Autonomous Driving Technology and New Forms of Hospitality

By Steve Lee Founder & Design Principal, Aprilli Design Studio | January 13, 2019

The emergence of new technologies such as Autonomous Driving Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Internet of Things marks the advent of a new era. Despite the recent accidents and criticisms concerning safety issues, Autonomous Driving Technology is rapidly developing with some projections anticipating the first release of commercialized self-driving vehicles in 2021.

The progress in Autonomous Driving Technology appears promising with the accumulation of more test drive results and the development of more advanced systems. Considering the attention focused on the safety and logistics of these new technologies, there is a growing interest in how these new technologies will influence our lifestyles and how industries will change in the future. Among many of the futuristic scenarios including smart cities, drone deliveries, and futuristic lifestyles, this article focuses on how Autonomous Driving Technology may reshape the future of the Hospitality industry.

One of the greatest advantages of self-driving vehicles is that they can provide door-to-door transportation for long distance travels. With level-5 autonomy being achieved, these vehicles will be able to automatically transport passengers to multiple destinations without requiring the passengers to control the vehicle. Owing to the advantages of artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles will be able to come to your front door and pick up and drop off passengers at multiple destinations while taking care of parking and charging automatically.

Whether a shuttle service between destinations or a fully furnished mobile hotel room, self-driving vehicles can be the perfect platforms to cater to the mobile hospitality services operated by hotel businesses and chains. Compared to domestic flights or train travels that require multiple steps of transfers and check-ins, these new mobile hotel rooms can be operated as the traveler's personal rental car and hotel room providing unlimited flexibility and mobility.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.