Technology Advances: The Essentials Connecting Business and Leisure Travelers
By Michael Murray Director of Technology, Lansdowne Resort | August 21, 2011
We are fast becoming a society of 24/7 connectivity with access to our e-mail, instant messages, and social media at the touch of a fingertip. A short time ago, a device that combined a cell phone and the ability to read email was revolutionary, and if you saw a business traveler typing on his PDA, you may have assumed he or she was responding to a "make-or-break deal."
Although the colloquial "road warrior" is still present, the pendulum has shifted to the point of guests of all ages seeking help and the new reality is the industry should be prepared to help them all equally. The leisure guest posting their vacation photos is just as important as the strictly business event. As information can be shared instantaneously, a positive experience for both guests is vital.
No longer confined just to the world of business, the Blackberry, iPhone, and Android powered Smartphones have become a staple in our society. With more devices appealing to the general population, the lines between corporate and leisure guest is more and more blurred. Having the ability to do everything from monitoring flights on the way to an airport, to posting a review of the hotel, travelers are increasingly relying on their PDA to share a variety of information and stay connected to the workplace and each other.
Whether it is the meeting planner trying to spend their corporate travel budget more effectively or the leisure guest looking for who has the best travel deals and satisfaction ratings, customers are hungry for information and it is readily available. Guests are increasingly savvy in checking not just the property website, but travel-review sites, tweets, blogs, and rating websites written by fellow consumers. The growing availability of hotel and conference center information on the internet and through travel-themed apps has in many ways empowered consumers and helped them make smarter decisions.
This ability has encouraged many travelers to instantly share their experiences - good and bad. Unquestionably impacting our industry, hospitality marketing departments seek not only to disseminate the company message, but to also monitor guest feed back and respond quickly and with valuable content. A struggle such as slow or poor customer service can extend far beyond the table of two, especially if this experience can be shared instantaneously beyond the hotel or conference center doors.
Fortunately, the reverse is also true, the strained economy has made the traveler seek more information on a hotel before spending their dollar, and a good review or two from previous guests can have a positive influence on the bottom line.
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