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Spotlight on technology for ATM 2019
January 2019 11024

However, the question remains, in a world of technological disruption – what is the hospitality industry doing to keep up with the rapidly evolving innovations surrounding it?

In our effort to address this question, cutting-edge technology and innovation will be adopted as the spotlight theme for Arabian Travel Market 2019.

Showcasing the most advanced and innovative forms of technology which are set to drive the MENA’s hospitality industry over the next decade, ATM 2019 will provide a platform to discuss how travel and tourism-orientated technology can boost competitiveness and sustainability in the region.

Technology and innovation will be integrated across all show verticals and planned activities – with a host of seminar sessions discussing the ongoing unprecedented digital disruption, and the emergence of innovative technologies that will fundamentally alter the way in which the hospitality industry operates in the region.

Much of the innovation we have seen across the travel industry to date is focused on easing the passenger journey, with flexibility, personalisation and authenticity all key to enhancing a guest’s overall trip.

The use of robots is becoming more commonplace with Colliers International predicting the global sale of guest relation robots to reach 66,000 units by 2020.

Deployed to improve guests’ overall experience in a hotel, these robots offer a range of uses from artificially intelligent chatbots designed to assist with the customer service process, through to robot concierge and butlers which have the ability to deliver luggage, handle check-in and check-outs and deliver meals 24/7 to guests efficiently.

Hoteliers have been cautious of technology taking away the human touch from the guest service and experience. However, by giving guests the power to choose every part of their hotel experience, hoteliers can learn the right balance between staff interaction and Artificial Intelligence-powered, automated customer service.

While a robot may not have a smile, it can recognise faces, remember names and most importantly remembers guest preferences, characteristics and behaviours.

With around 73 per cent of manual activities in the hospitality industry possessing the technical potential for automation and global hotel operators such as Marriott, Hilton and Accor already investing in automating elements of their human resources – it has been feared that AI may take over.

However, according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, innovative technology will not be a purely negative disruptor in the hospitality industry. New jobs will be created; existing roles will be redefined; and workers will have the opportunity to further their career with additional training.

The challenge therefore, will be preparing for and managing the technological transition over the next decade. 

Discussing the defining evolutions of hospitality technology, the Travel Tech Show will return to ATM 2019 with dedicated international exhibitors and an influential agenda of discussion and debate in the Travel Tech Theatre.

* The writer is exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market ”  

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