7 Surprising Must-See Destinations in the US

September 10, 2018 | 39 views

There are tons of ultra-popular locations in the US to travel. According to TripAdvisor, New York City, Maui, Las Vegas, Oahu, and Orlando are America’s most vacationed destinations in 2018.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | July 7, 2022

The travel industry is reviving. Tourist spots across the globe are packed with excited explorers. Though it feels like everything is going back to normal, the way people travel has changed. The hospitality tech revolution is making mundane tasks easier and the customer experience richer. Most travelers prefer self-service over waiting to be served. Online planning and bookings have picked up pace, so have contact-less check-in and 24/7 digital concierge. Hotels must swiftly meet these evolving demands or risk losing in the race. They must incorporate technology into their day-to-day operations to eliminate human error, increase their service efficiency, and, above all, offer an outstanding customer experience. One of the technology trends reshaping the travel and hospitality industry is digital concierge—hotel chatbots that bring the concierge desk into the palm of a guest’s hand. Convenient, right? A Sneak Peak into Hotel Chatbots Hotel chatbots are software applications that communicate with your hotel’s website page visitors and resolve their queries. They are either programmed to behave a certain way or can be AI-powered. Programmed chatbots are configured to answer a limited set of questions. However, they can collect visitor information so your customer executives can get in touch with prospects to resolve their queries or provide them with booking assistance. On the other hand, AI-powered chatbots use NLP (Natural Language Processing) and ML (Machine Learning) to analye human behaviour and accordingly answer questions. Digital Concierge Brings in Conversions Personalized communication forms the crux of customer experience. A desired, non-intrusive interaction between a guest and a chat bot can create strong engagement and help the guest to make a booking at your hotel. In such cases, the bot will forward the booking inquiries directly into the IBE (Internet Booking Engine) and strengthen your direct sales. 30-50% of the chatbot-prospect interactions result in IBE forwarding of booking inquiries. This statistic shows how accepting the guests are of the chatbot’s services. (Source: DialogShift, Olga Heuser) Chatbots can also be integrated into social media platforms and instant messenger platforms so that guests can directly make bookings from a platform of their choice. How are Hotel Chatbots Redefining CX? Apart from bringing in revenue through direct sales, hotel chatbots also create a solid customer experience for the guests, so they don’t go home unsatisfied and give you a good review online. Here are the ways in which they enhance the customer experience: 24/7 Availability- Chatbots promptly respond to guest queries round the clock Multi-Lingual Support- Languages are not a barrier for them Efficiency- They lighten your hotel staff’s load of answering guest queries Customer Retention- They collect guest information, which helps in retention and follow-up Brand Awareness- They are brand representatives and increase brand awareness through responsiveness Additionally, AI- powered chatbots can also: Highlight the hotel’s special features upon check-in Recommend places and activities to do around the hotel with pictures and links Request feedback from guests about services Assist with table reservations or pool-side orders The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas Used Rose to Impress Guests The introduction of Rose, a smart chatbot that converses with guests on The Cosmopolitan’s website, changed the game for the hotel. The bot’s playful personality wooed hotel guests. Those who made a booking directly from the website ended up spending 37% more than those who did not engage with her. Let’s Wrap It Up A hotel chatbot refines the concierge experience for guests through rapid response times and enhances your hotel’s AI marketing efforts. It can be an invaluable asset for hotel business owners looking to stay ahead in the race.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

AI CRM and Online Booking Tipped To Boost Travel Recovery

Article | July 19, 2022

Travel technology professionals view tech as the way to help travel come back stronger, according to research. The TravelTech Show (formerly TTE Europe) polled buyers and suppliers who listed artificial intelligence, customer relationship management and online booking tools as the top three technologies to help boost recovery. Rounding out the top five were self-service portals and innovative payment options. The findings will be unsurprising to many in the industry already looking to AI, the cloud and other technologies to boost efficiency and improve the customer experience. Brian Sheerin, managing director of SABS Travel Technologies, says: Allowing travelers to self-book through an OBT [online booking tool] while still providing simple methods to communicate, such as online chat, are key to reducing customer frustration and allowing travel businesses the space to restructure, to resource and to meet customer expectations. OBTs were already playing a massive part in booking travel pre-pandemic and now it is even more important in the role of rebuilding the sector and customer confidence in it.”In recent weeks, American Airlines announced a far-reaching partnership with Microsoft, Expedia Group unveiled its new tech platform Open World and Miami Airport announced its rollout of biometric boarding technology. Payment developments and other advances in travel fintech also have been highlighted recently as an increasing priority to the industry as it looks to find new revenue streams. The TravelTech Show research also quizzed participants on the top challenges facing the travel technology industry currently, with economic uncertainty taking the top slot (52%), followed by COVID-19 restrictions (46%) and climate change (36%). Cyber security took fourth place compared to two years ago when it was in seventh place. Meanwhile, sustainable travel moved to seventh place compared to the second-place spot it held in 2020.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | June 29, 2022

“I believe that augmented reality will be the biggest technological revolution that happens in our lifetimes.” – Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games Augmented reality (AR) has proved to be a significant concept in tourism and hospitality management in the past few years. It allows us to enhance the physical environment and enhance the experience of exploring the surrounding area. According to Grand View Research, the global market for augmented reality was worth USD 25.33 billion in 2021. From 2022 to 2030, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.9%. As things keep pace with digitalization and this generation seeks quick and efficient yet reliable methods, every sector widely uses the application of augmented reality. According to Hospitality Tech, the market size of augmented reality will reach $198 billion by 2025, and the hotel business will be one of the key contributors to this income target. Effectively, Starwood, Marriott and Holiday Inn are already making a difference in the travel and hospitality industry by leveraging this technology. An investment in AR brings a lot of change in business revenue for both small hoteliers and prominent hotel tycoons. AR Improve Customer Experience for Travel and Hospitality Redefine the customer experience with augmented reality in the tourism industry. AR-based travel apps help businesses enhance their services and offer personalized experiences to their customers. By adding interactive hotel features that make the space more fun, you can get people to visit nearby attractions. Utilizing CX to maintain and expand a client base produces a terrific asset that positively affects ROI. CX effectively boosts customer lifetime value (LTV), which can become self-perpetuating. Companies that excel at CX and customer-centricity are 60% more profitable and generate 5.7% more revenue than those that don't. Ideas for Implementing AR in the Tourism and Hotel Industry AR is utilized chiefly via smartphones and offers many options concerning interactive experiences. AR in Excursions & Travel Attractions AR technology may be a terrific marketing tool for guiding first-time guests through the hotel and a great way to retain customers and provide more engaging experiences. With the application of augmented reality software, a standard tourist map comes to life. Moreover, AR technology enables clients to examine points of interest, restaurants, and other businesses. Your hotel restaurant may even use augmented reality to let customers explore the menu and ingredients in a new way by showing them 3D versions of the meals on their phones. Transportation If you have a travel mobile app with AR, you can point out the transportation objects to get the best possible directions, travel route, next destination, and places to travel to. Pokemon Go shows one such example of how you can use modern digital technologies to make the travel experience even better. It became the first popular augmented reality game. This AR app brought players out into the street and made them move and travel a lot. Scadi is one such AR app in travel for visitors of Alpine ski resorts. It uses advanced algorithms to create the most comfortable, safe and exciting routes for skiers and snowboarders. Integrates with other technology Using augmented reality in conjunction with other technologies such as beacon technology allows your hotel to more efficiently promote to visitors and upsell through push notifications. For example, through push notifications, hotels may give partner companies special offers or discounts, and vice versa, partner businesses can advertise the hotel. Hospitality Industry Must Make Room for AR for Better ROI In a post-pandemic context, the travel and hotel industries embrace technological advancements that enhance visitor experiences, eventually boosting corporate income and reducing operating expenses. Utilizing interactive technologies like AR, VR, and other interactive technologies increases operational efficiency, productivity, and ROI. By using augmented reality with CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) or EAM, you gain more understanding (Enterprise Asset Management). Augmented reality can assist facility managers in boosting the efficiency of their engineers and reducing the expense of ensuring their safety. AR will assist them in increasing their revenue by reducing their maintenance expenses. Using AR-based product models, the hospitality industry is gaining a significant competitive edge, resulting in faster sales cycles. Case Studies Holiday Inn During the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, Holiday Inn introduced one of the first uses of Augmented Reality in a hotel setting. The experiences used picture recognition and chroma video. The program identified hotel locations and activated athlete video footage, merging real and virtual components. This Holiday Inn use case shows how hotels may leverage AR to develop unique guest experiences around local events. In addition, the campaign helped promote the hotel and bolster its status as the official hotel for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Premier Inn The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn, the largest hotel chain in the United Kingdom, is one of the few places to have adopted the AR technology back in 2016. The hotel provided a wall map of the local region in each room. Tourists could use their smartphones to read information about local areas of interest by pointing them at a wall. Conclusion The benefits of augmented reality in the travel and hospitality industries are immense. AR is a potent tool for increasing company potential and returns on investment. Utilizing innovative technology boosts your hotel's exposure and brand awareness while propelling it into the digital age. Augmented reality in the tourism industry truly sets you apart from the competition. FAQ How is augmented reality changing the travel & tourism industry? Augmented reality helps hotels enhance the physical locations they are attempting to attract visitors to, such as hotel rooms and local attractions. What is digital transformation in the hospitality industry? Digital transformation refers to how companies restructure themselves to adapt and modify their corporate culture to empower innovations that utilize technology and propel their enterprises to new levels of growth. What are the benefits of augmented reality? Creates unique customer experiences Reduces cognitive overload Increases engagement

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Excellent Customer Experience in Travel Industry Generate Customer Loyalty

Article | May 10, 2022

As the impact of COVID-19 subsides, the devasted travel industry appears to be resuming normalcy with increased travel volumes. In addition, emerging tourism trends and technology in the travel industry have offered new possibilities for business travel to redefine itself. The present opportunities available in the travel sector may benefit your firm. However, customer experience in the travel industry has a significant impact on growing long-term loyalty. Providing a positive client experience is a significant problem for many in the travel and tourism industry. Customer Experience Is a Challenge to Recover Customer experience is a critical component of the travel and tourism industry. As travel volumes have increased in the post-covid era, so have negative travel experiences. Business travelers who commute frequently have higher expectations. For a very long time, they have voiced their dissatisfaction, even before the leisure travelers complained. This imbalance has been exacerbated by COVID-19. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 38% of business passengers complained about the airline, double the percentage compared to leisure travelers. The actual question, though, is how to overcome this obstacle. Some companies may go above and beyond to reassure travelers with honesty, openness, and unmatched customer service. You may improve the customer experience by implementing the following ideas. Concentrate on the corporate culture Give specific examples of consumer advocacy Equip employees with the necessary tools According to a survey conducted by Think with Google, superior customer service is the most compelling aspect for high-value travelers. Additionally, 60% of them agree that customer service is the most crucial factor when it comes to picking a brand to travel with. CX Plays a Vital Role in Revenue Generation Managing customer experience in travel can enhance the brand-customer relationship, ultimately leading to revenue growth. The adoption of technology for travel booking, ticketing, and expenditure management has improved the customer experience. Satisfied customers increase income and assist firms in calculating the return on their travel and cost expenditures. Customer experience is a key differentiator that boosts customer happiness and loyalty, and both sells and establishes a competitive edge. “CX is the difference between success or slump.” — Chris Pescott, CEO of Perceptive. Annual business travel expenditures will reach $1.7 trillion globally by 2022. According to Statista, nearly 500 million business travels will take place withing the United States each year by 2022. Ways to Improve Customer Experience (CX) Use Tech to Create Breakthrough Customer Experiences Technology in the travel industry is regularly evolving. By putting technology at the center of each touchpoint, the industry is laying the groundwork for a successful customer experience in travel. Chatbots powered by AI and machine learning deliver client care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chatbots have been intelligently developed using cutting-edge technology and may be used in place of humans. AI is constantly evolving, making it more trustworthy and effective as a commercial solution. Embrace an Omnichannel Mindset With mobile devices accounting for more than 50% of online traffic, multi-device digital experiences have become the norm. In addition, today's customers interact with companies across various offline and online channels, frequently switching several times, and each stage of the journey must be seamlessly connected and consistent. As a result, adopting omnichannel is one of the most significant changes you will undertake. Use Customer Journey Mapping To create a customer journey, you must first understand your consumer. By comparing journey maps to core KPIs, you may gain a deeper insight into your customer experience and identify areas of concern and opportunity. You may use trip maps to enhance the customer experience and visualize the customer experience in the future. Alternatively, you may influence organizational transformation from the stage of inspiration to the planning and execution phases. Utilize all touchpoints and seek new possibilities for interaction. Case studies: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM's social care staff are well-known for their responsiveness and efficiency – the airline even shows a live countdown on its Twitter header picture to inform consumers when they may anticipate a response. However, what sets the organization apart is its ability to generate unique customer experiences. Qatar Airways Qatar Airways is elevating the business class travel experience. At a recent travel industry conference in Berlin, the airline unveiled its Business Class QSuite. This is the first time a business class cabin has been offered and sold with a real double bed. However, the organization goes a step further by providing value to consumers traveling for business. Additionally, the QSuite may be an open work and meeting room. Multiple configuration choices appeal to clients seeking privacy or personalization. A score of 9.2 for audience insights indicates that the brand is in tune with its social audience well enough to cultivate an impressive number of committed followers. Conclusion The travel and tourism industry significantly benefits from nurturing an outstanding customer experience. Supremacy in customer experience can be offered with the help of sophisticated digital technology that can quantify effects and forecast behavior. In addition, as 'bleisure' travel continues to grow in popularity to blend business and leisure time, the customer experience in travel is increasing in relevance. FAQ: What are the benefits of a good customer experience? A good customer experience increases sales and creates customer loyalty. Moreover, it reduces complaints. How would you define excellent customer service? Great customer service means responding promptly to a client's wants, being responsive to their concerns, and offering an enthusiastic level of care. Do you value customer service or customer experience more? Consumer service results in a positive customer experience. Both are critical to the business's success.

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Spotlight

Upside Business Travel

You deserve a better business trip. Upside is building a world-class team passionate about creating a product that will turn business travel from mundane to magical. This is no ordinary startup.

Related News

DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Setting a new course for Pictou cruise ship visits

Town of Pictou. | August 23, 2021

PICTOU, N.S, After two seasons of cancelled cruise ship visits, the local tourism industry is showing signs of a rebound after COVID. Michelle Young, Manager of Recreation Services for Pictou Recreation and Parks, says that while cruise ship visits may have been on pause since 2020, work has continued behind the scenes to prepare for an eventual return of tourists. Now, bookings are beginning to ramp up again with ships scheduled to visit in 2022 and 2023. “We're very optimistic,” says Young. “There's a lot of preparation, though, to get to that point. Over this past year-and-a-half, the cruise sector has been highly impacted with COVID. So, in the meantime, there's been a lot of preparation going on at the higher levels. When the reopening happens, there will be protocols in place and guidelines that will be given to us that we will have to follow. There's also preparation on the community side as well.” Since 2012, the local cruise ship business has grown by partnering with companies operating smaller-sized vessels – an ideal fit for the primarily American tourists looking for a unique tourist experience. “We've had some great successes,” says Young. “There's a company that is regularly calling on Pictou every year – Pearl Seas. We've always aligned, what we have here according to the cruise company and what their brand is all about and what their client is looking for.” According to Young, the appeal to Pictou for U.S. visitors is a mixture of local features, including the connection to Scotland, local architecture and music. For some, the draw is a tie to family. “There's been a number of times that passengers on the ship actually get off and visit friends and family here, or they have come through another time while traveling and had a desire to come back by ship,” says Young. “We have one family that was researching family history and they needed to find a graveyard here. So that was very, very specific- they had their own agenda for that cruise.” The return of the cruise ships in a boon to the entire local economy, say Young, with not just tourism-related businesses benefiting. “Impact is in the local economy here is, you know who comes through your front door,” says Young. “By cruise passengers and crews locally walking through a gift shop or a pharmacy looking for either a souvenir or supplies, those are the direct things that local business community feel.” Adam Coulter, the UK Managing Editor for cruisecritic.com, predicts that smaller vessels to more unique locations will be a rising trend for the cruise ship industry in the future. “Expedition ships also focus on outdoor exploration in more remote places, which has become a priority during the pandemic,” says Coulter in a recent article. For Pictou, getting on the map for the cruise industry at this moment might be ideal as companies look for smaller, safer destinations that are off the beaten path.

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11 endangered bucket-list destinations (and how to visit them responsibly)

USA TODAY | December 27, 2018

Climate change and over tourism make daily headlines now and are stark reminders that some of the most beautiful places in the world are at risk of disappearing. For many travelers, the natural response to this is “last-chance tourism,” or a rush to see endangered places while they’re still here. But before writing obituaries for these endangered destinations, consider instead taking actionable steps before and during your trip to keep them from disappearing. Here are 11 at-risk destinations and what you can do to help preserve them. Teeming with biodiversity, beauty and "Finding Nemo" references, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world. Sadly, climate change and irresponsible tourism have placed a strain on this natural wonder. About half of the reef is estimated to have died since 2016.

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4 must-visit destinations for spring in the US

The Straits Times | November 26, 2018

Spring is, arguably, the ideal time to visit the United States. The season brings natural wonder with it, clearing away blankets of thick snow, bringing animals out from hibernation and coaxing flowers into bloom.You don’t need to be a fan of U2 to want to visit Joshua Tree National Park, an endlessly fascinating national park located just two hours’ drive from Los Angeles.A desert may seem like a strange place to visit in a season that’s known for bursting with new, verdant life, but one glance at Joshua Tree in the spring will make it abundantly clear why it remains a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Setting a new course for Pictou cruise ship visits

Town of Pictou. | August 23, 2021

PICTOU, N.S, After two seasons of cancelled cruise ship visits, the local tourism industry is showing signs of a rebound after COVID. Michelle Young, Manager of Recreation Services for Pictou Recreation and Parks, says that while cruise ship visits may have been on pause since 2020, work has continued behind the scenes to prepare for an eventual return of tourists. Now, bookings are beginning to ramp up again with ships scheduled to visit in 2022 and 2023. “We're very optimistic,” says Young. “There's a lot of preparation, though, to get to that point. Over this past year-and-a-half, the cruise sector has been highly impacted with COVID. So, in the meantime, there's been a lot of preparation going on at the higher levels. When the reopening happens, there will be protocols in place and guidelines that will be given to us that we will have to follow. There's also preparation on the community side as well.” Since 2012, the local cruise ship business has grown by partnering with companies operating smaller-sized vessels – an ideal fit for the primarily American tourists looking for a unique tourist experience. “We've had some great successes,” says Young. “There's a company that is regularly calling on Pictou every year – Pearl Seas. We've always aligned, what we have here according to the cruise company and what their brand is all about and what their client is looking for.” According to Young, the appeal to Pictou for U.S. visitors is a mixture of local features, including the connection to Scotland, local architecture and music. For some, the draw is a tie to family. “There's been a number of times that passengers on the ship actually get off and visit friends and family here, or they have come through another time while traveling and had a desire to come back by ship,” says Young. “We have one family that was researching family history and they needed to find a graveyard here. So that was very, very specific- they had their own agenda for that cruise.” The return of the cruise ships in a boon to the entire local economy, say Young, with not just tourism-related businesses benefiting. “Impact is in the local economy here is, you know who comes through your front door,” says Young. “By cruise passengers and crews locally walking through a gift shop or a pharmacy looking for either a souvenir or supplies, those are the direct things that local business community feel.” Adam Coulter, the UK Managing Editor for cruisecritic.com, predicts that smaller vessels to more unique locations will be a rising trend for the cruise ship industry in the future. “Expedition ships also focus on outdoor exploration in more remote places, which has become a priority during the pandemic,” says Coulter in a recent article. For Pictou, getting on the map for the cruise industry at this moment might be ideal as companies look for smaller, safer destinations that are off the beaten path.

Read More

11 endangered bucket-list destinations (and how to visit them responsibly)

USA TODAY | December 27, 2018

Climate change and over tourism make daily headlines now and are stark reminders that some of the most beautiful places in the world are at risk of disappearing. For many travelers, the natural response to this is “last-chance tourism,” or a rush to see endangered places while they’re still here. But before writing obituaries for these endangered destinations, consider instead taking actionable steps before and during your trip to keep them from disappearing. Here are 11 at-risk destinations and what you can do to help preserve them. Teeming with biodiversity, beauty and "Finding Nemo" references, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world. Sadly, climate change and irresponsible tourism have placed a strain on this natural wonder. About half of the reef is estimated to have died since 2016.

Read More

4 must-visit destinations for spring in the US

The Straits Times | November 26, 2018

Spring is, arguably, the ideal time to visit the United States. The season brings natural wonder with it, clearing away blankets of thick snow, bringing animals out from hibernation and coaxing flowers into bloom.You don’t need to be a fan of U2 to want to visit Joshua Tree National Park, an endlessly fascinating national park located just two hours’ drive from Los Angeles.A desert may seem like a strange place to visit in a season that’s known for bursting with new, verdant life, but one glance at Joshua Tree in the spring will make it abundantly clear why it remains a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

Read More

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