This article is part of our May series about travel and hospitality. Click here for more.
At a time when travelers have an enormous amount of choices when it comes to where they go, how they get there, and where they stay, travel and hospitality brands are racing toward a new focus: service innovation.
Indeed, brands including Delta, Marriott, among others, are looking for ways to improve the customer experience, and, in some instances, are even expanding their services beyond what they are known for. Let’s take a look.
1. Delta’s Biometrics Program
In March, Delta Airlines announced that Delta Sky Club members can use their fingerprints to enter all 50 U.S. Delta Sky Club locations. Although the service is only offered to Sky Club members today, the potential for biometrics to streamline airport check-in overall seems clear.
“From unlocking our phones to entering the workplace, more and more people have the option to use biometrics as a form of identity verification for daily activities,” said Gil West, Delta’s COO. “Having that option is quickly becoming an expectation that we are working hard to meet through this program.”
2. LG’s Hospitable Robots
This year at CES, LG introduced robots specifically developed for commercial use at hotels and airports. The new LG robots can deliver meals and drinks to guests and customers at hotels and airport lounges, quickly and efficiently. LG robots can also deliver luggage to guests’ rooms, handle express check-in and check-out services, and take care of payments.
“As an important part of our future growth engine, LG is committed to expanding its portfolio of robots that can deliver real convenience and innovation in our customers’ lives,” said Ryu Hye-jung, head of the smart solution business division of LG’s Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company.
3. Marriott’s IoT Guestroom
Late last year, Marriot unveiled an internet of things (IoT) hotel room to inspire the ultimate hotel experience of the future. The IoT Guestroom Lab explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience, create more efficient hotel room design and construction, and contribute to Marriott’s global sustainability efforts.
Multiple responsive IoT systems, devices, and applications communicate with one another within the rooms to serve guests and optimize hotel operations. For example, a guest can ask the room's virtual assistant for a wake-up alarm, to start a yoga routine on the room’s full-length mirror, and even program the shower to turn on at the desired temperature stored in the customer profile by voice or app.
“We know that our guests expect to personalize almost everything in their lives, and their hotel experience should be no different,” said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer at Marriott International. “By teaming with best-in-class partners, we are leveraging mobile and voice-enabled technology to give our guests the ability to set up the room to best meet their needs–whether that is creating the ultimate relaxation environment or one that enables productivity for business travelers.”
4. Heathrow Airport’s Kid-Friendly Entertainment
Around the World with Mr. Adventure is a kid-friendly mobile game that hides digital badges throughout terminals at Heathrow Airport in London. For each digital badge found, players can collect a real iron-on badge at the information desk to take on their journey.
While Heathrow Airport isn’t in the gaming industry, the app is designed to help travelers with children by keeping kids entertained while waiting for flights.
5. Carnival Cruise Lines And The Ocean Medallion
Carnival’s Ocean Medallion allows guests to unlock room doors, order food and beverages, make reservations for meals and entertainment, and even purchase excursions. What’s more, the wearable device uses artificial intelligence to learn more about the guest, and then offers relevant suggestions based on where people are on the ship, the time of day, and available activities.
“With this interactive technology platform, we are poised to have our global cruise line brands at the vanguard of forever changing the guest experience paradigm–not just in the cruise industry but in the larger vacation market and potentially other industries,” said Carnival’s CEO, Arnold W. Donald. “Our focus is on exceeding guest expectations every single day and consistently delivering great experiences.”