Humans since times immemorial have been eager to travel and see the world. There are more than enough movies and pop culture with bucket lists including exotic destinations and remote getaways. But COVID-19 has changed this. Almost overnight people have transitioned from loving the outside to dreading it. With billions of people cooped up in their homes, the travel industry has taken a major hit. According to a report, all Indian airlines except Indigo need close to $2.5 billion just to cut their losses. Thus the travel and hospitality industry has taken the greatest hit.
While the industry will surely recover, technology can help get it back on its feet.
Travel companies post-COVID-19 will have to use predictive analytics to keep afloat. Airlines will have to keep a check of the potential rise of infections in the world and organise their flight schedules accordingly. This will enable them to not incur huge losses at the time of a lockdown. They will also have to analyse the areas of greatest demand.
Demand of airlines is bound to increase after the lockdown but companies will have to localise the areas where a larger number of potential flyers exist. This will also help them to localise their advertising to only these areas.
Redefining Call Centre
Call centre companies and executives are the backbone of all travel companies. But due to the increase in losses, many travel companies are laying off this extra investment. Thus technology is being upgraded daily to give the consumers an automated yet personal customer service experience. All travel companies will have to go big on their IVRs and reduce investment on physical call centres.
Growth In Robotics
Before the pandemic, there were very few hotels incorporating robotics in their customer experience. But with rising fears of infection robots may become necessary for all hotels. According to Dr Tracy Xu,
Enhanced Safety Of Customers
Hotels and airlines will have to step up their sanitation and cleaning procedures as the consumers will expect hospital-like cleanliness from the companies. Overstuffed cabins and common hotel lobbies will not work. Airlines may have to implement innovative techniques like showing cleaning videos of planes inside the cabin, online and in the airport.
This will promote a sense of reassurance among their customers. Hotels will have to limit or completely eradicate check-in desks and replace them with self-check kiosks and keep human to human interaction at a minimum.
Introduction of deep discounts may be necessary to give stimulus to the industry. Thus cheap holiday packages to remote destinations as well as family packages may help the industry to make up for some of their losses.
Ease of Booking
It can be tedious to book your travel online. With hidden taxes and last-minute changes to flights, travellers often refrain from online booking. But with limited human to human interaction, online booking will have to become easier and faster. It should be as easy to book a flight to a remote airport in Africa as it is to book a flight to New York. Thus websites should be created with keeping the user in mind and not the company.
While the details of how travel will change is still to be ascertained but one thing is sure that travelling post-corona will have to be completely reimagined to get the industry up and running.