InterContinental Hotels to let travellers travel on their own terms
Hotel companies are confident that they can meet the expectations of their guests as they gear up to capture demand with renewed focus on cleanliness, safety and touchless experiences, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta.
10th May, 2021
For any offline travel brand or experience provider it is crucial to look at the digital world.
For instance, contactless technology has proven to a major catalyst to explore new payment options. As Mastercard points out, “the pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity”.
Now airlines, hotels and car rental companies acknowledge the need to let the traveller be in control, be it for a functionality within a mobile app or let’s say a QR code-based option.
Referring to the same at Ai’s Touchless Experience Virtual Conference held last week, Philippe Garnier, VP Omni-channel Commerce, InterContinental Hotels (IHG), said that the pandemic solidified certain initiatives of the group.
“Cleanliness has been redefined (for example via new science led protocols),” he said. As for how the travel has become touchless, he said with digital check-in and check-out option, it is one of the ways that IHG is making sure one can travel on their own terms. Garnier mentioned that the pace to evolve has definitely increased and in fact, steps like these are examples of how Covid has accelerated innovation.
The willingness was always there but the urge to overcome complexities grew last year.
If one considers the fact each property within an established hotel chain is its own profit centre and ownership, then systems related decisions aren’t straightforward. Why? Because it’s like a multi-layered initiative, considering CRS and a variety of PMSs being involved. How to handle a guest’s details, payment method etc.? How to handle check-in data? And entities are also concerned about data breaches. “We have to ensure right safety and security protocols in place (so that information/ data is rightly used and not leaked anywhere else),” said Garnier.
Every aspect of a property-related experience must be re-assessed as perceptions of safety and convenience isn’t the same anymore. As it becomes clear that consumers are looking for alternative to cash or a reluctant to enter a pin and rather comfortable with biometrics, travel providers can’t ignore such inclinations.
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