The emergence of the digital phenomenon has already altered the foundations of tourism around the world and a new uproar is around the corner: Big Data, the analytics of massive data. The processing of large quantities of data allows the establishment of predictive models originated by tracking the travel activity through human sensors already implemented/implanted, such as smartphones, almost biometric extensions of people. In the year 2020 we foresee the interconnection of … 212.000 million sensors! , correlating without any cables, telemetrically. This fantastic universe of intertwined data will then provide information that to date is unavailable as to how many, when, how, where, towards where and whom are the travellers on the move.
The tourism industry must be prepared to affront this big challenge of the circulation and analysis of data. Pioneers of the technological development, airline companies have initiated this task several years ago when they created a management system, yield management, capable of optimizing air transport based on demand, seasonality, connection hubs, and anticipating booking. Big hotel chains have copied this model, as have other tourism corporations such as main reservation companies, online agencies and travel meta search engines, that have been introducing variables in their electronic business modules capable of determining what date is more convenient for the user to take a specific flight or book a particular room. Continue reading
Knowledge of the evolution of the habits of travellers is just as relevant as the knowledge of their tastes and desires. If the tourist industry needs to know more about the “what” during travels, it’s no less important to figure out the “how”, when it comes to choosing an experience over others. It is this element that, precisely, conditions the product according to the satisfaction that it produces on its consumers.
In this regard, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) provides very interesting data about the evolution of habits in the hotel consumption, not always reflected in the hospitality industry in general, in Spain, or Latin America, or even the majority of the countries around the world. A quick analysis of this data shows that today, priority is not given to comfort, services, complementary activities and other aspects, but to technology. We live in a technological world, and therefore, citizens adopt a technological habit which cannot be interrupted or diminished, even during their vacation. The improvement which is most appreciated by travellers (at least in America), is the ease of the process of making reservations and personal check-in introduced by technology thanks to online engines. The potential offered by Big Data technology will, without a doubt, determine the evolution of hotel reservations in the coming years.
If the ease of checking in is what provides the most satisfaction to hotel customers nowadays, even above the ease of confirming reservations (thanks to mobile technology), it’s well worth thinking about the future of the reception desk and of the formalities and procedures that take place at the front desk. This feature of hotels, if it were to continue existing, will be completely different in 10 years. In its morphology, in its functionality, in its atmosphere, and its consumption of human capital. Continue reading
The Azores archipelago brings us back to medieval times and European myths. The O Faial Island belongs to a group of 9 islands that were discovered during the first half of the XV century and began to be populated in 1460. The 4th of July of 1833 the Portuguese king Manuel I promoted the port of Horta, it’s capital, to a city. Horta owes its name to its first settler’s last name, Captain Joss Van Hurtere.
From this harbor the whaling expeditions of the Portuguese Empire would set sail back then, today international voyagers crossing the Atlantic Ocean from America to Europe dock here. The mythical port of Horta, in the Azores Islands, is covered in annotations and paintings reflecting past experiences of maritime navigation, some unexpectedly tipping over, others tragically sinking. Always cautious with the wind, having no disdain for the strong hurricane gusts found among the Gulf.
On the dock, that’s been transformed into a colorful exhibition of the commemorative depictions, the Fort of Santa Cruz rises since the XVI century, bastion of the King Manuel I for the defense of his vast empire. Since 2004 it’s been part of the Pousadas de Portugal chain, and from its rooms you can see the come and go of vessels with the pointed silhouette of the Pico Island in the background. Continue reading
In Milan, time stands still. I returned not long ago to the city of Visconti and I could not resist residing once again in the Bvlgari hotel, the first one opened by the exclusive jeweler in partnership with Ritz-Carlton International. The hotel is located walking distance from the exclusive Via Montenapoleone and the Teatro della Scala. There was no substantial change in its facilities: if anything, they have a more round appearance, for being vivid, more glamorous, and more visited. That white marble façade that inspired so much respect the first time, those reflective windows, and the architectonic rigor that is expected from the V brand…
«Love, union and collaboration can move planets. Let’s see if between us all we can achieve an island without any boundaries», Leda Giordano, manager of the Nautilus Lanzarote Art & Biosphere Bungalows, tells me. Her establishment has 45 adapted bungalows, barrier free bathrooms, ramps everywhere and disabled guests can even submerge themselves in the swimming pool without anything to fear or hide. Accessibility, she says, doesn’t mean hotels can’t be nice, and without looking like «real hospitals with bad odors», as she has seen elsewhere. And, she adds, for people with their full capacities (if any truly exist because, this writer at least, isn’t yet capable of gliding to the moon) her Lanzarotean Nautilus has a collection of artwork thorough every corner of the garden. Even outside of their gardens, in the public garden of Puerto del Carmen, where the business is located.
Giordano hoists the blue flag of another less publicized beach —that of the Association of People with Reduced Mobility of Palante—, through a document signed by Estrella Nicolás. This document highlights the scarcity of properly adapted hotels in Spain, «it would be interesting that someone addressed the issue of complete accessibility on the premises of hotels, from the dining room to the swimming pool. Transportation is a fundamental matter, as is that restaurants, pubs or any stores abide to the regulations. The priority is that when making these places universally accessible, it is done serious and responsibly, in such way that later we don’t come across any surprise (trick-ramps…) that in the end don’t provide solutions and have created a significant expense.»
The document even reflects about access in Lanzarote to the beach fronts as well as «the possibility to move freely through areas such as Puerto del Carmen, where there is a more… therapeutic temperature.» And she continues, «Achieving the most independence at natural (beaches) and recreational environments like these is essential and rightful, without it generating any environmental impact and caring for their sustainability.» Continue reading
The Peninsula Hotels brand imposes respect due to its unconditional commitment to luxury and the art of hospitality. An idea of service which transforms itself, as these images show, in a concept of liturgy whose only protagonists are the people.
The field of robotics evolves much faster than some think. It has been replacing operators in automotive assembly lines for decades. It also works in hospitals, and not only in menial tasks; Da Vinci even performs heart operations. They shoot photographs and video from the air, dust the crops, and in 2015, will deliver Amazon-branded packages.
In a world that is more technological and mechanized every day, robots already occupy a very important place in the new industrial revolution. They will also be the main characters of the upcoming service revolution, which will affect the tourist industry utterly and completely. It won’t be long before we see them as an essential part of the backoffice workforce in a hotel, a restaurant, or in any company within the tourist trade. Continue reading