How is technology redefining Travel Concierge Services?

Technology in the hospitality industry has come a long way. Almost all big companies have kept up with the changing times by adopting CRM systems and POS software. They are now dealing with the incremental introduction of AI, IoT and IOV to revolutionise how they communicate with consumers.

Luxury Concierge Travel service is a traditional practice of getting a guide at a location when one travels as a guest or tourist. These individuals support visitors during their stay by assisting them with conditions such as language barriers, searching for tourist spots, and helping the tourists have a good experience by making all Travel (Hotels, Villas, Jets, Experiences) arrangements. Travel Concierge takes care of all the travel arrangements, whether one is travelling for work or leisure.

Luxury Concierge services in the hotel industry are also changing. Innovation is impacting them in a big way. In concierge services, automation is slowly but steadily making its way, changing many aspects of the customer behaviour and dynamics of the service providers. Most hotels are introducing creative technological solutions to make the front desk experience of their guests more comfortable and hassle-free to avoid long queues and to be more casual and welcoming without the physical and digital gap generated by reception desks. Almost all major global hotel businesses are moving in that direction.

A new dimension to the concept of concierge

Thanks to the ease and abundance of the internet, mobile apps, social media, review sites, and online booking platforms, today guests find it easier to do local searches and take care of bookings and service requests on their own, turning into a professional concierge. That is why this digital revolution would further cause hospitality services to shift. Innovation has changed everything around the concierge. At the same time, it has allowed industry operators to maintain momentum by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by digital and mobile devices. All of these innovations can facilitate concierge work, allowing them to spend less time on administrative/bureaucratic tasks and more time on human interaction and focus on the needs and desires of customers.

Ways how technology is Changing the Travel and tourism industry – How the client preference is getting skewed

Guests expect convenience at all times –  Convenience has always been the key driver for positive guest experiences in the travel and tourism industry. COVID-19 pushed hotel operators to make more effort to ensure guests can access everything they need from the comfort of their hotel rooms. 

Though the pandemic seems to be under control in 2023, consumers have come to expect the convenience that technological advances have brought to the guest experience.

Personalization: Hotels are offering more personalized experiences, giving guests control over their thermostats and in-suite apps through the connectivity of the Internet of Things. 

  • Self-check-In and check-out – With this feature, guests can perform a pre-check-in or full check-in. The Virtual Concierge can interface with the hotel’s Backoffice systems to perform the main check-in functions such as managing the guest information, uploading Identification documents, managing registration card information, verifying Terms & Conditions and entering Credit Card details securely. 
  • Making Reservations – Guests are seen to prefer making reservations quickly and easily using the Virtual Concierge for restaurants, SPA, activities, etc.  Guests can find all the information about the hotel’s facilities, services, restaurants, room service, promotions, and much more. 
  • Automatic Payments – With the onset of everything contactless, a big trend in online travel tech has been the adoption of remote payment solutions so travelers can pay on their own devices, without having to interact with anyone in the process. 

Moreover, significant investments in digital partners like PressReader, cybersecurity solutions and digital offerings like in-flight WiFi are being offered. This renewed focus on technology is reshaping the travel and tourism industry — and the expectations of its travelers. 

The Virtual Concierge can guide the clients through the process of checking in at the required time. One can access the hotel bill, and even make the payment securely with a credit card.

  • In-room Service – Privileged clients who want to avoid queues or prefer to limit the interaction with other guests can order breakfast conveniently from the Virtual Concierge and have it delivered to their room at the time of their choosing. This is done by combining the power of the cloud with the usability of a chatbot that even integrates with Alexa or Google Assistant and tailored it specifically to the hotel industry. The Virtual Concierge offers the guest a unique, personalized experience that they will remember and want to repeat.

 Mobile applications: airlines and hotel groups are investing in mobile applications that allow travelers to do everything from making a booking and checking in to talking with a customer service representative or integrated chatbot. 
A comprehensive, branded app that connects guests to all the amenities offered at a hotel — so that they can set up a spa appointment, order food or access digital newspapers and magazines on their own mobile devices — can facilitate this convenience.

The hospitality industry must facilitate WFA (work from anywhere) 

One of the biggest changes that emerged from the pandemic is in the way corporate employees work. With the onset of remote work — a shift that shows no signs of reversing in 2023 — people are no longer tied to specific places while they’re working.

Instead, they can choose to work from a hotel by the beach or up a snowy mountain — and these so-called “digital nomads” expect stable internet connectivity throughout the hotel.

Not only that, but they also expect to have amenities like camera-enabled conference rooms and virtual assistants that can enable them to stay connected to work remotely.

“Most hotels utilized the downtime during the peak of the pandemic to upgrade their technology infrastructure to be able to facilitate hybrid meetings, remote workers and travelers.”

Guests welcome digital offerings paired with a personal touch 

Being flexible is an important way that travel companies can deliver on guest expectations. For example, where young professionals might be eager to digest their daily news on mobile devices before they go about their day, older guests might have a long-standing preference for the newspaper they read with their morning coffee — and they can now access it on an iPad.

Hotels that are doing this right are partnering with digital platforms that allow for that level of flexibility and customization.

With social distancing measures much in vogue, many travelers are found to be choosing to limit human interaction and obtain information digitally, with the ability to self-service where possible. In the case of the Hospitality industry the following trends are being seen – 

Technological advances  redefining Travel Concierge Services

Chatbots, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – Today there are hundreds of thousands of chatbots, or ‘bots,’ that provide everything from medical advice to weather conditions through an interactive interface. Although most bots function on a set of rules and are only as smart as they are programmed to be, already the next generation of bots would leverage machine learning and applied experience to become smarter over time. Bots that can self-learn without being specifically programmed are already in use. These bots can provide a more meaningful response to customers’ requests, bring speed and efficiency to the concierge market and minimize human error, all while still delivering a very personalized experience. The concierge industry is now using this technology to respond to inquiries and handle simple requests, simulating human conversation with natural language processing. This automates aspects of the business, enabling human concierges to spend more time on complex requests while the bots provide 24/7, uninterrupted coverage.

Artificial Intelligence is also being leveraged to help the human element – the concierges -provide better, more personalized, experiences. In the past, the success of the luxury concierge industry has in part relied on the ability of concierges to manually capture as much information about a client as possible, and either remember it or manually enter requests and preferences into a CRM. This information then becomes instrumental in fulfilling future requests.

Updated technology is streamlining this complex process largely. Now data is mined using natural language technology during phone conversations, emails and text messages between concierge and client (or bot and client). Look-alike technology is being used to predict what customers will like based on requests completed by similar profiles, which helps proactively assist brand-new customers in a way that simulates a long history of dedicated 1:1 service.

It is seen that data is being mined from external sources combined with internal data, to create an even more advanced customer profile. In addition to being able to offer a personalized experience at scale, this also provides an anticipation of needs that is uncannily aligned with the client’s own. Concierge combined with an advanced data aggregator enables human concierges to better predict what customers want and make fast, personalized expert recommendations, anywhere in the world.

Connected Devices & Smart-Home Assistants – Concierge services are becoming accessible via connected smart-home assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as wearable devices like the Latest Generation Apple Watch and the likes.

These devices bring real-time convenience and connectivity to customers wherever they are. From the comfort of their own homes or on the go, clients can request concierge assistance and access services with the use of their voice through new touchpoints in a more seamless way. In the coming days, the use of concierges through connected devices will continue to increase, while new devices will become available.

Geo-Targeting & Advanced Location Services – Geo-targeting enables human concierges to bring clients customized options based on their exact location.  While this is not a new concept, geo-targeting in concierges will become super-charged this year as the digital consumer becomes even more connected through bots, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The combination of advanced connectivity and geo-targeting will enable concierges to offer tailored options and recommendations that integrate location with previous preferences and activities.

The location services themselves are becoming even more refined, able to target a 4’x4’ space around the customer which moves as they move, as opposed to an 8-city block radius of the past. For example, a concierge armed with a client’s real-time location can immediately pre-select offers or suggestions on dining, entertainment, and more for booking. They can even deliver personalized messages to their customers based on whether they’re coming, going, or staying in for the evening, and notify them of attractions or upcoming events they may enjoy during their vacation based on preferences and past behaviour. The concierge can even notify a restaurant that a customer might be late for their reservation if they can see that the person is stuck in traffic and moving slowly. 

Through time more examples of the digitally enhanced concierge would be seen. This “augmented concierge” will be a human supported by technology, delivering the next level of service experience. Brands and companies who pay for customer loyalty strategies such as concierge on behalf of their customer or employees will see services like this emerge as a scalable option for larger groups of people, and those who have invested in the high-touch service will see increased ROI. 

Challenges for the Concierge Service providers

Demand for travel concierge services is growing significantly. The scope and importance of travel concierge services would rise as disposable income, card spending and millennial travelling increase.

Nevertheless, organizational inefficiencies and lack of technology adoption hamper the growth of this sector. Companies providing travel concierge services are affected by issues such as slow turnaround time in customer response, manual bookings, accounting and reconciliation errors, and a lack of reporting capabilities to help them keep tabs on their business. Also, customers are increasingly requesting self-serve B2C portals to allow their premium customer/loyalty program members to make online reservations.

In conclusion, technology is reshaping the landscape of travel concierge services, bringing both challenges and opportunities. The adoption of advanced technologies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence, and connected devices is revolutionizing the way concierge services are delivered. Chatbots and AI-powered systems provide personalized, efficient, and 24/7 assistance, automating routine tasks and freeing up human concierges to focus on complex requests and personalized experiences. Connected devices and smart-home assistants enable clients to access concierge services seamlessly from anywhere, while geo-targeting and advanced location services allow for tailored recommendations based on real-time location and individual preferences. These technological advancements enhance convenience, personalization, and efficiency in the guest experience.

However, with the integration of technology, there are also challenges to address. Organizational inefficiencies and the slow adoption of technology can hinder the growth of travel concierge services. Service providers need to overcome issues such as slow response times, manual processes, accounting errors, and a lack of reporting capabilities. Additionally, customers are increasingly seeking self-serve portals for online reservations, necessitating investment in user-friendly B2C platforms.

Despite these challenges, the demand for travel concierge services is on the rise, fueled by increasing disposable income, card spending, and the growing trend of millennials traveling. By embracing technology, streamlining processes, and investing in customer-centric solutions, travel concierge service providers can position themselves to meet the evolving needs and expectations of modern travelers and continue to thrive in the digital era.

Travel Motivations is an exclusive Luxury Concierge and Lifestyle Management Service, with a dedicated team to design bespoke personal experiences and implement them on your behalf as your heart wants them to be. They step into your life and do everything you don’t have time to do and save the most important thing for you – Time.

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As a Startup Specialist and the founder of Aditya Group, Thailand, Ande Aditya is often hired as a Business Advisor to assist business owners to execute their vision.

17 Industries | 22 Startups | 6 Countries | 12 Awards

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