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As 2019 comes to a close, our team is incredibly excited about the emerging trends and innovations shaping the new year. We’ve hand selected 20 of the top trends to look out for in 2020.
Here’s a sneak peek at the top 5 trends redefining hospitality, tourism and technology over the next decade.
2019 was all about hyper-personalization, but 2020 will focus on the backend process instead. Our first trend explores how AI and Machine Learning are not only valuable for automating the collection and analysis of data, but monitoring, measuring, evaluating and even reassessing it as well. Gartner and Forrester predict that “more than a million knowledge-work jobs will be replaced by software robotics, RPA, virtual agents and chatbots and ML-based decision management” in 2020. Experts at Hicon 2019 revealed that AI has the potential to increase hotel revenues by 10%, reduce costs by 15% and eliminate 73% of manual activities. If we remove the burden from staff by automating tasks, they'll have more time to focus on the most important job at hand: making customers happy.
Hyper-automation brings us to our next trend: Smarter Hotels. Giovanna Manzi, CEO of Best Western Italy, redefined smart hotels when she revealed, “A ‘smart’ hotel is comprised of people, not robots. People are the ones who make the difference and that’s why they’re the ones we have to take care of. We need to ensure that the entire staff is treated well if we want them to be creative and empathetic with customers." As we saw above, many hotel functions can be automated or managed by a chatbot or a computer; however, other activities require a human touch. Knowing when an action requires a human touch will be the new key to a hotelier's success.
Though ecotourism was formally defined in 2015 as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”, its initiatives are at the forefront of 2020. 2019 highlighted the urgency to focus on climate change and the environment. The result? Many travelers are planning their vacations accordingly with authentic accommodations and nature-based excursions and activities. Booking.com reveals that there are, “73% of global travellers intending to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation” in the new year.
Related to ecotourism is conscious travel, which focuses on the journey, not the destination. Love her, hate her, or indifferent to her - Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, brought global attention to climate change and the importance of protecting the environment in 2019. She highlighted the concept of "flygskam", or flight shame in English. As a result, the BBC reported that “after surveying more than 6,000 people in the US, Germany, France and the UK, UBS found that 21% had reduced the number of flights they took over the last year.” More people are ditching air travel and opting for train travel instead. 2020 will undoubtedly be the year of conscious travel.
Say goodbye to wrinkled cash and a pocketful of coins and say hello to the majority of consumers completing purchases with a tap of a card or watch. According to Forbes, “ten years ago, six out of every ten transactions were cash. Now it’s three in ten. And in just another decade, it could be as low as one in ten”. The benefits go far beyond the convenience, as a cashless society aids in lowering and eliminating fees as well. Cashless transactions save banks time and cash - from printing, handling, storing and depositing paper money. Have you jumped on the cashless bandwagon?