Amid ongoing unpredictable geopolitical dampeners, resilience and scale can be achieved through cloud computing, automation, AI and data security.

The latest World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report asserts that the travel industry in the Asia-Pacific region may be the only one to recover fully by 2023.

A major reason for this? China’s relaxation of her zero COVID measures that prevented her huge population from traveling to and from the country. 

Although it is always surprising, the regional travel industry has always tended to bounce back from previous shocks a lot faster than originally predicted. So, how will the hospitality industry embrace the welcome trend after years of pandemic strife?

Facing the challenges of travel rebound

The hospitality industry is facing two new trends:

  • Business travel combined with leisure (bleisure): With the spike in hybrid-working, the barrier between work and personal life is blurrier than ever. Whether bleisure means working during your vacation, or taking your family with you on a business trip, it is challenging hoteliers with new requirements including:

    • the type of hotel travelers want to stay at.
    • the duration of the stay.
    • preferred destinations.
    • guest services, among others.

    Travelers are already demanding more extensive use of technology such as self-service check-in kiosks, touchless systems, smart elevators and applications to control in-room settings and access hotel services.

    Guests in various polls have indicated they were more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology, and they were interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for customer service requests at hotels.

  • Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): Over the past decade, OTAs have become a significant player by offering more choices for places to stay; convenient price comparisons; and a consistent and superior digital experience. As such digital-first agencies become more prevalent during the booking experience, the massive traveller data they collect will position them to move further into the space of managing the end-to-end traveler journey.

As such, the region’s hospitality industry will need to adapt quickly and flexibly to the surge in demand and shifting needs of guests, especially as guest experience continues to strengthen as a key differentiator in an increasingly competitive landscape. How?

Laying the groundwork with cloud computing

Cloud-based solutions and Software as a Service (SaaS) models will be key in enabling the hospitality industry to succeed.

A robust network is an important infrastructure that provides the foundation for innovative hotel services and enables digital transformation. It is key to delivering communication services for staff and guests, as well as in-room-automation services to ensure a memorable guest experience. 

Ilya Gutlin, Senior Vice President (APAC), Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

A good network infrastructure primed for the digital age should be built upon three key pillars:

    • A high-performance “autonomous network” that can automatically provision network services and automate mission-critical network operations to allow IT resources to focus on enabling new guest services. In complex hotel environments, as well as in hotels with limited IT budgets, the automated network configuration eliminates manual errors and increases operational efficiencies.
    • Secure IoT provisioning and management enables hotel operators to scale up digitalization. It can integrate, onboard, and connect a massive number of IoT devices that are at the foundation of new digital business processes. It can also improve hotel operations and guest experiences with automated provisioning of IoT devices in a secure and reliable manner.
    • Business innovation helps hotels accelerate their digital transformation with new automated workflows, taking the effort out of labor-intensive or repetitive tasks. It improves staff efficiency and guests’ digital engagement with hospitality processes and services.

For example, in the Philippines, the Okada Manila Resort successfully deployed a converged network solution to provide a secure and stable network for up to 20,000 guests at a time. With an upgraded and scalable network infrastructure that provided high-quality connectivity in key areas such as in the gaming and retail spaces, the resort enabled guests to access personal and business data with ease. As all guest transactions were routed through a secure server, guests were assured that their purchases and data were protected. 

Stepping into the future

The world has changed. Adapting to address the new normal will be imperative to enable the hospitality industry to move forward through what has been a painful time of disruption. This includes investing in a digital age networking strategy to build a strong technological foundation that can empower digital transformation and reshape the engagement for the employees and hospitality experience for guests.