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How Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom

While more educators are using technology in the classroom every day, there is no monolithic way that teachers are implementing new forms of learning, according to a study from Columbia University researchers published in the journal Teachers College Record. The study finds most teachers fall into four buckets: dexterous (24.2 percent), evaders (22.2 percent), assessors (28.4 percent) and presenters (24.8 percent). The study is using information from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Fast Response Survey System from 2009 in a report entitled Teacher’s Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools.

“There is a tendency to say that there are good users of the technology and bad users, but I found the opposite,” said Kenneth Graves, lead author of the study. “We need to stop pushing the ideal technology and start thinking about what teachers need and how context influences what teachers are using as opposed to seeing technology as a neutral act that doesn’t have any outside influence.”

Dexterous teachers report that they are comfortable with any type of technology and are ready to learn more through professional development. This is in contrast to evaders who are resistant to technology in any way. Presenters are teachers who use technology to aid with lectures and also guide students on how to use presentation software to produce written texts and presentations. Assessors are the most comfortable using technology for drill and practice software for use in areas such as math or reading.

The researchers found that teachers in low-income schools are more likely to be assessors and less to be presenters than dexterous. The study determined that low-income schools are more likely to have teachers who use technology in less meaningful ways.

Graves said he hopes that his study will help school administrators determine what is best for professional development.

“If you are principal and you know that you have a school of assessors and low-income students, it’s difficult to justify purchasing smartboards for every classroom,” said Graves. “You need to use context for the way that you purchase technology not based on trends. This perspective hasn’t been talked about in schools much where there is a data informed way of doing technology leadership in schools.”

Graves’s work is funded through grant from the American Educational Research Association. He said that he has plans to publish more research related to how school principals are using technology and looking at how to solve the digital divide through a “social justice lens.”


The Hotel Yearbook publishes two special editions on trends in the hospitality sector: Technology and Digital Marketing 2 min

On 10 April, The Hotel Yearbook is launching two specially focused publications. For the sixth year in a row, The Hotel Yearbook is publishing its annual look at key trends in technology in the hotel sector, and for the third time, it is also publishing an in-depth review of developments in digital marketing. Both of these e-publications feature editorial contributions from a wide range of experienced and internationally respected senior executives, consultants and academics.

Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 10 April 2019 – Technology is affecting every aspect of managing a hotel successfully, from security and reservations systems to revenue management and brand building. The Hotel Yearbook, a Swiss-based family of annuals addressing topical issues in the global hotel business, recognized this fact several years ago when it launched its first special editions: Technology and Digital Marketing. These two dynamic areas are the subject of the company’s latest publications, premiering today at HITEC Europe in Mallorca.

The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Technology gathers ideas and insights from two dozen senior executives, opinion leaders and academics from all over the world to ask, “What lies ahead in this fast-evolving part of the hotel business?” Among its highly respected authors are Floor Bleeker from Accor and Chris Anderson and Chekitan Dev, both from Cornell. Taking the role of Guest Editor in Chief of this edition was Prof. Ian Millar, Senior Lecturer IT at Switzerland’s Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

“This sixth edition of The Hotel Yearbook – Technology is an indispensible compilation of observations and insights concerning the tech trends impacting the way hotels are being managed today – and will be tomorrow,” said Prof. Millar. “It’s an excellent source of valuable ideas that hoteliers can put into action and benefit from.”

The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Digital Marketing is the second publication coming out on the same day. Guest Edited by consultant Martin Soler, co-founder of Paris-based Soler & Associates, it presents articles contributed by more than twenty experts and practitioners in this field, including citizenM’s Robin Chadha, ESSEC’s Peter O’Connor, NYU’s Max Starkov, and other leading academics from Cornell and Lausanne.

“Hotels have a rapidly growing array of digital tools and platforms they can work with when it comes to online marketing,” said Editor Martin Soler. “The Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Digital Marketing aims to give practitioners an overview of the changes, challenges and advances in the market, as well as show how digital marketing is being focused on the basics such as brand building and the customer journey.”

“These two new publications provide an excellent portfolio of ideas and insights into one of the most complex parts of the hotel business, i.e. using technology effectively and efficiently,” said Henri Roelings, founder & CEO of Hsyndicate, and publisher of The Hotel Yearbook. “Ian and Martin have successfully brought their experience and networks to bear on this task, assembling a stellar list of contributors from all over the world, each with valuable ideas to share. I’d like to thank them both, and I’d also like to express my thanks once again this year to HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals), our long-standing publication partner, for their fantastic support of our Yearbook initiatives.”


10 ways smart technology is reshaping the hotel industry

Smart technology is changing everything from the homes we live in to how our cities are managed. The hospitality industry is no exception. In many ways, the hospitality industry is leading the charge in the adoption of smart business technology. 

From operations to guest experience to marketing, smart hotel technology offers a variety of cost savings and revenue opportunities, and it is enabling hotel owners to reach new levels of profitability. Here are 10 ways in which smart technology will be reshaping the hotel industry in the very near future.

1. Smart Energy Management

Smart thermostats and occupancy sensors can monitor and respond to fluctuations in occupancy. Likewise, smart energy-management systems use sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to continuously analyze historical thermodynamics, local weather patterns and peak demand loads to optimize energy consumption in real-time, all year round. Smart energy savings aren’t just wild speculation. Smart energy-management systems can reduce hotel energy costs by up to 20 percent and generate some of the fastest payback periods in the industry (between 12-24 months). They can also significantly increase the resale value of a hotel.

The energy savings from Internet of Things technology is not limited only to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Smart lighting technology also enables hoteliers to better understand their energy needs, automate consumption and adapt to real-time changes in occupancy. Just as smart HVAC systems use occupancy sensors and machine-learning algorithms to continuously analyze demand load patterns and optimize HVAC energy consumption, smart lighting systems similarly allow hotels to set preferred lighting times, track occupancy patterns and improve overall lighting energy consumption throughout the year.

For instance, when the Chatwal Hotel in New York retrofitted approximately 1,300 lamps in the hallways, common areas, and 80 rooms, it saved more than 410,000 annual kilowatt-hours, equating to a 90 percent reduction in lighting energy consumption. Indeed, the Chatwal Hotel saved around $124,255 in the first year alone.

2. Predictive Maintenance

Just as smart EMSs enable hoteliers to monitor, track and optimize energy consumption, predictive maintenance allows them to use sensor data to identify wasteful or hazardous trends and alert maintenance staff before a given issue escalates into a much costlier one. So rather than waiting for a component to break down before being serviced or replaced, IoT technologies are enabling engineering staff to predict maintenance needs based on system usage, prevent system failures and reduce the costs of operating a faulty system.

A single leaky toilet can cost as much as $840 per year. Add to that the cost of water damage that occurs until the leak is detected. By monitoring water lines with smart, low-cost IoT-enabled water meters, hotels can see a return on their water consumption in about four years.

Similarly, some online management platforms continuously collect data related to HVAC runtimes for each unique room and assigns them efficiency ratings. This rating is an indicator of how quickly a room can be heated or cooled back down to the guest’s preferred temperature and provides engineering teams with critical alerts when HVAC equipment needs attention.

3. Smart Guest Experiences

No hotel can operate without guests, and for that reason, hoteliers can expect to see smart technology further shape guest experiences and expectations. Not only can guest data be used to help better accommodate guest needs, but in conjunction with occupancy sensors, it can also be used to automate guest interactions throughout their stay, reducing both friction points and labor costs. In this way, smart technology will continue to make it possible for hotels to predict and personalize several guest services based on previous visits and aggregated guest data.

4. Big Data and Big Data Protection

One of the main benefits of smart technology is how it aggregates data and makes it actionable. But with big data comes big responsibility. According to Cloudbeds, “Big data is great when you can use it to take action—whether that’s tackling a new market segment or adjusting your rate plans to compete against your competitors. However, the biggest concern around big data and the necessary data harboring is the safety around it. Every data harborer’s goal is to keep their customers’ data safe, but that’s easier said than done. In recent years, we’ve seen massive data breaches that have literally put hundreds of millions of consumers at risk—like Equifax and Target.”

As the price point of big-data solutions makes them more accessible to medium-sized segments of the hotel market, we can expect to see more hotel owners adopt and invest in them. More importantly, we can expect solution providers who can guarantee data protect to dominate their market segments.

5. Smart Reserved Parking

Hotels now can use smart sensors and hotel apps to allow guests to reserve parking spots in advance of their visit and to have their space assigned upon arrival. This will save hotels the labor cost of manually managing parking inventory and it will give guests a smoother experience from the moment they pull in.

6. Remote Check-In/Check-Out

By enabling guests to check in remotely through their mobile device, hotel owners can better predict/manage their staffing needs and save considerably on labor costs. This technology can also alert hotel staff when guests arrive (enabling them to spend less time on the welcoming process), offer appropriate upgrades/upsells, and provide them with a more personalized guest experience, even on their first visit.

At the end of the guest stay, travelers can enjoy a seamless self-check-out experience that also allows them to arrange for their preferred transportation to their next destination (whether it be taxi, airport shuttle or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft), further saving on labor costs.

7. Mobile Room Keys 

Today more and more hotels are offering guests room access via their smartphone app. This is saving costs from printing environmentally harmful plastic keycards and its eliminating the hassle of managing keycard inventory that is prone to loss and demagnetization.

8. Smart Roomservice

Smart occupancy sensors will also help hotels push menu notifications to smartphones at optimal times when the guests are in their rooms. These notifications can even include personalized suggestions based on past orders. Indeed, many home food-delivery apps already offer a similar experience, sending push notifications to frequent users at their preferred ordering times on their preferred days.

9. Smart Marketing Practices

Before hotels can deliver on a smart guest experience, they must bring guests through the door; that’s where smart marketing comes in. Data opportunities of smart technology offer hotels a more complete picture of their guests than ever before. Hotels that leverage data insight are the ones that will continue to succeed in the face of increased competition from Airbnb.

10. Online Reputation Management Technology

A hotel’s online ratings can not only help predict future bookings, but they offer owners valuable insight into how well a property delivered on guest expectations. Therefore, operators will continue to invest in platforms that help them monitor online reviews, manage their online reputation and use that feedback to improve both their operational and guest experience standards. Indeed, online reviews not only provide a source of direct feedback from guests, but they also impact a property’s bottom line.
These 10 trends are just the beginning. Other smart technologies such as customer surveys, smart loyalty-program management and smart hotel management will play a bigger role in how hotels operate in 2020 and beyond. The key to smarter hotel operations is implementing the right technologies that meet guests’ expectations and hoteliers’ needs to get to know these travelers better. 

As we move toward 2020, we can expect to see more hotel properties leveraging a variety of smart tech to reduce operational costs, improve guest experience and exploit new sources of revenue. The opportunity is in the data. The successful properties will be the ones that invest in collecting and analyzing it in an actionable fashion.


How Can IoT Bring a Change in the Hospitality Sector?

For entrepreneurs, any technological progress is always welcome. Evolution is inevitable and certainly, very necessary. Every such progress is driven by our ambition of living a simpler life. Humans like to ease their world and this fondness has brought about extreme expansion in the world of devices, increasing their efficiency and utility.

Hospitality is not a job, it’s a service. Hospitality industry always looks beyond incentives and works on the sole principle of prioritizing others’ comfort above our needs. Technology helps us do our work better and hospitality is one such industry where labour cannot be completely replaced by machine but both can work together to complement each other.

Internet of Things (IoT) And its Utility

Internet of Things or IoT is a recent concept in India. As the name suggests, inter-connecting devices through the web or some application or software are the basic idea here. Precisely, aiming at making our machines smarter and self-dependent, IOT can be one of the biggest boons to the hospitality industry. You’ll be surprised to know that the number of internets connected “things” already exceeded our population back in 2008. By 2020 this number is expected to reach 50 billion. A whopping $19 trillion is anticipated as cost-savings and profits from this investmentWith the latest Internet address standard (IPv6), there are enough Internet addresses for every atom on the Earth, according toCisco. This implies that management can actually organize their devices into as any smaller blocks they want to, increasing their efficiency. According to the sources, of all the businesses that chose to implement IoT, 94% have already seen a return on their IoT investments. Undoubtedly, if incorporated in the hospitality industry in the right way, IoT can prove itself to be a magician.

This industry is all about efficient organization. We deal in providing comfort to our clients; we participate in creating beautiful memories for them. Thus our work involves a firm sense of responsibility. If we, as hoteliers, seriously work towards implementing IoT in our respective businesses, we cannot imagine the kind of boom, the hospitality industry in India will undergo. IoT in hotels will bring about the following positive changes in our services:

  • Complete Personalization: One of the most basic expectations of guests is personalization. It is obvious that anyone would prefer services customized according to their needs and ease and it is our duty to provide the same. The concept of limited and default services is outdated. IoT can help hoteliers achieve guest personalization, much more easily. Connecting all the amenities and services, associated with a particular booking, to one application or device, can help us achieve our goal of personalization. When implemented strategically, guests would be able to control minor things such as air-conditioning of their rooms to major things, including entry to their rooms, through smartphones or tablets. This interconnection would also help the hotel management to understand the preferences of the guest and provide better services. In the case of re-visits by the guest, the hotel can make sure that the requirements of the guest are well taken care of, much before the guest actually checks in.
  • Better Monitoring:  Every hotelier will surely agree to the fact that at times, there are mess ups on our part. Not because we are inefficient, but because “to err is human”. A hotel houses several rooms and during the peak seasons, at times we do fall short of keeping up to our commitments. Basically, when the staff to guest ratio goes up, making us incapable of monitoring every service and amenity for every room and guest. We miss out on “up to the second information” of our appliances and thus things fail to go as planned. IoT can solve this problem forever. If all devices and appliances are connected to a single software or device, or to a designated software, even a minor fault can’t go undetected. We would have complete information about the condition of our appliances and their operating status. In case of any unusual performance by any appliance, IoT would alert the staff on time so that the appliance can be repaired or replaced, in time. Not only does this help the guests help avoid unwanted hassles but also helps the hotel to save expenditure on new appliances, regularly, due to lack of maintenance.
  • Surveillance and Access Control: Previously, hotels handed out keys to the guests to access the rooms. With time, the key got replaced with key cards. But, it’s now time to make the procedure even easier for guests. If access to different rooms is connected to one designated device or software, things take a better shape.  During check-in, guests can be logged into the application on their smartphones so that they can control the access to their rooms on their phones itself. Also, any kind of intrusion and trespassing can be easily avoided. IoT will also help to provide a safer environment for the guests. If all the surveillance devices are connected to one master device, the staff will get an instant alert of any unusual activity so that appropriate actions can be taken. Hoteliers will also be saved from hiring too many staff members. The technology will do the work of multiple labours, singlehandedly.

How does the Future Look Like?

We can vouch that the introduction of IoT in the working of a hotel, can prove to be a landmark in the hospitality industry. All of us should come together and adapt to this concept and technology for our own good. Hotels such as JW Marriott has already started incorporating IoT in their hotels. The investment might seem high end initially, but it’s worth it and sure to earn huge returns. Better facilities mean more guest satisfaction. When the guests are happy, your business is sure to flourish.

Like every other technology, IoT has its own set of problems but they are easily manageable. Since IoT is a form of networking, it’s prone to hacking. As the management, all we need to take care that our system remains protected against all kinds of malware and hacking viruses. Rest assured, a little sowing will yield a lot for us to reap.


Technology in the Hospitality Industry – Have We Gone Too Far?

The hospitality industry is changing, and is rapidly becoming super high-tech. While we can argue that this benefits guests—and it certainly benefits vendors—how much is it taking away from the guest’s personal experience? Theoretically, it should improve the customer experience, particularly through the use of data collected by using the various technologies. Let’s look at how guests actually feel, especially the Baby Boomers who look set to remain the most prolific travelers for the next two to three years, and see if the numbers support the theory that technology has improved the hospitality experience.

Since the early days of hospitality, the industry has operated on the principle of customer service before everything else. The warm welcome afforded by the Maitre ‘D on arrival at a restaurant, the personal service provided by a friendly concierge, and a rapid check-in from the Reservation Desk have all helped make guests’ experiences unique and fulfilling.

With the advent of technology, however, many activities previously performed by live humans have been replaced by automated methods, mainly in the attempt to streamline functionality and improve service. But is it really an improvement, or has the industry gone too far? Do these changes enhance the guest’s experience, or have we forfeited the true meaning of the word “hospitality” in the process?

How Times They Have a-Changed

The changes wrought by technology are far-reaching, and affect every aspect of our 21st century lifestyles. Hospitality is one industry where this is dramatically true, in so many more ways that the man in the street realizes. From start to finish, the experience is now facilitated by technological factors, many of which go relatively unnoticed. Here are some of the ways times have changed through the incursion of technology.

With the rising popularity of online reviews, hospitality guests now have the ability to research any venue to see what others have posted. Both review websites and social media platforms have become active gateways to global opinion, and travelers use these extensively to help them decide where to book. Research from Search Engine Land shows the reviews for companies in the hospitality industry are considered 48% more important and valuable than in other industries, which indicates the target audience takes online reviews exceptionally seriously.

Once a traveler has made their choice of destination, they can now search for the best hotel deals at the click of the mouse. Technology is shaping how lodgings and restaurants are found and booked, and aggregator sites such as Hotwire, Expedia, and are just a few of the digital platforms available for making online reservations. These have taken off extensively, with research showing one half of millennials, 26% of Gen Xers and 12% of Baby Boomers consider themselves “travel hackers,” which means they believe they know all the best ways to use technology for good deals. Chatbots on booking websites enable the user to ask questions without even getting up from the sofa.

On arrival at their destination, guests no longer need to wait in line for the key to their room. They can now check in and out using electronic kiosks, online and mobile check-ins. Automated payments and the use of smartphones for keyless entry, making requests, online purchases, or even placing room service orders makes self-service an attractive option. For anyone who thinks this is overkill, just try manually checking into a Las Vegas hotel on a Saturday at noon! The benefits of automation will soon become crystal clear.

One of the more remarkable technological disruptions hotel guests have had to deal with in recent years includes the introduction of smart appliances. Just as homes have been revolutionized through the implementation of smart technology, high-end accommodations are expected to have all the bells and whistles available. In 500 “connected” Hilton hotel rooms, for example, guests can now control all the functions of the room from a single device. Connectivity operates primarily through the chain’s mobile app, and manages the room’s lighting, temperature and TV. Guests can stream SHOWTIME shows for free through the app, without needing to input credentials or create a subscription. Anyone who prefers not to download the app can operate the same controls using a simplified, in-room remote device.

Apps are big in every way at present. A well-designed app can combine every aspect of the guest experience, from notifications about special deals to managing their loyalty program account. When a guest uses an app to book a room using a group conference rate, for example, the system can automatically send the conference itinerary and a map of the meeting spaces to his or her device.

In theory, hotel rooms equipped with Alexa, Siri or the like could enable guests to make voice-activated requests for room service, place an order, call housekeeping to ask for more towels, or request their car brought out of Valet Parking. And, of course, there’s the use of robotics and artificial intelligence to do things like handling the vacuuming of the room, preparing meals, and restocking the courtesy bar. Chowbotics is one company that has led the way in pioneering a whole new industry, through the creation of “Sally the Robot.” These robots can be located in a hotel lobby or guest-accessible kitchen area, and prepare meals such as salads, bowls and ethnic cuisine. While doing so, they also count calories, deliver precise portions, and serve up great food—all at a press of a button.

Many new smart-technology companies like Handy are taking Asia by storm in the hotel segment, by offering a complimentary device that provides 24/7 connectivity to hotel guest services and other travel information from any location.

We have also seen the emergence of cost-saving technologies that not only focus on guest loyalty but also reduce fixed costs and overheads. Newspapers, for example, have always been a “thorn in the side” of hotels and hotel companies, in terms of wastage and the challenge of importing these papers, especially for international guests. One unique company that has utilized technology well in this field is UK-based Gold Key Media, which offers a unique way of delivering newspapers and magazines. The company does this by offering a choice of options, including downloading direct from the hotel site itself. It also provides a customized, white-labelled platform for every venue, which offers value-added features such as restaurant booking and concierge requests.

Realizing the Benefits Offered by Technology

It’s easy to assume guests prefer the “human” touch, but we should be careful of making such assumptions. In addition to the statistics that show an undoubtedly positive response to technology, there are other benefits to be gained from the shift.

Security, for instance, is of paramount importance in the digital age, in terms of guest identities, address information, and financial data. Biometric authentication offers the most secure method of proving identity that’s currently available, and the hospitality industry has been quick to realize the need for this level of safety. With the use of fingerprint-activated room entry and facial recognition methods such as those used by the Nexus, Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check programs, this technology is still in the early stages, but future hospitality application is likely to include behavioral biometrics. Even if some guests don’t have a particularly positive reaction to the introduction of more stringent security measures, they mostly understand the critical need to have them, and they appreciate hotels paying attention to the matter.

Then there’s the benefit of data, which is already transforming the hospitality industry. Improving a guest’s experience depends on the ability to identify the individual guest’s preferences. The best way to determine these is by collecting data from first-, second- and third-party sources, combining and analyzing it effectively. The use of the various types of technology generates huge quantities of data, which when properly analyzed and managed, enables hospitality companies to personalize their service in a way guests have never seen before. Analysis of voided checks in hotel restaurants and bars, for example, can help management identify the cause of problems and take steps to improve prevent future guest dissatisfaction and losses. Tracking how often individual guests book hotel stays, the average length of a stay, their typical room service orders and the films they watch gives hotels the opportunity to personalize offers from meal choices to entertainment. This makes the guest feel doubly welcome and valued, and supports the belief that they are more than simply a number to the hotel.

Location-based services can also enhance a traveler’s experience tremendously. Remember the days when eager Boomers lined up at the concierge’s desk to get advise on places to visit? How much faster and more reliable is an app that automatically delivers a list of local tourist attractions to the device of a returning guest on arrival, based on data about their age, language and preferences?

The issue of climate change continues to hang over our heads like the proverbial Damocles sword, and even the most obtuse guest is aware these days of the need for energy efficiency. The use of technology such as motion sensors to regulate lighting and temperature provides a seamless way to ensure guests don’t waste resources, and it sure beats having to call down to the front desk and have a concierge come up to the room to change the temperature. While these controls have existed for a fairly long time now, the ability to manage them from a smart device even before the guest reaches the room has undoubted benefits for them.

What the Numbers Say

While it could be easy to convince ourselves that technology isn’t everything and hospitality guests really still want a personal experience, the numbers say otherwise. Baby Boomers remain the biggest target market for hospitality in 2018, with statistics from the AARP(formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) showing that this group expected to take 4 to 5 trips during 2018, compared with millennials who typically take 4.2 leisure trips each year, people between 31 and 35 years who take 2.9 trips and 46 to 65 year-olds who take 3.2 trips a year. The Boomers aren’t shying away from technology, either, in spite of what we’re led to believe by some media. According to the 2017-2018 Portrait of American Travelers Study from MMGY Global, almost all the Baby Boomers surveyed had used online resources to gather information for travel. AARP research, meanwhile, showed Boomers had used both direct websites as well as online travel agency sites to make reservations.

2017 report from Oracle Hospitality shows two-thirds of U.S. hotel guest respondents felt it was either “extremely important” or “very important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience. At the same time, however, almost 60% of guests preferred speaking to a human at the front desk or concierge office.

The Last Word (for now!)

In the final analysis, it seems travelers of all ages are keen to make the most of online hotel reservations and reviews. They understand the need for (and value of) using technology to support the guest experience, and although they are rapidly embracing many aspects of this brave new world, they still need to be able to consult with a human being if required. All of this indicates that while a hotel offering a truly connected experience is likely to be full of very happy, empowered guests, we can’t quite replace the human touch completely just yet. While technology will continue to play an important role in all aspects of the guest experience we do need to make sure that we do not bypass the human emotional experience that can get lost in the world of smarter and faster applications of hotel technology.

Hospitable guest interaction by management and staff can lead to a more engaging and emotional experience, however, than technology can ever deliver. Let’s hope we don’t entirely lose that aspect of our great industry over time.


How Brands Are Improving Customer Experiences in the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Technology has been steadily improving customer experiences (CX) across a breadth of industries, with travel and hospitality among them. But to truly see how CX marketing is changing how we vacation, consider how we now book trips. What once started with a trip to a local agent, who you entrusted to take your needs and wants—and hard-earned cash—and translate them into the excursion of your dreams, now begins with an interactive online experience where consumers can not only consider reviews from other travelers, compare prices, and even live chat with customer service representatives, but they’ll also get tailor-made recommendations on when best to fly, package deals to consider, and inspiring and informative marketing content on locales when they’re booking their trip on their own, straight from home.

Sounds good, right? But what exactly is CX? I’m partial to this definition from HubSpot, which looks at both the context of CX and what brands must do to create it: “If customer experience (CX) refers to the sum of every interaction a customer has with a business, both pre- and post-sale, the customer experience strategy defines the actionable plans in place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across those interactions.”

So how have technology and customer-centric marketing converged to improve CX in both travel and hospitality, and what can brands learn about improving customer experience from their example? Let’s dive in.

The Travel CX Is Not a Static CX: Prepare for Dynamic Customer Journeys

Technology is changing everything, from the way we book trips to how we experience destinations on the go. Think about it: You get a week off, so what are you going to do with it? A few years ago, you would have called a travel agent and said something like “I want to go to Ireland,” or “I really like vacationing by the sea. What’s on sale in June?”

Today, you talk to friends. You read travel guides. You browse TripAdvisor. And then you start searching—online. Maybe the bleak winter has left you tired and uninspired and you’re determined to get to Hawaii. In today’s market, you could end up at a branded resort on Waikiki, Airbnbing a spare room on a farm on Oahu’s north shore, taking a luxury cruise through the islands, staying on a houseboat, or booking a B&B package with a car rental. From the way you learn about the options available to you, to the ways people experience activities, all aspects of the travel experience have completely shifted as a result of CX marketing.

In large part, the customer journey has shifted from a chance to pick a standard trip to an opportunity to design a unique adventure. And in this journey, the touchpoints are nearly endless for consumers to discover brands, learn more about said brands, and ultimately make a purchase or enjoy products or services the brand specializes in. In a nutshell: The customer journey is no longer static.

So how can modern marketers continue improving customer experiences online while leveraging the latest technology? And what are some ways to look at this process systematically and creatively throughout the customer life cycle?

Social Data Powers Effective Competitive Strategy and CXB

As Aberdeen notes, “Customer journeys, however, are dynamic; customer behavior evolves rapidly, and so do the related journeys. Therefore, to keep up with changing buyer behavior, companies must have real-time visibility into customer journeys. Only then will firms deliver truly omni-channel interactions.” Hospitality and travel brands have found ways to gather real-time customer data and create feedback loops that feed that information into the CX delivery system. Typically, that starts with effective technology-driven data gathering to power a dynamic customer journey.

In hospitality marketing, strong data can make the difference between attracting a stampede of customers and struggling to fill rooms. Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International‘s VP of social and content strategy, wanted to find out if her ads resonated with audiences on social media. She went through marketing insight company TrackMaven, which joined forces with Skyword in late 2018, to get to the bottom of it.

In an interview with TrackMaven, Jackson said: “People come to our resorts not to have a bad time, people come to our resorts to be entertained, to be wowed, to be inspired, to be delighted. The opportunity to retell their stories on social media, the opportunity to inspire them to have great fun and experiences and make lifelong memories, that’s the absolute best part of my job every day.”

In part, Jackson and her team seize that opportunity by using customer data to inform a smart, competitive CX marketing strategy. The company also works to meet the needs of different tiered properties, with ad effectiveness being one area they wanted to explore.

“What we wanted to really see was whether or not our television commercials were resonating on social with our audiences,” she explained. “What we were able to do with TrackMaven was to go in and see the ads we set out on Facebook, (and determine) what was the role of that ad in terms of bringing new customers into the mix … we were able to see in Vegas a couple of months that we have a competitor in the marketplace who, for the first time, was going big into video. TrackMaven was able to show us how our video campaigns, even at the organic level, were resonating in a way that their paid campaign was not. And that’s a very powerful piece of data for us.”

MGM’s inquiry showcases a critical reality in today’s complex environment: Things happen quickly, so quickly that without real market data, you’re at a disadvantage. By using data-gathering and analysis technology, you’ll be able to better understand how effective your campaigns are and narrow in on what steps you can take next to better reach your customers.

Technology Helps Solve Common Complaints

Vacations are meant to be a great escape, not a stressful event. Yet, too many of us have wrestled with the horrors of bad travel—delayed flights, screaming baby seatmates, hotels with bedbugs, poor customer service across the board—to not be wary when booking, or even resort to praying the vacation gods will smile down on us for this one, much-needed trip.

But times are a-changin’, as CIO notes, “For an industry that has been resistant to incorporating evolving technology into the mix, travel and tourism is ripe for disruption that will touch on every phase of the customer experience, from arranging plans to discovering new destinations with a local perspective. Service providers will also benefit, but it ultimately depends on all stakeholders embracing the valuable technology ecosystems being touted by the newer entrants to the industry and their plans to shake the foundations of the tourism industry.”

Currently, the travel and hospitality industry is improving customer experiences by using emerging technology to address common complaints. Hotel guests who don’t want to have to call the concierge for a wake-up call or to get room service, for instance, can simply ask the Alexa device in their hotel room or make a request using a hotel app on their smartphone.

Disney made waves with its MyMagic+ band, which not only made it easier for guests to access their whole itinerary and pay in the parks, but the technology created a data collection feedback loop for the brand to take advantage of as well.

The goal of the tech team who developed the MagicBands was to “root out all the friction within the Disney World experience,” according to Bernard Marr at Forbes. Some ways the bands leverage personalized data to build these seamless experiences include having restaurant hosts greet you and your family by name or having your child’s favorite Disney character meet them in line for a certain ride.

By putting technology at the heart of individual touch points, resorts and other travel businesses are getting foundational aspects of their CX right

Liz Alton is a technology and marketing writer, and content strategist, for Fortune 500 brands and creative agencies. Her specialties include marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, cloud, and mobility. She’s worked with clients including Adobe, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Twitter, ADP, and Google. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA. She is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism from Harvard University.

As CX marketing moves to the forefront of business models, companies need better strategies for deploying technology that improves the customer experience. Gathering data, eliminating chaos in the customer journey, and taking a touch point application on implementation can turn technology into a powerful asset. For marketers, there are opportunities at all stages—prospect, buying in, experience, and post-purchase—to integrate technology and provide a personalized customer experience, which can help your brand earn stripes in the eyes of prospective travelers and truly stand out in this competitive industry.


On Chatbots and the Hospitality Industry

The premise of a chatbot is simple – automate communication and act as a window to access a service.

In the hospitality industry, one which is built around making the customer alpha, communication and information transactions must be smart, swift, insightful and analysable. Chatbots are hence the perfect tool for this type of communication and service provision. They live in messaging apps where today’s internet user spends a significant portion of his time, they are also cheap in the long run and can provide deep insights into customer preferences that can greatly improve offerings for the the customer, the alpha.

In 2017, the key players are still trying to figure out how to build the perfect chatbot – smart, capable of understanding complex semantics, and conversing with the customer as an experienced service rep would. Today’s chatbots, limited as they are by the available underlying technology have been deployed by several players in the hospitality industry – flight providers, hotels and more., a Nigerian OTA looks at existing and projected applications of chatbots and attempts to estimate the net effect that they might have on the entire industry in years to come.

Bookings and reservations

Brands that require that bookings be made – flights, hotels, tour guides and more are already rolling out functional chatbots. Using these bots is convenient, simple and gives an air of chatting with a friend. Hipmunk recently upgraded their chatbot to allow for group planning and chats on their Facebook Messanger based platform. It’s easy to see how this can be adopted for OTAs providing group tours.

Expedia and Kayak are some other early adopters of chatbots for the purpose of making reservations.

Learn user preferences

By silently sitting in the background, and potentially collecting information such as correlation between geolocation and time versus brand-specific actions carried out, smart deductions can be made as to the user’s behavioural tendencies and preferences. Also, past responses, questions and queries that the customer made can be automatically processed to give actionable insights into the customer. Brands can as a result offer personalised and customised services to the customer and increase the chances of delighting him and spending less to acquire each dollar from him than they normally would.

Customers can also be retargeted in the future with higher precisions. Brands are able to engineer a greater correlation between the time of the customer’s need, and the content and timing of chats sent with a marketing intent.

Upselling to clients

With chatbots, brands can more easily induce customers to make more expensive purchases, upgrades, and add-ons thereby increasing the chances of squeezing more value out of the client without appearing over enthusiastic. Products and services can be upsold or cross-sold through casual suggestions to the client.

Top-of-mind awareness (TOMA)

The modern day internet user spends more time on messaging apps than they do on social media. In the fight for users’ eyeballs, chatbots which mostly live in messaging apps therefore provide very great opportunities for subtle top-of-mind awareness campaigns. TOMA is defined as awareness campaigns aimed at making a brand the first a customer thinks of when asked an unprompted question about a brand’s category.

Cost effective customer support

Eventually, AI driven chatbots become smarter through learning. When they become sufficiently smart and are able to handle complex queries, brands spend less on the supervision of chats, customer support, and can dedicate saved funds into other segments of the brand.

Challenges & Controversies

As with most novel technologies, chatbots too have controversies and challenges tied to their successful implementation. A few pressing ones are discussed below:

Threat to existing jobs:

As in all forms of automation, job shifts occur and jobs designing and managing the automation always displace the jobs that previously ran the processes. Markets will always demand for more reliable, cost effective, and faster processes making these threats to jobs an occurrence that can be managed but not eliminated.


To tap into what makes chatbots powerful for brands – large audiences, they have to be sharecropped on platforms that host the most people thereby expanding the potential reach and influence of the brand. Facebook, Wechat, and Amazon Echo are a few popular platforms that host numerous chatbots. They are popular because people want to interact with brands on platforms where they already interact with friends. Understandably, this hands over reins of control to the messaging and voice AI giants, but it’s a reasonable compromise that should be made.

  • Privacy concerns:

Chatbots have the potential to offer so much personalised information and services that they might come off as intrusive. Care must therefore be made while designing them to handle information transactions at levels of personalisation that are at par with the target audience’s temperament toward AI. Helpful can easily become creepy.

  • High cost of build:

Chatbots can be expensive to build. In the long run however, they are almost always smart investments as they bring down operational costs, open up new opportunities for brands and help generate more revenue.

  • Lack of empathy:

Chatbots can come off as stiff or robotic. While this is not a problem for many, a few people are put off by it. Most primitive chatbots work like a search engine that search for some keywords that then trigger predetermined responses. AI driven chatbots are however more capable of handling more complex queries and conversing as a human would.


Chatbots are simple, ubiquitous, and highly effective. AI driven chatbots also become better and smarter with use so while the wide adoption by hospitality brands will create job shifts, it will also create new opportunities that will allow for better personalisation of experiences for the customer.

In one line, the hospitality industry will be benefit greatly from the adoption of chatbots.

Social Media Marketing in the Hotel Industry: Trends and Opportunities in 2017

Social Media Marketing in the Hotel Industry: Trends and Opportunities in 2017

As social media platforms gain traction in usage rates and become ubiquitous in day-to-day life through the proliferation of mobile devices, they are proving to be valuable marketing channels, especially when targeting younger consumers. Although several prominent hotel brands have begun to scratch the surface of utilizing these social media channels for marketing and bookings, the state of this practice in North America is in its infancy. Other technology giants around the world have already capitalized on this opportunity with their social-media, mobile-adept user base. Nonetheless, the mass adoption of digital payment in North America is likely to take place in the near future given that technology companies are actively working out the technological and legislative challenges. The advent of digital payment has the potential to create new challenges for the North American hotel industry, but with these challenges comes opportunities for those who have done their groundwork.

Hoteliers should embrace the new ways people are communicating and be ready for the changes in consumer behavior and expectations that are on the horizon. By being up to date with social media marketing trends and developing a dynamic online presence, hotel companies can quickly adapt to the disruption and achieve an early adopter advantage when attracting business from tech-savvy millennials.

Mobile Device & Social Media Growth

Globally, the number of mobile device subscriptions has seen exponential growth over the past decade. At the end of 2016, there were 4.8 billion unique mobile subscribers—65% of the world’s population. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 5.7 billion mobile subscribers, representing a mobile phone penetration rate of 73%. The growth in mobile device usage has transformed the travel and tourism industry; travel bookings are increasingly occurring through mobile devices. Consumer engagement has begun to shift towards mobile platforms, and rightfully so; the vast reach and worldwide interconnectivity of mobile devices make them a suitable platform for commerce. As mobile device penetration rates strengthen globally, consumer engagement through this platform is only expected to strengthen.

Social media usage is likewise on the rise. Today, digital consumers are spending more time on social networks and messaging platforms than ever before. It is thus important for hotels to have a brand presence and a marketing effort on social media channels, especially since social media marketing has been proven to be more effective than traditional marketing (when utilized correctly). Social media marketing allows for two-way communication between consumers and customers; this interactive element helps companies cement a long-term consumer following. Additionally, social media marketing supports the real-time promotion of new products and services, all while yielding measurable consumer data that can be further leveraged to target, engage, and grow a base of consumers.

Popular social media networks—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat—are steadily growing on a global scale. The following chart shows the number of active users over time on each of these social media networks. Most of these social media networks have achieved stellar year-over-year growth in daily active users; the only exception is Twitter, whose user-growth trajectory seems to have plateaued. With the rapid growth in these social media channels, the pool of potential consumers that they provide access to is also growing in tandem. Significantly, all of these potential consumers are directly accessible through marketing on these channels.

Social Media Marketing in the Hotel Industry: Trends and Opportunities in 2017 | By Jimmy Quach

New Opportunities from the Rise of Consumer Sharing

Digital media is ever moving towards greater consumer empowerment and content creation given the ease with which digital media (particularly photos and videos) can be transmitted through mobile platforms and the internet. As part of sharing their own content and experiences through pictures and videos, users are also spreading digital word-of-mouth about a brand, a product, or an experience to their personal networks, which can reach a substantial audience. Geo-locational tags and brand hashtags allow user posts to be found via metadata searches, thereby increasing the reach of such posts.

Hotels can capitalize on this trend by motivating consumers to use branded hashtags or specific hashtags that are relevant to a current promotion or event. For example, Starwood hotels launched a campaign in 2016 to encourage the #SPGLife branded hashtag on Instagram. Posts with this hashtag feed into the Starwood website’s guest gallery of user-generated content, where visitors can also book a hotel room directly via a link. A simple hashtag is effective because it allows users to easily discover related content through a search filter.

Influencer Marketing

In influencer marketing, an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation is used to sway someone’s thoughts and purchasing behavior. Although this method of marketing has been used for decades, the rise of social media platforms that allow for user-generated content has empowered more people from all walks of life to become influencers. Additionally, social media platforms have an added a layer of measurability to influencer marketing that go beyond mere conversions/sales, such as cost per thousand impressions (CPM), inbound links, and lead growth (number of followers, social mentions, etc.). With these added metrics, businesses can more accurately identify their return on investment against marketing dollars spent.

In 2015, Starwood Hotels experimented with Snapchat geofilters at some of its W Hotels to see how guests would use them. Geofilters allow users of Snapchat to add a sponsor-created geolocational tag to their photo or video message (coined “Snap”) that can only be used when sending a Snap within a sponsor-defined geographical area (e.g., within a 10-metre radius of the hotel). The usage rates and number of views for the geofilters were well above what Starwood had anticipated, indicating that Snapchat may be a viable option for future brand marketing initiatives.

Marriott Hotels recently launched a Snapchat campaign that features social influencers who created organic content on the brand’s Snapchat account to showcase the brand’s loyalty program and several hotels around the world. The social influencers also used their own Snapchat accounts to broadcast their experience to their followers, hoping to create brand awareness among millennial travellers in the process.

Opportunities for Personalization

Within the hospitality industry, improved personalization is coterminous with a higher level of service. As such, hotel companies are attempting to personalize communications by interacting with consumers through their mobile device. Mobile phones are often perceived as an extension of an individual, or as an intimate partner that accompanies a person into almost every aspect of daily life. Reaching an individual through their mobile phone thus has the benefit of seeming like a personal interaction. To capture this opportunity for more personalized interaction, hotel companies must become phone-friendly and create the infrastructure necessary to allow guests to interact with the hotel easily and meaningfully through their mobile device.

Personalization through the mobile phone ecosystem and social media platforms is constantly evolving. Personalization can occur on a broad level, such as an interaction between a brand’s social media channel and a consumer account, or on a more granular level, such as communication between a hotel guest and the hotel’s guest services team through a messaging application. From an advertising standpoint, several social media platforms have launched dynamic advertising whereby a consumer’s recent travel searches will trigger personalized advertisements, which present a touchpoint for possible consumer conversion (by a direct hotel booking, for example). This represents a critical opportunity for hotel companies, particularly since the use of online travel agents (OTAs) diminishes the profitability of a hotel. In 2016, IHG began using Dynamic Ads on Facebook to target “high-potential” customers with personalized advertisements—and live pricing—based on searches, which yielded an increase in the brand’s ability to reach relevant travellers and a lower cost per booking. In the big picture, social media channels are beneficial to hotel companies because they offer an opportunity to create personalized interactions with consumers, which can be leveraged to yield more direct online bookings.

Digital Payment Platforms: A New Opportunity

With the proliferation of mobile devices and internet access around the world, the use of digital payment has seen accelerated growth. According to Allied Market Research, “the global mobile payments market is estimated to reach $3,388 billion by 2022, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 33.4% from 2016 to 2022,” with the Asia–Pacific region accounting for most of this growth. The North American market, although far from mass adoption, is amenable to digital payment. Based on the 2016 North American Consumer Digital Payments Survey, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of digital payment options, and American consumers responded that they foresee being more likely to use mobile payment apps and mobile wallet apps in 2020 than in 2016.

For the North American hotel industry, the projected adoption of digital payment, along with the growth of social media users, is an opportunity for direct booking and quicker conversions directly through mobile devices. In China, for example, mobile payment has already become part of daily life—the country is advanced in this area relative to North America. The two major digital payment platforms in use there, WeChat Wallet and Alipay Wallet, have enabled digital payment through mobile devices and have had incredible success in adoption; this form of payment is accepted at almost all vendors in major cities. Notably, WeChat has evolved from a person-to-person messaging application to an all-in-one social-media, messaging, and digital-wallet application. The integration of a mobile digital wallet into the social media and messaging application has allowed users to send money to each other and/or make purchases entirely through the WeChat ecosystem. Through the account feed of a vendor, users can pay for not only restaurants and retail purchases but also such things as utility bills and public services, all through their mobile wallet. Through WeChat, vendors are able to offer discounts or reward loyalty points, thereby further incentivizing the use of the channel. For example, the Kempinski Hotel in Chengdu has launched a function that allows direct bookings through its official WeChat account and also provides a discount or an amenity to those using this channel. In the case of WeChat, hoteliers were able to directly tap into a pool of daily active consumers and generate conversions through the social media messaging platform.

In North America, digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal exist; however, mobile users lag in adoption. Traditional forms of payment, such as cards, are not yet seen as “broken,” so many consumers don’t see a need for change. As digital payment adoption is expected to grow in future years, it is important for hotel brands to keep up with consumer expectations. Given that the evolution of messaging applications into mobile-purchasing ecosystems has already started, hotel companies need to be in a position to provide digital payment options in anticipation of the change in consumer behavior, especially since this will be key to protecting the online reputation of the company. In Canada, a 2016 study into mobile wallet usage by the Nielsen Company found that 76% of respondents would switch to a mobile wallet as their primary mode of payment if all reward programs would honour mobile transactions, 75% would make such a change if more merchants accepted mobile transactions, and 74% would do so if rewards programs and mobile wallets could be integrated to redeem rewards instantly. Therefore, an opportunity may exist for hotel companies to integrate their rewards programs with digital payment.

In North America, hotels are slow in the adoption of mobile payment platforms that take the form of a digital wallet. Nonetheless, several hotel brands have implemented the use of messaging platforms that allow guests to interact with customer service agents and even property-specific guest service agents, and also book directly (but without digital wallet capabilities). Through brand-specific native applications, third-party applications, and established messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, hotel brands are experimenting with personalized guest communication, which will likely lead to a more seamless adoption of mobile payment at a later date. In 2014, for example, Starwood Hotels launched “Let’s Chat,” which allows guests to communicate with the company’s guest service team at more than 150 properties worldwide through WhatsApp, BlackBerry Messenger, or iMessage at any time, from anywhere.

Social Media Marketing in the Hotel Industry: Trends and Opportunities in 2017 | By Jimmy Quach

Moreover, Hyatt hotels was the first to provide customer service through the Facebook Messenger platform following the launch of Facebook’s Businesses on Messenger in 2015. Through the platform, Hyatt customer-service agents can help with bookings worldwide, and also respond to guest requests.

Social Media Marketing in the Hotel Industry: Trends and Opportunities in 2017 | By Jimmy Quach

Hotel brands clearly see an opportunity in tapping into the vast user base among these messaging platforms, and they are beginning to implement these platforms as a means of communicating with guests. The personal experience of messaging builds loyalty and guest engagement even as the messaging platform serves as another vehicle for direct bookings; however, the mobile ecosystem in North America has not gained as much traction as other markets internationally. Nonetheless, the continued growth of mobile devices and social media users is expected to align with digital payment in the near future, thereby connecting a pool of potential consumers with seamless mobile purchasing platforms once digital payments become mainstream.


The tactics and tools employed in social media marketing within the hotel industry are constantly evolving. Companies that are early adopters of new social media marketing tools hope to gain an edge over the competition; being first to the plate can yield success, but it is not without risk, both of failure and of squandered resources. For hoteliers to remain relevant in this dynamic field, it is essential to understand the pulse of current technology trends within the hotel industry, and be prepared for changes in consumer behaviour. A positive outlook remains for the hotel industry as companies continue to expand their scope of social media marketing. Meanwhile, the mass market is inexorably moving towards the adoption of digital payment; its anticipated convergence with social media and messaging platforms will generate new opportunities for personalization, engagement, and conversion.

[Infographic] Majority of Travelers: Need to Use Mobile Devices on Holiday Stronger Than Cybersecurity Risks

PHOENIX – University of Phoenix® today released the results of its summer travel cybersecurity survey, which found that while half of registered voters worry about cybersecurity risks while on vacation, 55 percent feel that the need to use personal devices outweighs those risks.

“Vacations are often a time when we let our guard down, which can leave us vulnerable to hackers who want to steal personal information,” said Dr. Kirsten Hoyt, academic dean, College of Information Systems & Technology at University of Phoenix. “Whether you are in another country or down the street, it is important for people to take precautionary measures when travelling this summer.”

Summer vacation is often seen as a time to disconnect, yet three out of four respondents say they bring their smartphone with them, and half check their devices at least once an hour. Despite using their devices often, very few take measures to prevent hackers from potentially accessing personal information: 54 percent lock devices when not in use, but less than half take other precautions, such as hiding devices when away (40 percent), updating antivirus software (39 percent) or changing passwords (24 percent).

According to the survey, stolen bank information is the top concern for registered voters while travelling, selected by more than half of respondents. Other major concerns include losing devices (48 percent) and contracting viruses on devices (44 percent), while less than a third are concerned about hacked email or social media accounts. Some people are taking steps to be more secure: 86 percent of those surveyed say they update security settings if hacked.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Half of respondents say using devices on vacation is as safe as at home.
  • Sixty-eight percent of respondents feel more secure using their phone’s hotspot versus public Wi-Fi.
  • More than half of respondents check email or social media while on vacation.
  • Forty-one percent of respondents post photos from trips on social media accounts while away from home.

“There are myriad ways your personal information can be compromised while you’re away from home; the best method to prevent it is to be aware of how you can be hacked and take steps to avoid that,” Dr. Hoyt said. “Vacations should be relaxing and fun, but in today’s world of connected devices, we always have to be alert.”

The Need to Use Smartphones and Other Personal Electronic Devices on Vacation Outweighs Cybersecurity Risks for Majority of Travelers

n Mobile Travel, Comfort Leads to Confidence in Booking

Apart from the advent of the Internet itself, no phenomenon has both captivated and terrified travel executives as has the rise of mobile. Its impact continues to evolve – but the implications are profound.

Phocuswright’s The U.S. Mobile Traveler in 2017report provides a complete view of the mobile traveler in 2017, including who they are, how they plan and shop for travel, how they use their device in-trip, and what it all means for travel brands and the industry overall.

What Travel Brands Should Understand About Mobile Travelers
The mobile traveler population has been growing each year as more travelers own smartphones and use them to plan and book travel. Today, two in three U.S. travelers have shopped or booked either air or hotel on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). Nearly half of those mobile travelers are under 35 years of age. But don’t count out older travelers – they too are driving the move to mobile. Mobile travelers are getting more comfortable planning on mobile, even as the population gets a little older. And with comfort comes confidence: 69% of mobile travelers feel they can find the same flight and hotel info on a smartphone as on any other device; 66% of mobile travelers are comfortable planning and booking a vacation only with a smartphone.

When asked if travel is a very important part of one’s lifestyle, mobile travelers in the U.S. were more likely to “strongly agree” than non-mobile travelers. Plus, they take more trips and spend more on travel.

For mobile travelers, travel is a big deal. And that means they should be a big deal for travel brands. Dig deep into who the mobile traveler is, explore mobile traveler trend, and more with The U.S. Mobile Traveler in 2017