Travel managers and the Internet of Things headache

The ‘Internet of Things’ is easily dismissable as just another buzz-phrase. However, as any travel professional with their finger on the pulse should recognise, this technology will impact every single corner of the travel industry in a relatively short period of time.

NB: This is a viewpoint by David Fastuca, CMO and co-founder of Travelport Locomote.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently shaping the way travellers navigate their way through airports, and enriching their inflight experience. But some of the most exciting innovations in IoT technology are in the hotel room.

Below we examine the current state of play in IoT technology and outline what travellers and travel managers can not only expect to see but also be wary of in the near future.

The IoT is the network of physical objects that ‘speak’ to each other through electronics. Think of your GPS sending you live traffic updates, or switching on your living room lights from an app on your phone.

People are often surprised to learn that IoT technologies have been around for years, and more surprised to realise that they’ve been using them themselves.

It’s becoming increasingly important to travel professionals as there are few other industries that are embracing IoT innovations to the same extent. This is reflected by the fact that the travel industry leads investment in the technology, with a reported $128.9 million spent on Internet of Things projects in 2015.

We know that business travel in a lot of ways, is all about the customer experience, and thus travel companies are scrambling to differentiate the experiences they can offer from their competitors. Therefore if a hotel can offer the convenience of a keyless, smartphone-driven entry to a hotel room, they may just take the lead on their competitors.

The Internet Of Things… in your hotel room

In the same way as IoT is being used by airports to update passengers on terminal changes and flight delays, hotel providers are also looking to IoT technology to enrich the accommodation experiences of their guests.

When it comes to accommodation, business travellers should prepare themselves for a world where the TV, temperature, lighting, the curtains, you name it, will all be connected via the internet, and controlled by the guest.

Amazon’s home assistant device, Amazon Echo, paints a compelling picture of what may be in store for the hotel guests of the future. Voice-controlled hotel rooms, from air-conditioning and lighting to room service and shower temperature, have the potential to offer the kind of ultra-personalised experience that regular business travellers dream of.

The Internet Of Things…and risk management

However exciting the IoT innovations may be for the traveller, they present a suite of challenges for travel managers. Data security is a commonly cited concern in IoT discussions, and for good reason.

After all, a world where your personal device is in constant communication with almost everything around it is a world with far greater risk to data than an unsecured wifi connection. Especially considering people are two to four times more likely to fall victim to identity crimes while in transit.

It seems that we’re not even immune to IoT risks in the safety of our hotel room, with reports that hackers have been found holding some establishments at ransom, getting into their networks and shutting down systems.

The current application of IoT technology is only a shadow of what we can expect to see in the not-too-distant future, and travel managers need to arm themselves with sophisticated risk management tools to meet the new challenges it presents.

NB: This is a viewpoint by David Fastuca, CMO and cofounder of Travelport Locomote.

NB2: Image by Picture Waterfall/BigStock

https://www.tnooz.com/article/travel-managers-and-the-internet-of-things-headache/


Leave a Reply