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Travel Trends & Technology

Expedia’s 2018 Travel Tech Trends and Industry Opportunities report, reveals that new technologies are seeing swift uptake from consumers, driven by consumers’ growing digital impatience and expectation for instant responses, answers and solutions to their queries and purchasing requests.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, mimic human behavior and complete tasks.

This can be found in some of the simplest, daily things such as Chatbots, which are offshoots of AI. Chatbot systems on their websites to help relieve the load on its hotlines. With Chatbots, time-starved (or impatient) travelers can get their queries across and expect a quicker response than, say, sending through an e-mail.

Companies that use it:

  • Air New Zealand (named Oscar)
  • AirAsia
  • Finnair (named Finn)
  • Expedia
  • Allora (named Dorothy)
  • Skyscann

In February this year, Japanese tour firm First Airlines rolled out a one-of-a-kind service that allows passengers to virtually visit destinations in a short two-hour “flight,” that would otherwise take upwards of 10 hours.

Passengers just needed to be strapped into a simulator to enjoy “traveling” to their destination in the comfort of first and business class cabins. The experience included everything that one would experience on an actual flight such as a safety announcement by the cabin crew and a four-course fine-dining in-flight meal.

Upon “arrival,” travelers will then be given high-tech virtual reality headsets to put on to explore their destination’s sites.

Other travel companies, such as Thomas Cook, Flight Centre, and Virgin Holidays are also using VR in-store to promote destinations they’re selling by giving immersive tours.

Renowned multinational hospitality company Shangri-La Hotels was perhaps the first if not one of the first hotel group to use VR across all its global sales offices to promote its properties worldwide.

Even the aforementioned Niantic-developed PokemonGO was used by tourism authorities worldwide to promote their destinations.


Translation: We have confirmed that the frequency to encounter Lapras has been increased in the coastal area of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefecture. Apparently, it will continue until 23 Nov. It’s time to travel there where you can experience Tohoku district! We believe that you can find a lot of awesome things besides PokemonGO.


According to industry experts, emerging technology blockchain is the next major disruptor to the travel industry. And by the looks of how quickly companies are adopting cryptocurrencies, that seems to be true.

In February this year, Brisbane Airport, one of Australia’s biggest airports, announced it struck a game-changing deal with cryptocurrency travel firm TravelbyBit. The airport will become the world’s first airport to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legitimate currency.


Southeast Asian travel firm Smiling Albino has also started acknowledging Bitcoin installments for all treks to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. The organization said it was “a more productive approach to pay for an excursion.”

Sweden Has An Ice Hotel For Those Who Like The Frrezing Cold

Queen of the north, by Emilie Steele and Sebastian Dell’Uva, is one of the incredible rooms...

Queen of the north, by Emilie Steele and Sebastian Dell’Uva, is one of the incredible rooms available in the 28th Icehotel(Credit: Asaf Kliger)

The hotel made of snow andiceis located in Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden. Now in its 28th edition, the Icehotel features 15 rooms decked with frozen sculptures. Highlights include a space-themed room and another dominated by a strange ice queen.

The Icehotel involved harvesting thousands of ice blocks from a nearby frozen river. A 30,000 cubic meter (1,059,440 cubic ft) mixture of snow and ice was used to construct the hotel. It includes warm rooms, sub-zero ice rooms, an ice bar, as well as a ceremony hall suitable for weddings and the like. Guests who opt to brave the cold are woken with a hot drink, plus a sauna, hot shower and roaring fire are available too. Activities include a northern lights tour on snowmobile, a half-day tour with dog sled, ice sculpting, and yoga.

Daily travelers, by Alem Teklu and Anne Karin Krogevoll, is inspired by the boat journey thousands...

Daily travelers, by Alem Teklu and Anne Karin Krogevoll, is inspired by the boat journey thousands of refugees have made across the Mediterranean Sea(Credit: Asaf Kliger)

White desert, by Timsam Harding and Fabián Jacquet Casado, translates a desert landscape into ice

White desert, by Timsam Harding and Fabián Jacquet Casado, translates a desert landscape into ice(Credit: Asaf Kliger)

Co-Living Next Big Trend In Hospitality


Co-living can be seen as a dorm for adults. Back in September  2016 , AccorHotels announced it was launching a new brand, Jo&Joe, largely inspired by co-living and hostels. And in December 2016, Hilton Worldwide announced it too was considering launching an “urban Microtel” brand concept in the near future. They view it as a  solution for the urban housing crisis, A remedy for lonely Millennials seeking out true connections in this all-too digitally connected universe and a new live/work alternative for remote workers and global nomads.

Here’s what signifies Jo&Joe as co-living

  • Urban city-center locations “close to public transport and less than 15 minutes away from the major points of interest”
  • A central bar for locals and guests alike to frequent
  • Local and affordable craft cuisine
  • A collaborative kitchen where guests can cook for themselves or each other
  • A “Happy House” area where guests can do their laundry, relax, cook, or unwind, just as they would when they’re at home
  • Shared sleeping arrangements in the “Together” space, where you’ll find “an ingenious modular sleeping area that guests share without sacrificing privacy”
  • Private sleeping accommodations in rooms and apartments for two to five people with private bathrooms and possibly a kitchen space, called “Yours”
  • Alternative accommodations that take the form of “OOO! (Out of the Ordinary)” experiences. They could be yurts, hammocks, or caravans, for example, for the ultimate social media bragging opportunity
  • A mobile app that connects guests, Jo&Joe staff members, and locals alike to serve as a “social accelerator

Podshare based in Los Angelos

Common based in New York City

Sabbatical, which is opening its first location in Puerto Rico in August and plans to expand to Mexico City and Montenegro in 2017

Commonspace  Based in Syracuse New York

WeLive based in NYC’s Wall Street, Washington D.C. & Crystal City

PureHouse (,co-housing in Williamsburg, Brookly provide spaces that support entrepreneurs, digital nomads, artists and designers- 

OpenDoor ( has properties including the 16-room Farmhouse in Berkeley, California

 The Collective ( has launched the largest co-living site of its kind in UK capital, accommodating more than 500 people.

Zoku ( in Amsterdam

Roam ( and you can stay in its co-living centres in Bali, Miami, Madrid and London (its Sloane Square site opened at the end of last year). Tokyo and San Francisco are coming soon.

Hotel Rooms Going Keyless





Beginning this week, you can use a smartphone app to open your room at some Aloft, Element and W hotels.  Starwood (which owns those three chains) will upgrade 150 of its hotels to allow keyless, smartphone entry to some 30,000 rooms worldwide. Hilton, which is a much larger hotel chain, plans to roll out a similar system next year. Keyless entry via smartphone is obviously more convenient than using a magnetic swipe card (which is easily lost or demagnetized).  Also, you can skip the check-in desk and go straight to your room.

Keyless hotel room entry works like this. You enroll your phone by installing an app. On the day of your stay at the hotel, a “key” (some kind of encrypted code) is sent to your phone via a push notification, along with a message telling you which room number you’ll be staying in. Then, you just hold your phone near your hotel room door, and voila — it unlocks. In this case, the app is Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) — a loyalty scheme for its Aloft, Element, and W hotel chains.

HID Global — says it uses its own AES encryption method, with a “rotating key.” This could imply that the locks themselves are not networked — i.e. they’re standalone devices — and that they just rotate through a series of unlock codes. This is probably safer than the Onity magnetic key card locks — which could be hacked very simply with an Arduino — but if anyone reverse-the encryption algorithm then this new keyless scheme might not be much safer. A much better alternative would be connecting each room lock to a central computer — so that a smarter encryption/unlocking method could be used —


The Pros- Its much harder to lose a smartphone. Second, your smartphone can’t be demagnetized by other things in your pocket. Third, you can skip check-in completely and go straight to your hotel room — and you can skip the check-out, too.

Cons-The only problem I can see is if your smartphone runs out of battery — and it also isn’t clear how you would handle multiple people sharing the same room (does everyone get the key sent to their phone?)

Starting  today,Wednesday, November 5, 10 Starwood hotels will be enabled for keyless entry via the SPG app. The plan is to have 30,000 rooms enabled in 150 Aloft, Element, and W hotels by “early 2015.” Next year, Hilton is expected to begin the roll-out of a similar system, with somewhere in the region of 4,000 hotels — 600,000 rooms — being enabled for keyless entry by the end of 2016.


Restaurant Chains To Roll Out Table Top Tablets


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The rising number of chain restaurants that have begun, or are planning to implement tabletop tablets in the future. These chains include Chili’s, Red Robin, MacDonald’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.  Applebee’s, which will be rolling out tabletop tablets starting in March 2014 yearlong. So why would your customers want to begin offering tabletop tablets? Applebee’s president Mike Archer says a common pain point for customers is having to find the server to pay a check. Implementing this kind of technology puts more control into guests’ hands and enables them to pay at their table. This move can also encourage more favor with the tech-savvy Millennial Generation. Tabletop tablet implementation is expected to continue growing throughout the restaurant industry as the technology becomes more affordable and customer-friendly.


Trends In Hospitality Technology



Since hotel guests travel with an increasing number of personal devices and their own information and entertainment content, Marriott is responding to this trend through guestroom design.  guests have the electronics (adequate and easy-to-reach plugs, bandwidth capabilities) and ergonomic support (seating and surfaces) they need. Kimpton, on the other hand, provide their guests them with Nook e-readers during their stays. The devices are preloaded with books and magazines, but guests can request personalized uploads. Eventi, another Kimpton property in New York, has a “business bar” that has iPads and iPad Minis guests can use. The Hyatt Union Square New York offers three check-in options for guests: an Marriott’s new Workspace on Demand service allows non-hotel guests, such as small businesses and entrepreneurs, to book meeting space at Marriott properties on half-day or full-day basis. Larger groups can book meeting space that includes audio-visual equipment and Wi-FiPad check-in with a staff member called Gallery Host, a self-serve check-in kiosk and a traditional front desk.

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