TRAVHOTECH reviews a year of dialogue and opinion through contributions to HospitalityNET’s World Panel topics in 2020. We’ve been pleased to able to offer our thoughts and experience on several important topics through our participation in the World Panel in 2020.
While virtual reality can be used to attract travelers to a specific destination, augmented reality has the potential to enhance the experience as it is lived. From the point of view of sales and advertising, AR is a great way to show offers and promotions in real-time: a traveler could point the camera at a restaurant and see the menu-of-the-day come to life, or watch hotel room rates shown over the “real” property. It is likely that the future of travel will be made up of a mix of multiple realities: phenomenal, virtual, and augmented.
At this stage of technology permeation into the hospitality industry, it would be a brave pundit who would suggest that augmented reality will not find a useful application in hospitality. Of course, this is not the case and it is expected that the combination of visual information and overlaid data will be practical and useful to the staff and guest experience.
Immediate opportunity for useful application exists in interactive signage, wayfinding, and maps. Being able to augment information into this type of environment will provide value to the guest and also enable additional sales or revenue opportunities. Thoughts stray toward menus where dish ingredients may display or a recommended accompaniment. From the back of the house, maintenance and task-related information for plant and other equipment would also be useful.
Here in Las Vegas, the footprint of integrated resorts ensures that wayfinding is a very important facility to move the guest from location to location. The volume and frequency of entertainment and dining options also mean that static wayfinding even when well thought out does leave room for improvement.
In another thoughtful application, property in Las Vegas is combining art and augmented reality to provide a guest room with a ‘view’ where the physical realities of the actual room may not provide such a facility. In this case, an artistic overlay is applied against a static art piece. The outcome is focused on guest engagement, entertainment, and a point of difference. Although it is the same technology used that could provide reference information.
For me, the application of augmented reality becomes enticing in the overall traveler journey once generic platforms can combine information and augment relevant information. A guest itinerary combined with wayfinding and entertainment options or relevant offers as a person moves through various locations like airports, aircraft, concourses, hotels, and corridors. By this stage, I anticipate something like a ‘Google Glass’ device will make the experience more intuitive.
Viewpoint first published on HospitalityNET Worldpanel for Information Technology in December 2020.