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Quantum leap into a new kind of machine learning

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·21 February 2018
In a series of articles, starting today, theoretical physicist Joerg Esser ponders the question: is quantum machine learning the next step in the AI journey and should businesses be worried yet? When I sat my doctoral exam 20 years ago, I was asked about the potential impact of quantum computing and whether this theoretical idea would ever become a reality. At the time it was impossible to say, but ever since I have been following developments in this exciting field with interest.

Urban flying taxi to get lift off on a blockchain

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·20 February 2018
Pamela Whitby has been looking at applications for blockchain technology and hears that success is most likely in entirely new markets With the hype around blockchain in travel reaching fever pitch, why not toss something else into an already complicated equation – an initial coin offering (ICO) for an electrically charged flying urban taxi.
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5 sirens that could signal the wrong kind of change

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·19 February 2018
Embracing new technologies and strategies may seem like a good idea, but Tom Bacon is worried that, without clear direction, airlines could end up on the rocks With rapidly changing markets and technology, leaders in every industry are advising: ‘Embrace Change’. The travel industry is no different.
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Headwinds for online travel's big guns

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·15 February 2018
Wall Street prefers the term 'headwinds' to 'problems', and there are an awful lot of them in the travel stories coming out of brokers at the moment. The numbers show that the Big-Three, but especially Expedia, are being hit heavily by marketing and technology costs at a time of rising fears of the threats from the major tech groups - Amazon, Airbnb and Alphabet. Related Content: Total Revenue Management - Master the Bigger Picture - SixtImage: Primary Event: EyeforTravel Europe 2018Article type: Industry InsightChannels: Revenue and Data ManagementTags: Online TravelOTAsonline travel agentsmetasearchtechhotelFlightsTravelMarketingTechnologybookingExpenses
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Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Voice, Machine Learning, And More on The Table This April

EyeforTravel ·14 February 2018
The event is perfectly positioned to address the all-important question currently on the minds of travel brands now: What technologies should they invest in to enhance their digital strategy and how? The summit will provide the perfect platform to ascertain the real tech strategy from the hype, to truly come to grips with the opportunities of these technologies for digital marketing campaigns; and to successfully engage and get closer to the customer.We have so much to talk about, and have split the event into two dedicated tracks: Tech Innovation Strategies: Mobile, Emerging Trends, and Travel TechnologyCase studies to be discussed in this track include: A Choice Hotels Case Study: A Holistic Approach to Emerging Tech & Enhancing the Physical Experience with the Right Digital TechnologyA Marriott Case study: The Power of Mobile to Drive Interaction and Develop Unique Digital Experiences to Stay Top of Mind and Engage with Your CustomerBlockchain Demystified: How Can It Be Applied in Travel and How Will It Change Your Business?Leveraging Data Driven Insights & Technology: Keep Up with The Shifts in Customer Behaviour to Deliver Relevant and Personalized Products Marketing Strategies: Content Marketing, Social media and DataCase studies to be discussed include : Hilton Case Study: Brand Building in the Digital Age: The Role of Storytelling in Today's Customer JourneyCathay Pacific Case Study: Incorporating Virtual Content and Mobile Video into Cathay Pacific Airways' Marketing StrategyAir Canada Vacations Case Study: An Air Canada Vacations Case Study: Keep Your Customers Clicking by Delivering Smarter, Personalized, More Dynamic ContentMelia Hotels International Case Study: Redefine and Rebuild Your Social Media and Digital Strategy Using Data, Personalization & Hyper-SegmentationClick here to see the full agenda and the confirmed speaker line upHere is a snapshot of experts taking the stage in San Francisco in 2017!Amy Ziegenfuss, VP - Global Marketing Focused Brands, HiltonTim Goodwin, Chief Technology Officer, VacasaSam MacDonnell, Chief Technology Officer, HotelTonightTodd Henrich, SVP - Corporate Development, Priceline GroupRobecta Ma, VP - Marketing, Cathay Pacific AirwaysAngel Llull Mancas, Senior Director - North America, Booking.comAmir Amidi, Managing Partner - Travel & Hospitality Center of Innovation, Plug and Play Tech CenterReda Berrehili, Chief Technology Officer, OneFineStayDan Christian, Chief Digital Officer, The Travel CorporationPedro Renaud Anderson, Founder, Winding TreeWill Farnan, Client Partner - Travel Suppliers, FacebookWill your digital strategy stack up in 2018 and beyond? Click here to learn more and don't miss your chance to be a part of the West Coast's largest digital travel event!Contact the team directly at - renu@eyefortravel.com
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Trainline: focused on efficiency and getting things done

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·14 February 2018
In an interview with Trainline's chief executive, Pamela Whitby hears how the online platform for rail travel continues to innovate with a customer first approach In the four years since Clare Gilmartin has been CEO of Trainline, quite a lot has happened. The online platform for rail travel now has 50 million visits a month, operates in 36 countries in 14 languages, has partnerships with 144 different rail carriers, most recently with Japan rail, and has expanded into coach travel. There has been significant investment into mobile, which now accounts for 80% of visits, as well as AI innovation, and most recently voice.

Squeezed and exploited': independent travel firms, the new OTA victims?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·12 February 2018
Back in 2015, when the fight back of the big hotel chains to drive direct bookings started gathering momentum, a question hung in the air. Without the high commissions and restrictive rate parity agreements, which had helped the two biggest online travel agents into a position of duopolistic domination over the hotel industry, could they really survive? Related Content: Taking on Google, Airbnb et al: what an experience!Image: Primary Event: EyeforTravel North America 2018Article type: Industry InsightChannels: Distribution StrategiesTags: OTATraveldirect bookingshotelonline travel agentsbookingsIndependent travel businesses
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TUI gives artificial intelligence a big tick, but what next?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 8 February 2018
From being one of the first to dabble in blockchain technology to driving forward with AI-fuelled partnerships, the TUI Group is on a mission to remain a travel heavy weight. In a recent move, the world’s biggest travel company has signed a deal with Seattle-based AI firm Utrip, to up its game in offering a deeply personalised experience throughout the customer journey.
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Why Google is banking on flight delays

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 7 February 2018
Flight disruption happens more often than we like to believe and numerous companies are tapping into that, writes Sally White So you thought flight delays were just one of the nuisance factors of 21st century travel? Think on! Given the commercial, economic and environmental (fuel-burn in catch-up speeding) impact, flight delays are the subject of a substantial body of scientific literature, predictive models and apps. After all, 36% of European flights and 31% of US flights are delayed, according to one of the latest studies. If you think that it is bad, only 18% of flights leave Beijing on time! So, this is no small matter.

Transforming the guest experience with tech

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 6 February 2018
Apps, chatbots, RFID, in-room devices, and the Internet of Things all can help to improve guest satisfaction but there is a fine line to walk Hotels often feel held hostage by TripAdvisor reviews, but property apps, digital concierges and more are helping hotels reach the guest and react far better to their needs, finds a recent report from EyeforTravel. Hotels can now monitor and track guests around their properties using installed apps that can access the guest’s location or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tied to keycards. They can then log every guest request through AI-driven concierges operating through chatbots or smart speakers. This means that the guest no longer needs to ring down to front desk. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which can be controlled either from a single device in the guest’s room or from an app, means the hotel can now know the guest’s preferred room temperature, what entertainment they watch, and when items need to be replaced.
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EyeforTravel Webinar: Learn How Heathrow Airport, Melia Hotels and Dutch Railways Leverage Technology & Data to Create Seamless Customer Experience

EyeforTravel · 6 February 2018
EyeforTravel have brought together key experts to discuss what to do next in this live interactive webinar - sign up to listen in on 21st Feb 3pm GMT.So, what's the game changer? EyeforTravel think technology and data, with smartphones at the helm. So, today's travel brands are leveraging AI, Mobile Integration, NFC, geolocation, beacons and more in an all-out pursuit of customer happiness and seamless travel.With tech savvy passengers' eager to use new digital services to transform their journeys, they can offer a new ecosystem of connected personalized services wins.To share industry insights, EyeforTravel have partnered with TIBCO to create a live webinar series that covers the technology and data that is transforming travel operations.You can sign up to listen in or request the recording here.Speakers for the webinar include: Hans Tonissen Program Architect "Comfort IT" at NS (Dutch Railways)Rodney Dortalina, Technology Evangelist, TIBCOSusanna Mander, VP Marketing & Brand Development, Melia Hotels International Stephen Glenfield, Head of Digital, Heathrow AirportJoin this webinar to learn to:Adapt to the connected traveller to improve user experience and build on engagement with world class techDevelop the right mobile strategies and partnerships with personalized content, incentives and real-time data to create that frictionless travel experienceEvaluate trends: See who's using your services and what information they're accessing from different IoT devicesSounds like something you need to be thinking about for 2018 then sign up here to join the session at 3PM GMT (10AM EST) on 21st Feb 2018.If you aren't free on the day - sign up anyway and we will send you the recording. Shreya GanapathyPartnerships and Business Development | EyeForTravel+ 44 20 7375 7150 | shreya@eyefortravel.comEyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands - from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more - come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.
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North America's largest data summit for the travel industry to take place in three weeks in Miami

EyeforTravel · 6 February 2018
The Smart Travel Data Summit North America 2018 will be a two-day celebration of fiery innovation, and will provide the perfect platform for your business to adapt and be ahead of the curve, as well as learn and network with 150+ senior data RM, product, & marketing executives.Leo Langford, Project Lead at EyeforTravel said "No company is lacking for data, however having data that is accurate, collated and measurable is half the battle. We are at a tipping point where it is essential for travel brands to focus on delivering personalized messages and engaging with relevant content - which is why the role and potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is immense.He then went on to say "which is exactly why in three weeks we are bringing together the cream of the crop in data, marketing and RM in travel to deliver tools, insights and strategies to ensure you nail your data and marketing strategy in 2018 and beyond.A snapshot of the experts taking the stage include: Airbnb, Amazon, Hyatt, Expedia, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Vacasa, Wyndham, Hertz and more! The show will be buzzing with insight on data and marketing strategies such as:Personalization - Beyond the BuzzwordForget Disparate Databases - Get One Golden RecordMachine Learning - How will it Shake Up your Data?The Next Frontier of Revenue ManagementPioneer Personalized PricingProfitable Partnerships in Data: Opportunities and Limitations; and much more!For concrete case studies stories of success and failures, and an event thriving with new business creation, look no further than the EyeforTravel's Smart Travel Data Summit North America 2018.Contact the team directly at - renu@eyefortravel.comRenu KannuEyeForTravel | Project and Research Director (+ 44 20 7375 7197 |renu@eyefortravel.com)
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Getting visual with RM

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 5 February 2018
Tom Bacon outlines how new visualisation techniques can give revenue management a boost Revenue management is not easy. Maintaining complex, sophisticated systems requires RM analysts with an often tough-to-find mix of market knowledge, business acumen, analytical and communication skills. Many travel companies invest heavily in training and recruitment for this high impact and strategic department. New visualisation techniques, however, can further improve RM performance, broaden understanding, and invite new perspectives. “Visualisation” is now a common topic of discussion at revenue management conferences.
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Amazon dominates travel brands' ongoing experiments with voice technology

EyeforTravel · 5 February 2018
Amazon made a canny move in becoming the first major company to roll out and heavily market smart speakers. This first-mover advantage has made Alexa the go-to for the travel industry's initial attempts to deploy voice technology finds EyeforTravel's new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? Report, which is free to download now.It's easy to see why travel brands are largely teaming up with Amazon as it has by far and away the most popular smart speaker in terms of sales currently. Amazon has at least 70% of the market share currently according to estimates and substantially beating out Google Home in terms of web search interest in 2016 and 2017. Even more importantly its Alexa personal assistant, as they have made it part of their strategy to focus on the supporting ecosystem and bring in external developers. This has allowed Alexa to grow the number of 'skills', or programmed tasks and apps on the system, exponentially across 2017 from around 7,000 to more than 25,000 by the end of the year.Hotels are putting their own offerings among these skills, as are metasearch companies, airports, online travel agencies, and airlines. This covers a multitude of brands, including KAYAK, United Airlines, Marriott, IHG, Best Western, Skyscanner, Edwardian Hotels, Heathrow Airport, and Kimpton. Hotels are probably the most prominent users of Amazon Alexa and Echo speakers currently as there is an obvious use case for in-room speakers that act as concierges.For IHG, they have begun testing their own virtual concierge through Alexa. However, they found that the human element was still critical, using their call centre to train, "Central Reservation Offices (CROs) have been trying to manage a downward cycle in that not many people are calling them anymore, but they know a ton about the way people actually talk, their cadence and what they ask for," said Bill Keen, IHG's VP of mobile solutions & digital guest experience at EyeforTravel North America 2017. "Through voice listening tools they actually powered our initial Alexa implementation in the hotel rooms, where we actually had a repository of things that guests normally ask when they call the call centre desk and we could actually build it into."However, current adoption trends doesn't mean Amazon will have its own way for the foreseeable future. Multiple players are eyeing the opportunities that voice afford, including Baidu, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet/Google. "I'm a huge Alexa fan, but I think Google is going to have a big advantage as they have a lot of the context," said Paul English, CEO of Lola Tech. "When you do a simple query to Google Home, it can piece together all of that." This data advantage appears already to be having an effect as independent research has found that Google Assistant is more accurate in coming up with spoken answers than any competitors. Similarly, Chinese rivals have made huge progress and claim that their systems are now more effective at transcribing than native Mandarin speakers.It therefore remains to be seen whether Amazon can keep its lead but right now it is the biggest player in terms of dedicated voice applications being built by the travel industry.For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free. You can also download our free report on in-room technology, including smart speakers here.
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Are Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft falling behind Chinese voice tech?

EyeforTravel · 1 February 2018
Unique dynamics make China a perfect laboratory for developing and deploying voice technologies. This is propelling local players, principally Baidu and iFlytek, to become world leaders finds EyeforTravel's new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? report.China is likely to become the key market for voice technologies and one in which travel brands need to be paying attention due to a number of reasons. Firstly, is the Chinese language, which has thousands of individual characters rather than a conventional alphabet. This makes typing a challenge, particularly on the smaller screen of a smartphone, creating a clear need that voice can solve. Furthermore, Chinese travellers are far more mobile focused than travellers in other markets according to EyeforTravel's Chinese Travel Consumer report.Progress in voice technologies means that voice technology is already the most convenient way for Mandarin speakers to operate their smartphones. A joint Baidu, Stanford University and University of Washington study from 2016 found it was three times quicker to say English words than type, and 2.8 times faster with Mandarin, while the rate of mistakes was a fifth lower using English and almost two-thirds lower with Mandarin.This creates the demand for voice to flourish in the Chinese market, but local players have further advantages of a supportive Chinese government that has made AI a core focus and a more amenable regulatory environment for this field of research. Data that can be collected, analyzed and deployed with far fewer legal data security and privacy restrictions than in the EU or the US. This could be key, as the quantity of data is key in this kind of machine learning, especially as engineers tackle the next challenge of getting AI to understand and respond to speech in a contextual framework.That data is already being generated by millions of Chinese consumers. Whilst Apple claims Siri has a userbase of around 375 million, likely making it the most used personal assistant outside of China, China's leading player at the moment iFLYTEK claims more than 700 million end users, which they believe gives them more than 70% of the Chinese voice market. Media reports more widely quote a figure of around 500 million regular users, still a vast figure.iFLYTEK's main competitor in China Baidu is hot on their heels, and claims prodigious growth as a result of pouring around USD3 into AI research from 2015 to 2017. In a November 2016 release, they noted that that "the daily requests for speech recognition grew from 5 million in 2013 to 140 million this year, and the number of daily requests for speech synthesis stands today at 200 million."Crucially, both companies have also been able to establish an ecosystem of various players who depend on their software, unlike Apple and Siri. This enables them to extend the reach of their rising voice empires and gather more data to further improve accuracy. Both companies claim that thousands of companies have already developed products from their voice technologies.So, the big tech players in the West have plenty to feel anxious about given the progress of their Chinese counterparts and the scene is only going to get more crowded as Samsung started to push its Bixby voice products in the second half of 2017.Therefore, if there is one key market that travel brands need to keep an eye on in relation to vice technology developments, it is China. The already deep penetration of advanced technologies, alongside unique market dynamics and a language particularly well suited to voice applications seems likely to make the country the forefront for this new way of engaging with the digital world.For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free.
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Cryptocribs, the new cool kid on the blockchain block

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·31 January 2018
When Erasmus Elsner first tested the proposal for Cryptocribs, his blockchain-based answer to Airbnb, he was looking for honest feedback. Inspired by Pieter Levels, the founder of Nomad List, who video recorded himself while building his website, and then took sometimes 'crippling feedback' on Reddit,� Elsner likes to put himself 'out there to be destroyed'. Related Content: Blockchain blockbuster: is the travel industry's invisible battle over?Image: Primary Event: EyeforTravel North America 2018Article type: Industry InsightChannels: Mobile and TechnologyTags: CryptocribsBlockchaincrypto-currenciesLettingdataAirbnbTravelTechnology
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Why Japan Airlines is striving to be more than 'just a mode of transport

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·31 January 2018
For years the airline business has been highly commoditised but as travellers demand more that is changing. Japan Airlines shares insights with Pamela Whitby Back in 2014, Korean Air hired a catering truck and set out to serve up its award-winning inflight meals to business people at certain city venues in Houston. Twice winner of the prestigious Mercury Award for inflight meals, the airline’s aim was to promote non-stop flights between the US’s most populous southern city and Seoul by showcasing some of the country’s delicious cuisine. Among the well-known dishes the airline served up on solid ground were bibimbap, a freshly cooked mixed rice dish and bulgogi, its barbequed, marinated beef.
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Can voice technology change the travel industry?

EyeforTravel ·30 January 2018
EyeforTravel's new Can Voice Change the Way We Travel? report advises travel brands to get ready for the expansion of voice technologies, as although these are at an early adopter stage, they are already important parts of the digital ecosystem and developing at a breakneck pace.Blockbuster sales of smart speakers over the holiday periods in both 2016 and 2017, alongside a steadily growing number of connected devices per home across major markets in the last half decade, have demonstrated an appetite for voice products. Even more critically than the smart speaker market, personal assistants are being incorporated into ever more platforms, meaning a market of billions of devices already exists.Estimates of voice's market share in terms of search are harder to come by than device sales but this too is growing rapidly, nowhere more so than China. Already, the leading players, Baidu and iFlytek, claim that users are making hundreds of millions of daily requests through voice, allowing them to gather vast amounts of data. This base has allowed both companies to put together voice products that can recognise speech at accuracy rates of up to 98%.This growing accuracy demonstrates the rapid progress in the field and how the technology is on the cusp of being able to transcribe human speech perfectly. However, for travel where the real issue lies according to the report, is not in the technology to comprehend the human voice, but the ability to personalize the experience. Comprehension is one thing but context and cogent answers are quite another, which will require another leap in performance."When you do a normal screen based search, a whole screen of information comes up - but on a voice based search there isn't time for Siri, Echo or Home to read out the whole page," Sam Turner, sales director of Hotelbeds Group told EyeforTravel. "A much more personalised response is required to give you the most relevant information only, and nothing more, otherwise it simply doesn't work."Paul English, CEO of Lola Tech, believes that "ultimately talking to your phone and saying I want a hotel tomorrow night and I am going to be in Chicago Thursday and then having it know enough about the context and enough about the personalization requirements that it does everything for you" is the future.Getting to a more personalised service will require a concerted effort on the part of travel brands in terms of data gathering, interpretation and presentation. Therefore, consumers conducting a full cycle of travel research solely through voice remain some way off.In the meantime, travel brands are finding a variety of uses for voice products to ease the travellers' journeys. Heathrow airport is experimenting with smart speakers in flight screens and key locations in the airport to help travellers with common questions. For hotels, Marriott, IHG, Best Western and Kimpton are among the pioneers in the sector. Principally these brands are looking at using speakers in guests' rooms to provide services and ease guest requests. Bill Keen, IHG's VP of mobile solutions & digital guest experience, reported that they had implemented Alexa into and enthused about its further potential: "Voice is sexy again. I do believe that's the next interface for us." For luxury hotel brand Edwardian, they have gone a step further and developed out their self-developed chatbot so now it has been enabled to speak to guests and the leadership team is looking at their own in-room speaker tech.For more on the topic of voice and its impact on the travel industry, click here to download the complete report for free.
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China voice tech rises over the over the big four

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·29 January 2018
Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are all in the race to develop the ultimate voice assistant but Chinese firms have the edge, finds a new EyeforTravel report China is the ideal environment for developing and deploying voice technology, and this is propelling local players like Baidu and iFlytek to become world leaders, finds a new EyeforTravel report. Given the size of Chinese travel market, this is something that brands can no longer ignore.

Food and travel: go together like China and a dragon?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·24 January 2018
China's rising star in travel, Meituan-Dianping, has kicked off 2018 with two moves - food and transport - that reflect its ambitions to target both domestic and international travellers with a wider range of services. 'As we already attract 320 million active buyers annually, we believe we are poised to quickly become an industry leader,' says Liang Chen, who is senior vice president of Meituan-Dianping, and also president of Meituan Travel, the hotel & travel business group which launched in May last year.
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Webinar: The Role Of Digital Technologies To Enhance The Customer Experience

EyeforTravel ·23 January 2018
The exclusive webianr will bring together the following experts:Bill Ramsey, Senior Director - Mobile & Emerging Channels, Choice HotelsAlison Anesta, Area Director of Performance Improvement, Dorchester CollectionThe webinar will explore:The various digital tools available in the travel industry to enhance the customer experience, better engage, and drive loyaltyThe intersection and blending between technology and the physical - and balancing both as part of your strategyDriving interconnected mobile engagement throughout the travel journeyBefore you scramble off to revamp your digital strategy, click here to sign up Don't worry if you can't listen in on the day, as we will send over a free recording to all registrants.We hope to have have you involved as part of the conversation in two weeks!
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The technologies transforming the guest's experience

EyeforTravel ·23 January 2018
Hotels often feel held hostage by TripAdvisor reviews, but property apps, digital concierges and more are helping hotels reach the guest and react far better to their needs says EyeforTravel's new report.Hotels can now monitor and track guests around their properties using installed apps that can access the guest's location or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tied to keycards. They can then log every guest request through AI-driven concierges operating through chatbots or smart speakers that mean the guest doesn't need to ring down to front desk. The growing Internet of Things (IoT), which can be controlled from a single device in the guest's room or their app, can allow the hotel to know what temperature the guest likes their room to be set at, what entertainment they watch, and when items need to be replaced.Armed with this technology, hotels can personalise down to an individual level for guests they know and use aggregate data to predict what they should recommend to new guests. Services are even springing up that amalgamate data from many different hotels to learn from similar properties to identify patterns in guest behaviour and make recommendations for add-ons to the guest's stay.This will give the hotel of the future a key edge in increasing customer satisfaction and also driving increased revenues from ancillaries or pushing entirely new revenue streams.The new ability to react in a smarter and faster way to a guest will also help to push up those all-important review scores, as the best time to receive guest feedback is while the guest is still on property. Hotel platforms and apps make it easier for guests to instantly message any issues to the property. Being able to fix an issue before it escalates into a complaint is vital in today's world of online review sites and digital endorsements.Following up with a bottle of champagne delivered to the room or a free dinner, can make a guest less likely to vent on TripAdvisor, or even better, turn the complaint into a compliment with a post about the fantastic service provided by the hotel. This has a demonstrable effect on the bottom line, with increased review scored tied to better performing hotels with higher revenues according to more than one study.However, with this power hotels will also need to learn where the fine balance lies between helping their guests and becoming overbearing. "Learning what a customer orders, be it craft beer or double-shot espresso, is a benefit. Offering specials that walk that line are okay, but to cross it needs to get consent from the client," says Jeffrey Parker, Vice President of Hospitality Systems, Red Lion Hotels Corporation. "If Joe Smith tells us he wants Jack Daniels and a double-cheese burger in his room with every stay, we need to act on that. If he always orders a cheese burger, we should suggest that,"The hotels that master guest communications and services through this growing proliferation of smart technologies in a way that is appropriate for their clientele will be the ones that come to thrive in the increasingly competitive accommodation market.To download The Future of In-Stay Technology report for free, click here.
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The smart hotel that talks back is the future

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·23 January 2018
We identify some Dos and Don'ts from a new EyeforTravel report which finds that conversational interfaces have the potential to help hotels improve the guest experience and drive revenues too Hotels are only just beginning to deploy chatbots and smart speakers, but these early experiments herald the beginning of a major shift in guest communications finds a recent report from EyeforTravel.
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Digital & Data Strategies for Travel 2017 Round-up

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·22 January 2018
What exactly will the travel organization of the future look like? Attendees from around the globe came to EyeforTravel’s Digital & Data Strategies for Travel 2017 summit to find out. Read the free round-up report to see what their conclusions were … More than 250 digital and data professionals descended on Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most innovative cities, in November 2017 to get to grips with the strategies that would future-proof their organizations.
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American Travel start-ups pitch to industry investors at EyeforTravel's Digital San Francisco 2018 Start Up Awards

EyeforTravel ·22 January 2018
The 2018 Startup Awards will take place at the Eyefortravel San Francisco Digital Summit at The Nikko Hotel this April 9-10. We are pleased to announce our panel of prestigious judges and to invite more start-ups to apply to pitch.The start-ups will pitch their businesses in front of a panel of experienced investors on the 9th April. The two best pitches will be chosen to present in front of the 300+ summit attendees, with the winner chosen through a live audience poll of the attendees. Applications will close on January 30th.The start-ups will also be able to network with the attendees of EyeforTravel San Francisco Digital Summit 2018. These include decision makers from brands including Expedia, Priceline, Lola, Cathay Pacific, IHG, Hilton, Air Canada, Booking.com, Disney, Choice Hotels, Accor and many more."The 2017 Startup Awards were a fantastic opportunity for us to get in front of so many of the industry movers and shakers. The focus, exposure and third party validation these events bring to fast growing businesses like ours are an invaluable step, which accelerates the journey to success."Charlie Cadbury, CCO, Lola Tech (2017 winner, EyeforTravel North America 2017)The judges for the 2018 awards include:Bruce Rosenberg, Chief Operating Officer,HotelPlannerNathan Bobbins, Senior Director Product innovation, TravelportMatt Zito, Managing Partner, Travel Startups Incubator LLCBrian Harniman, Managing Director, Brand New Matter, IncSeth Rosenfield, Managing Director,Petsky Prunier Kurien Jacob, Principal - Highgate Ventures, Highgate HotelsAmir Amidi, Managing Partner - Travel and Hospitality Centre of Innovation,Plug and Play Tech Center (TBC)Utpal Kaul, Head of New Product Incubation,Carlson Wagonlit TravelGeorge Rabian, CEO,Steelhead Ventures"I honestly believe that the disruptors in the travel scene will be those who can really tap into the latent needs that the market has and deliver a service that beats the traditional suppliers" said Tim Gunstone, MD of EyeforTravel, "For the past 8 years, we have consistently made EyeforTravel San Francisco the centre of innovation in the travel industry and 2018 is no different - expect to see the disruptive technologies and business models that will change our business".All successful start ups receive a subsidised pass to the conference. For more information about the awards and to find out how start-ups can enter, please visit http://events.eyefortravel.com/san-francisco-summit/startup-village.phpContact the team directly at - renu(at)eyefortravel(dot)com
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The hotel that talks back is the future

EyeforTravel ·18 January 2018
The hotel of the future might become an interlinked artificial intelligence that can speak back to the guest through speakers and chatbots to suggest activities to the guest, answer their queries and solve their complaints says the report. Using AI-powered voice and chat capabilities to do these tasks provides more convenient channels for guest interactions that can not only improve satisfaction with their stay but also drive revenues.Both chatbots and voice systems working through smart speakers can be integrated into a whole system, recording all requests and integrated into a Property Management System (PMS). Largely these early investigations into interactive AI are as smart concierges for hotels, with both big and independent chains deploying the tech."We created a conversation concierge so that people can get all of their informational experience through channels they are more used to operating. It delivers specific responses very quickly. It positions the hotel as a trusted advisor," says Charles Cadbury, Co-Founder of Dazzle Technology, a start-up that implements and operates smart speakers for the hospitality industry."Hotels are able to listen to what the guests want and get real time data of who is asking for what and when. Then they can make real time adjustments to their product or services to cater to those requests."The other benefit of offering these services out to guests through voice or chat interfaces is that hotels staff are alleviated of a lot of mundane tasks and can really focus on delivering a high quality of service to guests.Jeffrey Parker, Vice President of Hospitality Systems, Red Lion Hotels Corporation, says that, according to experts, between 50-75% of guest questions can be responded to by a Bot. "This can relieve questions to the desk staff and other departments. The appropriate way to do it is to also link to your service app infrastructure and have a warm hand-off to a real person.""Conversation allows you to ask very specific answers in a type of communication you are most comfortable with," says Cadbury. "And because it's not a live conversation, you're not tying up staff on the phone."However, Parker has a warning: "Don't ever let your app pretend to be a real person. Be transparent with your guests." (For more on chatbots click here for our free report).The human element is also still highly relevant in creating the background that can make these interactive AIs possible. Humans are necessary to create a culture of recording and measuring guest interactions and building up the background data. IHG used their customer service call centres to help build up their Alexa offering, for example."The best way to build a picture of the guest is to leverage the hotel's greatest assets, their people, to capture every seemingly relevant detail humans need to build personal relationships," says Armand Rabinowitz, Senior Director of Strategy and Workgroups at Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG).Similar to putting a data strategy in place, hotels need to think about the individual guest when implementing voice and chat functions. Hotels can't just charge in and introduce voice to every room and client, privacy issues are at play too. "We need to take clues from the guest and offer services based on what profile we think they are, but not to the extent we ruin that relationship," says Parker. Hotels need to offer guests the choice and respect their decision if they ask for connected devices to be removed. Chains such as Marriott and IHG are working closely with Amazon to develop solutions that provide the guests with a seamless experience while also protecting their privacy. Data collection and privacy issues will only be highlighted as the EU's GDPR regulation comes into force warns the report.To download The Future of In-Stay Technology report for free, click here.We have also covered voice technology and its implications for travel in a dedicated new report on the topic, which is free to download now here, as well as chatbots, which can be downloaded here.

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