in the hotel industry. To keep up with the latest trends, hotels have to embrace new technologies, not only to surprise the guest with innovative and still not widespread tools in the hotel industry, but above all to understand what will be the guest experience of the future.
Hospitality pioneers, such as the Hilton and Mariott chains, are already adopting some of the technologies that will become key players in 2019, some of which may be fads, while others may really revolutionize the concept of hospitality and customer experience.
Below is a short list of technological trends that are spreading in the hospitality world and that will take place in 2019:
Internet of Things - IoT
The Internet of Things is currently used in various sectors, even if the hotel industry seems to be the one most prone to take advantage of it. IoT means the addition of connectivity to existing products and services, which enables them to send and receive data. Thanks to the IoT it is possible to reduce the power of the light bulbs during day hours, switch off the heaters when the rooms are empty or when they reach a certain temperature or can be used to optimize the temperature automatically before the guest arrives.
Applied within hotels, IoT offers significant advantages: it improves the guest experience, reduces costs by saving energy and decreases manual staff operations.
Artificial intelligence - AI
Artificial Intelligence can be applied in different ways: chat boxes, robots and voice assistants.
Chat boxes provide online answers to the questions and requests of customers using artificial intelligence. They are usually simple questions that can be answered without human intervention: this means replying faster and leaving more time to staff to deal with difficult tasks such as handling complaints or solving urgent issues.
The robots equipped with artificial intelligence have been introduced this year by Hilton, these "smart" robots answer the questions of the receptionist, such as inquiries about hotel services. In Japan there is a hotel entirely managed by robots: entry into the rooms is guaranteed by a facial recognition system, the same one used for check in; robots welcome guests at reception, bring suitcases in the room and respond to all guest needs (in different languages) establishing an eye contact and interpreting body language.
Voice assistants with artificial intelligence are also spreading in hotel rooms: Amazon's Alexa for Hospitality is a cylindrical device that allows the guest to request room service, turn on the lights, set the alarm, leave messages to housekeeping, ask for information about the hotel, call reception, put on the music and many other activities. In the future, Amazon will allow guests to log in to their personal Alexa, in order to have their own preferences already saved within the artificial intelligence system. However, this technology is raising privacy concerns because the device could record conversations guests have in the room.
Another digital trend in the hospitality industry is the use of recognition technology that includes: face recognition, fingerprinting and retina scanner. Its usage in hotels is varied, this technology is mainly used to speed up payments at check out, automating all procedures. Accor Hotel has invested in the use of facial recognition to replace magnetic keys, giving the opportunity to recurrent customers to experience this new system and provide comments to improve the application. The goal is to implement a technology that will allow guests to abandon the use of cards to access the room, speeding up the procedures upon arrival and increasing the quality of the guest experience.
Virtual reality is about transporting people in a digitally created environment. Its uses in the hospitality industry are mainly two: it can be used to give the possibility to the future guest to interact with the hotel spaces before making the reservation or it can be used as an entertainment service for hotel guests.
Some chains use virtual reality on their websites to allow users to see a preview of their rooms through 360-degree tours while travel operators use this technology to provide virtual experiences of the destination and local attractions.
Mariott also uses virtual reality as an entertainment tool, guests can order a VRoom Service to have in their room a case containing the virtual reality kit and be transported in digital world from the comfort of their hotel room.
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality under multiple aspects, but if the virtual one completely changes the surrounding environment to the user, augmented reality instead "increases" the real world, usually with graphs or overlays information visible via smartphone. This technology can also be used in the hospitality industry to surprise the guest. For example, a map hanging on the wall of the hotel can become interactive and offer the visitor additional information on local attractions directly on his smartphone. These "fun" technologies are becoming increasingly important for hotel marketing, even though are nowadays they are mainly used by big brands.
Almost all consumers have a smartphone and increasingly using them to manage a wide variety of activities, from calling the taxi to ordering food. Hotels must understand this desire and provide their guests with a service that meets their needs; this is why it is very useful to create a dedicated app or use already existing apps to make sure that guests can book a table at the hotel restaurant, order room service or book a massage at the spa. While self-service can improve customer experience, the app can also be used to create loyalty programs, generating repeated stays. Furthermore, this technology goes hand in hand with the Internet of Things mentioned above, allowing the guest to control heating and lighting always from the app.
Many of the technologies listed above are still not widespread in the hotel industry and some are for the exclusive use of large chains. In general, in addition to the most innovative digital trends, the most popular technologies by travelers are those easy to use and useful to solve the difficulties encountered such as: accessing the property without using keys, travel guides with personalized recommendations based on guests’ preferences, digital concierge or hotel app. After all, technologies are meant for this, to simplify the lives of users. Not all of the technologies listed will become widespread in the hospitality industry, but it is clear that digitization is bringing significant changes in the hotel system. Equipping oneself with tools that enhance the guest experience thanks to an efficient and fast service is certainly at the core of quality.
We have been creating complete and highly specialized technological solutions for the hospitality industry since 1995.
Having an exclusive focus on a single industry, our investments have always been entirely dedicated to the development of our software and innovative applications for hotel and restaurant management.
The experience gained over the years, together with what we acquire on a daily basis by being in contact with hospitality professionals, allows us to understand the real needs of the sector and to develop, based on new market trends and regulations, flexible and scalable solutions that can be customized according to the needs of each property, from independent ones to chains.
INFORMATION about the processing of personal data
Arts. 12 et seq of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)
Subject: information about the processing of personal data pursuant to arts. 12 et seq of Regulation (EU)
Introduction - Regulation (EU) 2016/679 («General Data Protection Regulation»), hereinafter GDPR) provides safeguards for natural persons with regard to the processing of their personal data. In accordance with the above legislation, the processing of personal data that refers to an identified or identifiable natural person, being the “data subject”, is based on the principles of correctness, legality and transparency, as well as the protection of confidentiality and the rights of the data subject.
This information is provided in compliance with the above Regulation to inform you that, with regard to your customer relationship with our organization, we hold certain data about you that was acquired, verbally or in writing, either directly or via third parties that carry out operations concerning you or that, in response to your requests, acquire information and provide it to us.
Pursuant to the GDPR, this information must be treated as “personal data” since it relates to you and must therefore benefit from the protection provided by the above Regulation. More specifically, in accordance with the Regulation, you are the data subject who benefits from the rights that safeguard your personal data.
Pursuant to arts. 12 et seq of the GDPR, as the Controller, our organization will process the personal data provided by you with the utmost care in compliance with the Regulation, implementing effective operational procedures and processes in order to guarantee the safeguards that protect the processing of your personal data. For this purpose, using material and operational procedures to safeguard the collected data, we undertake to protect the information provided, in order to avoid unauthorized access and disclosure, maintain the accuracy of the data and guarantee its appropriate use.
Consistent with this introduction, the following information is provided:
Collected personal data - Our organization, as the Controller, uses your personal data to carry on our business activities in the best possible manner.
You may be requested to provided some or all of the following data:
Length of time that your data will be retained - The collected data will be retained for the entire duration of the relationship or collaboration with our organization, and for 10 years after the end of the relationship. If during the contract period, data is processed that is not relevant to the administrative-accounting obligations arising under the contract, such data will be retained for the time necessary to achieve the purposes for which it was collected, and then deleted. You will be given specific information about the length of time that your data will be retained when the data is collected.
Mandatory or optional nature of providing data and consequences of refusal – The essential data needed to execute the contract must be provided to us, together with the data required to fulfill legal, regulatory and EU legislation obligations, as well as instructions from competent authorities and supervisory and control bodies.
Non-essential data, not required for execution of the contractual relationship, must be identified and considered additional information whose provision, if requested, is optional. Your refusal to provide such data would however mean that our organization will be less efficient when dealing with third parties.
Should "data that is sensitive or whose processing is subject to specific risks” be needed in order to carry out the contract, provide specific services or fulfill legal obligations, the provision of such data will be mandatory and, since it can only be processed following written consent from the data subject, you will have to give consent for its processing.
Methods of processing – Pursuant and consequent to arts. 12 et seq GDPR, the personal data that you provide will be recorded, processed and retained in our hard-copy and electronic files, in compliance with the adequate technical and organizational measures specified in art. 32 GDPR. The processing of your personal data may consist in any operation or series of operations described in art. 4, para. 1, point 2 GDPR. Personal data will be processed using suitable tools and procedures that guarantee security and confidentiality. Such processing may be carried out directly and/or via delegated third parties, both manually using hard-copy support and electronically using IT equipment and other instruments. In order to manage properly the relationship and fulfill legal obligations, personal data may be included in the internal documentation of the Controller and, if necessary, in the documents and registers required by law.
Activities which may be entrusted to external parties - When carrying out our activities as the Data Controller, we may occasionally request other operators to perform certain services on our behalf, such as processing or other services; services needed in order to carry out requested operations or activities; shipments and deliveries; accounting registrations; administrative activities. If the operator appointed by the Controller to carry out certain activities is a company that provides payment, tax collection and treasury management, banking and financial brokerage services, the following services may also be supplied: mass processing of payments, notes, checks and other securities; sending, placing in envelopes, transportation and sorting of communications; filing of documents; identification of financial risks; control of fraud; credit collection. The above operators will only be given the information needed to provide the requested services. They will be required to maintain confidentiality and forbidden to use the data provided for purposes other than those agreed. Operators that are not persons in our organization tasked with processing personal data will be appointed as Data Processors (pursuant to art. 28 GDPR) and will process the data to the extent strictly necessary in order to provide the requested service and solely for that purpose, guaranteeing that their persons tasked with processing have signed a confidentiality agreement. For any matters not indicated herein, these operators must provide specific information about the processing of personal data carried out by them.
Transfer abroad of personal data - The data provided by you will only be processed in Italy. If during the contractual relationship your data is processed in a non-EU State, your rights under EU legislation will be guaranteed and you will be informed on a timely basis.
Purposes of processing your personal data - The main purpose for which our organization will process your personal data is to enable the relationship described in the introduction to become established and/or develop, as well as to ensure that it is administered correctly.
In particular, the following purposes of processing are identified:
Personal data will be processed to fulfill legal obligations, as well as the administrative, insurance and tax obligations envisaged under current legislation, to satisfy accounting and commercial needs, and to fulfill in a timely manner the contractual and legal obligations deriving from the contractual relationship with the data subject. The data provided may also be used to contact the data subject in the context of market research relating to the products or services, or in the context of commercial campaigns or offers. The data subject is free, in all cases, to refuse consent for such purposes and also to specify the manner in which to be contacted or to receive commercial information.
Extent of knowledge of your data - The following categories of data processors or persons tasked with processing by our organization may become aware of your data:
Personal data may also become known by parties that have agreements with us, as indicated in the section entitled “Methods of processing”. We may delegate the fulfillment of certain obligations or deeds to such parties, for the purpose of executing the contractual relationship with the data subject.
Communication and dissemination - Our organization may communicate your data externally, i.e. make it known to one or more specific parties, in order to fulfill all required legal and/or contractual obligations. In particular, your data may be communicated to:
We may communicate your data:
In all cases, your data will only be communicated to operators in order to contribute to fulfillment of the contractual relations that may arise with the data subjects concerned.
Dissemination - We will not disseminate your data indiscriminately, i.e. we will not make it known to unspecified subjects, or make it available for use or consultation.
Trust and confidentiality - We recognize the importance of the trust shown by data subjects who consent to the processing of their personal data and, therefore, we undertake not to sell, hire or rent such personal information to others.
Any debt collection activities and/or communication of omitted payments – Following the signing of the contract for the provision of services, our organization may use the contact details you provide (in particular phone number and email address) in order to undertake reminder activities with reference to debt collection and omitted payments. These communications can be made via email, certified mail, phone call, SMS and WhatsApp. The contact data collected for the purpose of this paragraph will be kept for the entire duration of the relationship or collabration with our organization and in any case until the balance of all payments due on the aforementioned contract.
Rights pursuant to arts. 15 et seq GDPR - Pursuant to art. 15 GDPR, you are entitled to obtain confirmation of whether or not your personal data has been processed, even if the results have not yet been recorded. Exercise of this right depends on verification of the identity of the data subject, by presentation of an identity document that will not be retained by our organization, but merely checked to verify the legitimacy of the request.
You are entitled to access to your personal data and the following information:
If the data is transferred to another country or to an international organization, you are entitled to be informed about the existence of adequate guarantees pursuant to art. 46 GDPR.
You are entitled to request the controller to amend or delete your personal data, in whole or in part, or to restrict the processing of your personal data or to object, in whole or in part, to its processing.
To exercise these rights, contact the “Data Controller” for our organization at via Adriatica n.62 – 47843 Misano Adriatico or call +390541604894 or write to the firstname.lastname@example.org. The Controller will respond within 30 days of receiving your formal request.
If your rights concerning your personal data are infringed, you may complain to the competent authority:
“Guarantor for the protection of personal data - Garante”.
Identification details of the Data Controller and, if appointed, the Representative in the territory of the State and the Data Processor.
Controller - This organization is the Controller of processing: ERICSOFT ITALIA SRL with registered offices at via Adriatica n.62 – 47843 Misano Adriatico; Tel: +39 0541604894; fax: 0541604862; certified e-mail address: email@example.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data Protection Manager – The Data Protection Manager is Mario Brocca, who can be contacted at +39
0371/5943191 - email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Data Processors - The Data Processors are external firms with which contractual relations have been established, and which need your personal data in order to fulfill those agreements.
Each data subject may send a letter to the Data Controller, at the above address, requesting information about any Data Processors that have been appointed and to be informed about any persons appointed to perform that function in future.
Please note that the above Data Processors are not responsible for fulfilling requests from data subjects to exercise their rights pursuant to arts. 15 et seq GDPR. That activity is carried out exclusively by this organization as the Data Controller.
Representative in the territory of the State - Pursuant to art. 4, para. 1, point 17 GDPR, it is confirmed that none of the related circumstances envisaged in the Regulation are applicable and that, accordingly, our organization has not appointed any Representatives in the territory of the State for the purpose of applying the regulations that govern the processing of personal data.
Processing without need for consent from the data subject - Even without your consent, this organization is entitled to process your personal data should it be necessary in order to:
Furthermore, your express consent is not required when the processing:
Il TITOLARE del Trattamento
ERICSOFT ITALIA SRL
helpdesk: 365 days a year
from 8:00am to 8:00pm
Offices: from Monday to Friday
from 09:00am to 01:00pm and from 02:30pm to 06:00pm
Address: S.S. Adriatica 62, Misano Adriatico (RN)