Technology is revolutionising all sectors, including of course the tourist sector. It has unlimited potential and is growing at breakneck speed.
And clients have changed. The word Millennials has become part of our daily vocabulary and there’s a wealth of data circulating regarding this showy generation:
- #Millennials: “Only 6% of this generation see publicity as a believable source during the purchase process. Rather, 99% go on what their reference group buy”.
- #Millennials: “91% of this generation feel that the privacy age has come to an end, their lives are now public and available online. One third stated that they don’t care where their data is stored”.
- #Millennials: “They prefer to buy an experience than a property. Their answer is a collaborative economy”.
- #Millennials: “By 2025 they will make up 75% of the world’s work force. 81% have a Facebook profile and 83% sleep with their phone next to them”.
But while we are still coming to terms with this generation, a new generation of future consumers is blossoming: Generation Z, made up of those born between 1994 and 2010, they now make up 25.9% of the global population. They are defined as being more realistic and selfless than their older brothers, they are not happy being the passive subject of a brand, rather they wish to produce its content.
All these new generations of consumers, as well as those still to come, wouldn’t be the same if they were not based on technology that seems to belong in the future but is already with us. We are faced with a technological reality where the use of tech in many fields is no longer a thing of the future, but rather the here and now, giving way to what has become known as the “fourth industrial revolution” or the robotic revolution. Let’s see some of the novelties in this field:
What are Chat Bots?
There is no doubt that the world of Digital and Virtual communication is here. It is said that Chat Bots will be the equivalent to Call Centres when there were introduced in the 60’s and 70’s. They came about as a solution to connect with the 75% of smartphone users worldwide who use instant messaging apps to connect with others. That we have become used to managing certain services without any human intervention, through an app, is a clear indication of the changes all around us.
Messenger Platform started back in March, when Facebook presented it as a beta tool to create bots and link them to messenger, placing communication between brand and consumer in the hands of this tool, eliminating all human participation, merging the future of instant messaging and social networks into one.
Microsoft has already launched a bot that managed social network profiles (@TayandYou), but within hours, picking up from what other Internet users were saying it became racist and aggressive and had to be suspended.
Given the service vocation in this sector, when applied to the tourist sector, everything that helps improve relations with the client efficiently, making their experience more satisfactory, is very welcome, even if this tech, which is still in its beta stages has a long way to go.http://zenbo.asus.com/
On top of the Chat Bots we have Robotics, where some companies are making giant steps, like Asus for example who recently presented their robot Zenbo, its purpose is to be a companion of the young and old of the household. It has some very interesting abilities and is available for under €550. Stop for a moment and imagine its possible uses in the service sector, there is a never ending list.
Virtual Reality takes off
On the other hand, we have Virtual Reality. We discussed it in a previous post, “Future clients, new scenes”, but this, without a doubt, is the year of virtual reality. While QR codes and Augmented Reality interact in physical spaces, adding digital elements to tangible reality, Virtual Reality is a completely digital environment that substitutes reality using lenses or other devices, so the user is completely immersed in a computer generated world.
This tech is now essential for companies as it is going to revolutionize the whole experience for consumers and spectators, and one of the sectors taking the possibilities really seriously is television, allowing viewers to experience fear, action or fantasy beyond the screen. TVE is a pioneer when it comes to applying virtual reality in its content, the 1st chapter of “El Ministerio del Tiempo” was released in this format in April.
We can guess what other industry is effectively making the most of this tech; the travel industry is using Virtual Reality as a key to create experiences, allowing the user to feel like they are enjoying a holiday before they actually go on holiday. For example, Marriott Hotels has created an experience for Facebook’s virtual reality glasses, Occulus Rift, that allows the user to see what can be enjoyed at the different destinations where the chain has hotels.
All said, Virtual Reality is here to stay and has become part of society without us even noticing, it’s all around us every day, it has become the norm in some types of media.
Beacon Technology, making the most of it.
A beacon is a small device, no bigger than a 50 cent coin, that transmits a short wave Bluetooth signal with a maximum reach of 50m. Even though it has a short reach so far the potential is enormous, creating great expectations.
PayPal has launched some beacon based projects that allow for mobile payment without having to proceed to the checkout, as an ideal alternative for Near Field Communication (that allows connections between different devices and is key in mobile payment development), as the beacons have a longer reach (NFC only activate at 20cm) and are iPhone compatible.
Here’s an example of what this tech can do:
We can all think of uses for these devices, for example placed in strategic locations round your hotel providing the client with useful information.
However, even though this all seems like good news, there are some alarmists worrying about the impact these new technological developments, hyper-connectivity and economy globalization will have on the structure of our society.
The more manual, repetitive jobs will suffer with the arrival of robots and modern tech, and artificial AI could make many qualified service professionals obsolete, instead, versatile employees with computer expertise and communication skills will be needed.
When it comes to our sector, it will be affected by the 4th industrial revolution, but we will possibly be one of the winning sectors as it is less possible to automate than others, the key to progress will be combining artificial and human intelligence.