IoT Will Have a Bigger Role to Play in Post-Pandemic Travel, Says GlobalData

Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help to ease traveler concerns regarding personal health and wellbeing, while allowing travel and tourism companies to collect a wealth of data for a range of internal and external benefits, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that this technology will have a bigger role to play in post-pandemic travel as a result.

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘IoT in Travel & Tourism’, states that wearable tech devices at airports and other transport terminals can allow travelers to practice correct social distancing procedures and keep to other health and safety compliance guidelines, which stems the spread of COVID-19 and keeps travelers feeling safe.

Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Connected applications can make tourism flows safer throughout a smart city or destination, by providing real-time warnings about crowding. These warnings can be sent to a traveler’s mobile device through beacon technology, advising them to take an alternative route, which minimizes the risk of virus contraction during a city break.”

Connected applications can also ease apprehensions in privately owned areas. For example, Hilton’s ‘Connected Room’ technology allows guests to use the Hilton Honors app to manage most things they would traditionally have to do manually in a guest room. From controlling the temperature and lighting to the TV and window coverings, IoT technology allows guests to reduce the number of times they have to touch surfaces that may be contaminated.

Hollister continues: “COVID-19 has decimated travel and tourism. One of the main reasons for the sector being so slow in its recovery is ongoing health and safety fears among consumers, which is reinforced by governments. According to GlobalData*, 85% of consumers were still either ‘extremely’, ‘quite’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about their health due to the pandemic.”

Internally, operations and business costs can be streamlined with the use of IoT technology. The collection of data from IoT sensors could allow for tourism attractions to analyze if employees are spread evenly across a theme park for example, reducing the chance of certain employees being overworked which may improve organizational commitment. This internal benefit also creates an external advantage as customers will receiver quicker service. Additionally, IoT can help companies to improve energy efficiency and combat climate change by monitoring and optimizing temperature, lighting, and overall energy consumption.

Externally, IoT can help to create personalized experiences for customers in two main ways. The first is by enabling travelers to control more appliances or services through a centralized device, such as a tablet or mobile application. Secondly, by companies storing data gathered from IoT enabled devices to create targeted personalized marketing campaigns or by remembering their preferences for return visits.

Hollister concludes: “With 82%** of travel and tourism executives expecting efficiency improvements in the coming years when utilizing IoT technology, combined with the ability the technology holds to make travel experiences more COVID-secure, IoT’s role in tourism is set to grow.”