The COVID-19 pandemic has put a number of industries into a lot of uncertainty this year, both with respect to their day-to-day operations as well as their long-term prospects. While it has been a difficult year, we have also seen how technology has been able to come to the fore and allow people, companies and sectors to adapt and even thrive in this new environment. We are seeing many new trends emerge which could be laying the groundwork for the future.

Technology has been a saviour this year, with more people utilising the likes of Zoom to be able to work from home and conduct meetings etc remotely with their colleagues. This has allowed work to be minimally disrupted in many sectors. However, those which need people to step out of their homes have definitely suffered, with the tourism and hotel sectors being some of the worst-hit across the world. The question therefore is whether technology can be harnessed to help revitalise the hotel and tourism businesses in 2021.

One of the ways in which hotel operators can ensure their customers’ confidence is by adopting contactless payments systems. This will be vital to allow customers to be able to trust in safety and hygiene measures, which are bound to be the top concern for tourists in the coming year. There will also be an added need to deliver personalized and customized solutions for travellers to keep them entertained and coming back for more as well. Doing so will also remove the need for physical interaction between hotel guests and staff, or at least minimize it, which will definitely add to the safety aspect for travellers. Services such as check-in, concierge services and others can be easily moved to a mobile app, which would make it both seamless and safer for guests and hotel staff.

We can also expect to see technology playing a big role in some other services and recreational activities in hotels. Advances in technology have seen casinos, for example, come to a place where people can enjoy nearly completely realistic casino experiences from the comfort and safety of their rooms. Many hotels have their own casino apps which will allow guests to be able to do so, and this can again also be used to personalize the casino experience for them. At the same time, we are also seeing a number of online casino operators beginning to use cryptocurrencies in online casinos, and therefore giving users the option to play roulette for bitcoin and other games which adds to the attractiveness of those online casinos. Once again, this will improve the safety aspect of those hotels for travellers, and therefore is bound to be an important consideration among travellers over the next year.

Another way in which technology can help hotels is by helping them cope with staff shortages. The COVID-19 crisis has meant that businesses all over the world have had to reduce their workforce, and hotels are no exception. Thus, having a proper system in place to be able to deal with fewer staff members will be vital for hotels. A centralized platform to track employees and their duties and responsibilities will be a great way for hotels and even other businesses to cope with employee shortages, as they will be able to efficiently allocate work, and see where they are struggling for numbers. They can also use these platforms to get real-time alerts on tasks which need to be done, and can be synced with all of the employees’ smartphones through an app, eliminating the need for frequent meetings and face-to-face contact between employees. All of these measures are set to make hotels one of the most innovative sectors in the next year.