The travel ban in many countries increased the feelings of uncertainty not only of travelers and travel businesses but also companies that develop software for those. The way we used to travel in 2019 and earlier will never be the same in the upcoming years. To ensure a successful adaptation of the business to current situations, enterprises must be aware of news, trends, and statistics concerning the travel industry. Still, a cause for improvements and enhancements remains a privilege for OTAs, hotels, rentals, and property management technology solutions.
Technology trends that await us in 2021
Without focusing on the travel industry, it’s easy to admit that technology solutions used by businesses are to be similar. According to Gartner, the Covid-19 recovery is to be accompanied by certain trends that can be implemented in almost every business. Their list of top strategic technology trends for 2021 includes certain points, though we will look through the ones that you can start implementing from the first days of the next year:
1.Internet of behaviors
With the help of today’s technology, different organizations now can gather almost all the information about our daily routine. This is a driving force that helps them influence customers’ behavior through feedback. As a result, companies improve customer experience through the analysis of their behavior.
As described in Gartner, this type of experience aims at improving the overall experience of the employees, clients, and users. It helps companies correct their services and even get an advantage from Covid by optimizing and adjusting their business processes with the help of different customized technologies.
It consists of three technologies that protect the data during their usage: a reliable environment for data processing or analysis, decentralized data processing, and encryption of the algorithms before the analytics. This is what helps companies securely collaborate with partners without negatively affecting confidentiality.
Distributed cloud reduces the data costs and benefits you in complying with the laws prescribing storing of the data in the exact geographic region. Shortly, it’s the place where cloud services are allocated to particular physical locations but the responsibility for the maintenance and expansion remains in the public cloud provider.
The so-called slogan of the model is “digital-first, then remote”. The operational model allows businesses to be accessible and enabled in any place where employers and partners work in different remote environments. Generally, it implies that the physical should be upgraded with the help of digital.
It implies the idea of automatizing everything that can be automatized. This technology is not only about digitalizing your business processes, it is about optimizing the existing technologies that many organizations may think of as being already automated. The problem is that organizations didn’t make their technologies connected, clean or explicit and that’s the point where you may think of technologies being actually not useful for your business.
By creating the general picture of technologies to be used in your software in 2021, we can now switch to the detailed review of the actual travel solutions and of what has to be implemented into your existing or brand new software.
Hotel technology software
When we think of the software for hotels, we think of Hotel management systems that have some inevitable, as it seems for today, features:
- front-desk operations;
- housekeeping solutions;
- reporting and analytics solution;
- customer data management system;
- channel management;
- revenue management;
However, hotel technology shouldn’t be limited only by HMS. The actual situation calls for new actions and new technologies for hotels that implies not only HMS. Among the main hotel tech trends, we can observe SaaS, APIs, and cybersecurity. Let’s have a closer look at each of these trends.
There are a lot of articles already written about cloud-based hotel management systems, though we’ll never get tired of telling you about all its benefits. The SaaS-based model is not the latest trend, though it gained more popularity due to pandemic. Compared with the classic, not cloud-based HMS, where hotels had to wait for updates and where workers had limited access to the software since one always had to be on-site to do his work efficiently, the SaaS model gives an opportunity for seamless update and manage all the hotels’ operations from any place.
APIs are never redundant when we speak about hotel technologies. For most hotel businesses, they’ve already become an integral part of their technology solutions, and, no doubts, they have made the right choice. APIs let all of your hotel technologies work along without any system failures by connecting your HMS with RMS or channel manager. If you want to provide efficient work of your hotel software, API is the technology that is going to help you with it.
As we have already mentioned the importance of cybersecurity above, we won’t be focusing on this technology, though it’s worth including details on how it can be used for the better of the hotel operations. Undoubtedly, each hotel technology should provide multi-layer security, data protection, and transparent transactions, of course. We recommend hotels to be vigilant when choosing and updating the software and do not exclude the testings and threats evaluation.
Property Management System
Now you may be wondering why we put PMS separately from HMS? Firstly, we wanted to emphasize that they’re not so similar as it may seem from first sight. Secondly, as PMS is being used by fewer people than in hotels, its functionality is less important. Nonetheless, PMS must include the automated check-in opportunity that allows tenants to go through a self-service check-in without having to contact the property manager.
Property management software for rentals 2021 should be practical and safe for tenants, of increased access management and scheduling for landlords or property managers. Accordingly, we see a need in:
- transparent calendar synchronizations
- contactless/self-service technologies
- specific and separate apps for property managers
OTAs: drawbacks and how to fix them
Many travel startups don’t have hope anymore for the development of the new OTA since the market seems to be overwhelmed and taken by such giants as Expedia and Booking.com. But they forget about the possibility to develop the OTA that will work locally and be in-demand in certain areas or countries.
Though according to Squaremouth, 65% of trips in 2021 are planning to be based around international destinations, we could observe a switch to local travel even in the mid of 2020. And that’s not surprising since local travel entails a decent number of benefits, among which:
- excluded risk of borders closure
- road trips possibility
- no need to fly and contact other people
Will local or international traveling be more popular in 2021? We can’t predict that. But we can claim that in the next year businesses need to be more optimized for this way of travel and local traveling seems to be on an equal basis with the international one.
Speaking about drawbacks, we noticed two common drawbacks that belong almost to all the OTAs:
- Wrong pricing
It’s a common practice when you browse for hotels, you see an amazing price. But when you click “book a room”, you surprisingly see as we call it “magic” – the same hotel room for more than double the price. Does this problem have to deal with technologies? Yes, even if it’s your tactics, it’s leaving a customer with a bad opinion about your OTA.
- Lack of client-centric technologies
Customers have to be able to easily communicate with support or leave feedback. But when this website unit is failing, there’s no more will to leave feedback or contact support.
“There’s always a room for growth”
As you can see, travel technology as it stands today requires a major transformation. Whenever your business is now or what hard times you’re going through, you should always strive for updates and adjust your business to any situation that’s happening in the world. Only by regular technology updates, you’ll be able to achieve success. Hope that 2021 will inspire you on new technology solutions that will bring only good to your business.